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Old Georgian phrases and sentences 67 (Physiologus § 13)   Leave a comment

The text this time is longer than others in the series, but here is the whole of Physiologus § 13 in Georgian. The Georgian version was published by Marr (in asomtavruli, with Armenian) and later by Gigineišvili and E. Giunašvili. For the Armenian version, published alongside Greek, see Muradyan. Generally on this very widespread work, see here. Alin Suciu has written on a use of the Physiologus in a Coptic lectionary here.

In addition to vocabulary and a few grammatical notes, below I’ve included Graf’s German translation (pp. 100-101).

Bibliography

Gigineišvili, B. and E. Giunašvili, შატბერდის კრებული X საუკუნისა / Шатбердский сборник X века (Tbilisi, 1979), pp. 175-190 (§ 13 on p. 180). Available at TITUS here.

Graf, G. 1925. “Der georgische Physiologus.” Caucasica 2: 93–114.

Marr, N. 1904. Физиолог. Армяно-грузинский извод. Грузинский и армянский тексты, исследование,  издание и переводИздания факультета восточных языков Императорского Санкт-Петербургского университета 6. Tbilisi.

Muradyan, G., Physiologus: The Greek and Armenian Versions with a Study of Translation Technique, Hebrew University Armenian Studies 6 (Louvain, 2005). See here.

In addition, I refer a couple of times below to Gerhard Deeters, Das Kharthwelische Verbum (Leipzig, 1930), where the text of the Physiologus fortunately served for examples.

Text and notes

Here’s an image of Marr’s text:

Marr, Phys., pp. 16-17

Marr 1904, pp. 16-17

კეთილად ჰრქ(უ)ა იოვანე ფარისეველთა.

Gut sprach Johannes zu den Pharisäern:

„ნაშობნო ასპიტთანო. ვინ გიჩოჳენა თქ(უე)ნ სივლტოლაჲ რისხვისაჲ. რ(ომელ)ი მოსლვად არს‟.

„Natternbrut! Wer hat euch gezeigt, dem Zorne zu entrinnen, der kommen wird?‟

  • ნაშობი born, child
  • ასპიტი viper (ἀσπίς)
  • გ-ი-ჩოჳენ-ა aor 3sg O2 ჩუენება to show, reveal
  • სივლტოლაჲ to flee
  • რისხვაჲ wrath
  • მოსლვაჲ to come

სახის-მეტყოჳელმან თქ(უ)ა. ასპიტისაჲ.

Der Naturbeschreiber sprach von der Natter:

  • სახის-მეტყოჳელი (physiologus) discoverer, investigator (სახეჲ nature + მეტყუელი speaker)

რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს მამალი შეეხის დედალსა. პირით მაკნდის. და დედალმან რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს შთანთქის თესლი იგი. საოჳრველნი მოჰკოჳეთნის მამალსა მას და განაშოვრნის

Wenn das Männchen das Weibchen berührt, wird dieses durch den Mund trächtig, und wenn das Weibchen den Samen verschlingt, schneidet es dem Männchen die Geschlechtsteile weg und trennt (sie) ab.

  • მამალი male
  • შე-ე-ხ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg შეხება to touch
  • დედალი female
  • პირი mouth
  • მაკნ-დ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg მაკნება to get pregnant (cf. Fähnrich, Georg. Spr., pp. 242, 248-255 for the -დ- in the aor of this kind of verb)
  • შთა-ნთქ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg შთანთქმა to swallow, gulp
  • თესლი seed
  • საოჳრველი testicle
  • მო-ჰ-კოჳეთ-ნ-ის მოკუეთა to cut off (cf. Mt 5:30 Ad მოიკუეთე იგი)
  • გან-ა-შოვრ-ნ-ის iter aor 3sg N განშოვრება to remove, eliminate

რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს ჰგონიენ მამალსა მას თოჳ შეეხო დედალსა მას. მოჳნქოჳესვე მოკოჳდის მამალი იგი. სიკოჳდილის წინა მრავალჯერ მივიდის. მოვიდის დედლისა მის. და რ(ამეთუ) ვერ დაოჳთმის შეეხის დედალსა [p. 17] მას და მოკოჳდის.

Indem das Männchen wohl weiß: Sobald es das Weibchen berührt, daraufhin stirbt es — so geht und kommt das Männchen vor dem Tode oftmals zu dem Weibchen, und weil es nicht ausharrt, berührt es das Weibchen und stirbt.

  • ჰ-გონ-იენ perf 3sg გონება to think, to seem to (indirect verb) (on the form of the verb, cf. Deeters, § 93, where this very sentence is cited, along with the plural ჰგონიედ, from Keimena I 31.29)
  • შე-ე-ხ-ო aor 3sg შეხება to touch
  • მოჳნქოჳეს-ვე quickly, immediately
  • მო-კოჳდ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg მოკუდომა to die
  • სიკოჳდილი death
  • მრავალჯერ often, frequently
  • მი-ვიდ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg მისლვა to go
  • მო-ვიდ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg მოსლვა to come
  • და-ოჳ-თმ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg დათმობა to be patient

ხოლო დედალსა მას, რამეთუ არა ადგნ მუცელი, რაჲთა-მცა მართუენი იტჳრთნა, რაჟამს აღორძნდიან ლეკუნი იგი, განჴურიტნიან გუერდნი დედისა თჳსისანი და გამოჴდიან და მოკლიან დედაჲ იგი თჳსი და ესრეთ მამა-დედისა მჭამელ არიან.

Aber das Weibchen — weil es keinen Bauch hat, damit es die Jungen trage, — wenn die Jungen wachsen, durchstoßen sie die Seiten ihrer Mutter und töten ihre Mutter, und so sind sie die Verzehrer der Eltern.

  • ა-დგ-ნ pres 3sg დგმა to have (see Deeters, § 204, p. 118, where this line is quoted)
  • მუცელი belly
  • მართუეჲ young (of animals)
  • ი-ტჳრთ-ნ-ა aor 3sg ტჳრთვა to bear, raise
  • აღ-ორძნ-დ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl აღორძინება to grow
  • ლეკუი young animal
  • გან-ჴურიტ-ნ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl N განჴურეტა to pierce, bore through
  • გუერდი side
  • გამო-ჴდ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl გამოჴდომა to come out
  • მო-კლ-ი-ან aor iter 3pl მოკლვა to kill
  • მამა-დედაჲ father-mother > parents (a dvandva compound)
  • მჭამელ eater, consumer

კეთილად ამსგავსნა ფარისეველნი ასპიტთა:

Gut hat er die Pharisäer mit Nattern verglichen.

  • ა-მსგავს-ნ-ა aor 3sg N მსგავსება to compare (cf. Lk 13:20 A-89 რასა ხოჳამსგავსო სასოჳფეველი ღ(მრთისა)ჲ  τίνι ὁμοιώσω τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ;)

ვითარცა-სახედ ასპიტმან მამა-დედაჲ მოკლის, ეგრე-ცა ფარისეველთა — მამაჲ საგონებელი, მამაჲ და დედაჲ თჳსი, მაცხოვარი ჩუენი იესუ ქრისტჱ და ეკლესიაჲ. რაჲთა აღესრულოს სივლტოლაჲ რისხვისაჲ მის, რომელი მოსლვად არს?

Gleichwie die Natter die Eltern tötet, so auch die Pharisäer den geistigen Vater, ihren Vater und ihre Mutter, unseren Erlöser Jesus Christus und die Kirche, auf daß erfüllt wird: „zu entrinnen seinem Zorne, der kommen wird‟.

  • მოკლის aor iter 3sg მოკლვა to kill
  • საგონებელი conceivable
  • მაცხოვარი savior
  • აღ-ე-სრულ-ო-ს aor conj 3sg აღსრულება to fulfill

ხოლო მამაჲ იგი მათი და დედაჲ მათი ცხოველ არიან უკუნისამდე და იგინი მოწყდეს საუკუნოდ.

Aber ihr Vater und ihre Mutter sind lebend, ewig; und sie (die Pharisäer) kamen um auf ewig.

  • ცხოველი living
  • უკუნისამდე forever (უკუნი eternity + postposition -მდე until)
  • მო-წყდ-ეს aor 3pl მოწყდომა to die out, go extinct, go to waste
  • საუკუნოდ evermore (adv of საუკუნოჲ eternal)

Saint Christopher the Dog-headed (Armenian & Georgian; Old English)   2 comments

Some time ago I shared some excerpts in English translation from the Syriac version of the Martyrdom of Christopher. One of my favorite aspects of hagiographic study is the fact that so many texts are available in some form or other in more than one language (an aspect investigated by Paul Peeters and others): translators active in the languages of the Christian east spared little effort in effectively broadcasting these versions across the lands of the eastern Mediterranean, in Africa as far as Nubia and Ethiopia, at least, and along the Silk Road further east (in Syriac, Sogdian, and other languages). An incomplete picture of this translation activity can be seen in the outdated but still essential Bibliotheca hagiographica orientalis (1910), incomplete because of its age, because it reflects only published (as opposed to manuscript) resources, and because not all languages were included, the almost complete absence of Georgian being especially noteworthy. (See the bibliography I am compiling here.) These translated texts offer readers a lot to compare, whether in terms of content — how are the versions different or the same, for example, and why? — or in terms of specific linguistic categories, i.e. within the study of translation technique. Editions and studies of hagiographic text materials often take place along the lines of a single language (whether the original or a translation), less frequently with texts in two languages, but a great many hagiographic texts offer the possibility and promise of multilingual synoptic editions.

That said, nothing so grand here and now: without going into detail about the possible textual relationships of the versions of this story, here is only a short look at an Armenian and Georgian version of the martyrdom-tale, with a bit on Old English at the end. What follows is a single paragraph from the beginning about the saint’s appearance, origins, and first impulse towards martyrdom; the text is from Kekelidze’s edition of the Christopher tale (§ 2) from manuscript Tbilisi A-95, which is thankfully available electronically at TITUS here, along with bitonal, and unfortunately quite small, images of the manuscript itself. Even a quick comparison with the published Greek text (ed. G. van Hooff in the very first issue of AB [1882], this part on pp. 122-123) shows that an exact alignment of the two is impossible, and so, too, with the Armenian (here in Վարք եւ վկայաբանւթիւնք, vol. 2; “dog-headed” in Armenian is շանագլուխ, in case you’re wondering). Here are the beginnings of the aforementioned Armenian and Georgian texts with English translation and, for students of those languages, some lexical and grammatical notes. For comparison, note these synaxarion-readings: Arm. in PO 21: 429-433; Arab. in PO 16: 278-280; Gǝʿǝz in PO 46: 490-493.

Armenian

Եւ էր այր մի Շանագլուխ, գտեալ զնա կոմսի մի ի պատերազնի, եւ ած զնա առ թագաւորն եւ զինուորեցոյց զնա ընդ զօրս իւր. որոյ անուն էր Մարգարիտ։ Եւ տեսեալ զգործս ամպարըշտութեանն՝ խռովէր, եւ շարժեալ սիրտ նորա ի շնորհաց սուրբ Հոգւոյն՝ աղաչէր զԱստուած լինել ձեռնտու եւ օգնական յամենայնի, զի համարձակեսցի խօսել զբանն կենաց նովին բարբառով եւ լեզուաւ, եւ ոչ էր տեղեակ լեզուին։

There was a dog-headed man, whom a count, after having found him in battle, brought him to the king and enlisted him in his army, the name of which was Margarit [Greek ἐν τῷ νουμέρῳ τῶν μαρμαριτῶν]. Having seen the works of wickedness [there], [the dog-headed man] was troubled, and his heart having been moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he would ask God to be favorable and assisting in everything, that he might be permitted to speak the word of life with the same language and speech, and he was not skilled in speech.

  • գտեալ root ptcp գտանեմ to find
  • կոմէս, կոմսի count (< Gr.)
  • պատերազն, -ի, -ունք, -աց war, battle, fight, combat
  • ած aor 3sg ածեմ, ածի to lead, bring
  • զինուորեցոյց aor 3sg զինուորեցուցանեմ, -ուցի to enlist, train as a soldier, arm (analogous to ցուցանեմ to show [aor 1sg ցուցի, 3sg եցոյց], ուսուցանեմ to teach [aor 1sg ուսուցի, 3sg ուսոյց]) (for the root, cf. ultimately Middle Persian zēn, also Aramaic zēnā/zaynā, “weapon”)
  • զօր, -ու, -աց army
  • տեսեալ root ptcp տեսանեմ, տեսի to see
  • գործ, -ոյ work, thing, matter, action
  • ամպարըշտութիւն (ամբարշտութիւն) impiety, ungodliness, wickedness
  • խռովէր impf 3sg խռովեմ, -եցի to trouble, vex, disturb (here passive)
  • շարժեալ root ptcp շարժեմ, -եցի to move, agitate
  • սիրտ, սրտից heart
  • շնորհ, -ի, -ք, -աց grace, favor, pardon, mercy
  • աղաչէր impf 3sg աղաչեմ, -եցի to implore, ask
  • լինել inf. լինիմ to become
  • ձեռնտու helping, aiding, favorable
  • օգնական assisting, aiding
  • համարձակեսցի aor subj m/p 3sg համարձակեմ, -եցի to embolden; permit, allow
  • խօսել inf խօսիմ, -եցայ to speak, talk
  • բան, -ից speech, word, discourse
  • կեանք, կենաց life
  • նովին inst sg նոյն the same, the very
  • բարբառ, -ոյ speech, voice, language, dialect; cry; sound
  • լեզու, -ի/-ոյ, -աց tongue, language, speech
  • տեղեակ skilled, expert, well-versed

Georgian

იყო ვინმე კაცი მდაბალი და მოშიში ღმრთისაჲ. უცხოთესლთა ნათესავი, და ძაღლის-თავი იყო იგი. რამეთუ იყო იგი სოფლისაგან კაცის-მჭამელთაჲსა ტყუედ მოყვანებული გუნდისა ერთისაგან; და იქცეოდა იგი წინაშე მეფისა, და ნაქმევსა პირისა მისისასა შესცხრებიან. ხოლო ხედვიდა იგი დაჭრასა მას ქრისტიანეთასა და დევნასა ეკლესიათასა. და რამეთუ არა იცოდა მან ჩუენებრი სიტყუაჲ, ამისთჳს ფრიად და მწრაფლ მას-ცა ეგულებოდა მარტჳლობაჲ და ღუაწლი ქრისტჱსათჳს.

There was a certain man, humble and God-fearing, of barbarian stock, and he was dog-headed, since he was from the region of cannibals, brought as a prisoner from a troop. He would spend time before the king, and they enjoyed looking on the appearance of his face. But he noticed with concern the injury being done to the Christians and the persecution of the churches. Since he did not know speech like ours, for this reason he was greatly and quickly desiring martyrdom and a struggle for Christ.

  • მდაბალი humble
  • უცხოთესლი barbarian
  • ნათესავი relative, related
  • ძაღლი dog
  • მჭამელი eating (კაცის-მჭამელი man-eating, cannibal)
  • ტყუეჲ prisoner
  • მოყვანებული brought
  • გუნდი troop (cf. Middle Persian gund, Armenian գունդ, Aramaic gundā; see Jeffery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, 104-105, and more briefly, Fraenkel, Die aramäischen Fremdwörter im Arabischen, 238-239)
  • ი-ქც-ე-ოდ-ა impf 3sg ქცევა to go, move, walk around
  • ნაქმევი form, appearance
  • პირი face, mouth
  • შე-ს-ცხრ-ებ-ი-ან pres 3pl O3 შეცხრომა to take pleasure in, look on fondly
  • ხედ-ვ-იდ-ა impf 3sg ხედვა to see, care for, look after
  • დაჭრაჲ cutting, hurting
  • დევნაჲ persecution
  • იცოდა impf 3sg “to know”. An irregular verb, it takes, not only in the aor (3sg იცნა), but also in the impf (as here), subjects in the ergative and objects in the nominative. (This particular irregularity, manifest as such in assuming იცოდა is Series I — it thus being peculiar in having an ergative subject — points to this verb’s complex history, one in which the ending -ოდა has caused a Series II form to be taken as Series I [imperfect].)
  • მწრაფლ quick
  • ე-გულებ-ოდ-ა impf 3sg (indirect verb) გულება to wish, want
  • მარტჳლობაჲ martyrdom (also მარტჳრობაჲ < μάρτυς)
  • ღუაწლი struggle

Old English

Finally, and for fun, here is mention of dog-headed people, this time in Egypt, in The Wonders of the East in the famous Old English manuscript, Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 100r (see here), presented essentially as in the manuscript, with a few vocabulary items.

Eac swẏlce þær beoð cende
healf hundingas ða syndon
hatene conopenas hẏ hab-
bað horses mana & eoferes
tuxas & hunda heafda & heo-
ra oruð bið swẏlce fẏres leg
þas land beoð neah ðæm bur-
gu(m) þe beoð eallum worldwe-
lum gefylled þ(æt) is on þa suðhealfe egẏpta-
na landes.

  • cennan give birth
  • healf-hunding cynocephalus
  • syndon = sind are
  • hātan to call, name
  • eofor wild board (cf. L. aper)
  • tux = tusc (NB the variability of cs [x] and sc)
  • oroþ breath
  • līg, lēg flame
  • weorld-wela worldly wealth
BL, Cotton Vitell. A XV, f. 100r

BL, Cotton Vitell. A XV, f. 100r

Note that immediately preceding this text is a life of Saint Christopher (ff. 94r-98r; mod. ET here), but it is acephalous (pun intended), and Christopher’s dog-head is not mentioned, it seems, but in the Old English Martyrology (April 28; pp. 66-69 in Herzfeld’s ed.), we find the description on Christopher as above (and as in Syriac), and with vocabulary similar to that of the passage in The Wonders of the East. Herzfeld’s text and modern ET):

…of þære þeode þær men habbað hunda heofod ond of þære eorðan on þære æton men hi selfe. he hæfde hundes heofod, ond his loccas wæron ofer gemet side, ond his eagan scinon swa leohte swa morgensteorra, ond his teð wæron swa scearpe swa eofores tuxas. he wæs gode geleaffull on his heortan, ac he ne mihte sprecan swa mon.

…from the nation where men have the head of a dog and from the country where men devour each other. He had the head of a dog, his locks were exceedingly thick, his eyes shone as brightly as the morning star, and his teeth were as sharp as a boar’s tusk. In his heart he believed in God, but he could not speak like a man.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 66 (Book of Adam 11)   Leave a comment

This is our second passage from the Georgian Book of Adam in OGPS, the first being № 26, where some basic data about the text will be found. The text for today is from p. 111.18-27 in the edition (the paragraphs are not numbered in the ed., but they are in Mahé’s FT; these at least roughly correspond to the paragraph numbers in Stone’s ed. and tr. of the Armenian version: see The Penitence of Adam, CSCO 429, p. 4//430, p. 3). Below I give the Georgian text, broken into smaller chunks and accompanied by Mahé’s FT and some vocabulary notes, and finally an ET follows.

ესე რა ესმა ევას, რამეთუ ეშმაკი არს, რომელმანცა აცთუნა იგი, დავარდა იგი წინაშე მისსა,

Quand Ève entendit cela, que c’était le diable qui l’avait trompée, elle tomba devant lui

  • ა-ცთუნ-ა aor 3sg ცთუნება to tempt, deceive, seduce
  • და-ვარდ-ა aor 3sg დავრდომა to fall down (cf. დავრდომილსა below)

ხოლო ადამს ორ წილ ექმნა სალმობაჲ იგი ევაჲსი, რამეთუ ხედვიდა იგი მას დავრდომილსა ქუეყანასა ზედა ვითარცა მკუდარსა.

et la douleur d’Adam pour Ève en fut doublée, car il la voyait tombée par terre comme une morte.

  • წილი part, lot
  • სალმობაჲ pain, grief, sorrow
  • ხედვ-იდ-ა impf 3sg ხედვა to see
  • დავრდომილი fallen down
  • მკუდარი dead

შეჭუვნა და თქუა დიდითა კუნესითა, ჴმა-ყო:

Il s’affligea et dit en s’écriant dans un grand gémissement:

  • შე-ჭუვნ-ა aor 3sg შეჭუვნება to be/become sad, sorry, sorrowful
  • კუნესაჲ moaning, groaning, sighing
  • ჴმა-ყო aor 3sg ჴმა-ყოფა to cry out

“ვაჲ შენდა, მბრძოლსა მაგას ჩუენსა, რაჲ ბოროტი გიყავთ შენ, რამეთუ შენითა შეტყუვილითა იყო გამოჴდაჲ ჩუენი სამოთხით.

Malheur à toi, notre ennemi! Quel mal t’avons-nous fait? Car c’est par tes calomnies que s’est produite notre sortie du paradis.

  • მბრძოლი fighter, warrior, combatant, enemy
  • გ-ი-ყავ-თ aor 1pl O2 ყოფა to do
  • შეტყუვილი deception, lying, cheating
  • გამოჴდაჲ casting out, chasing away, expulsion
  • სამოთხეჲ garden (for this and the previous word, cf. the sentence from Kurc’ikiże, ქართულის ვერსიები აპოკრიფებისა მოციქულთა შესახებ, 31.34-35, cited in Sarjveladze-Fähnrich 147b s.v. გამოჴდაჲ: შენ ჰყავ პირველისა მის კაცისა გამოჴდაჲ სამოთხით “Du hast den ersten Menschen aus dem Paradies verstoßen”)

უკუეთუ ჩუენ განგაგდეთ შენდა ჩუენდა მომართ არს მდურვაჲ შენი?

Est-ce parce que nous t’aurions (fait) chasser que tu as contre nous ta colère?

  • გან-გ-ა-გდ-ე-თ aor 1pl O2 განგდება to cast out, throw away
  • მდურვაჲ charge, accusation, reproach

ანუ ჩუენ მიერ მოგეძრცუა დიდებაჲ შენი?

Et (serait-ce) par nous que ta gloire t’aurait été ravie?

  • მო-გ-ე-ძრცუ-ა aor pass 3sg O2 მოძრცუა (or მოძურცა?) to rob, steal, plunder (words built on the same root, but with a different preverb, include აღძრცჳლი stolen, plundered; აღძურცაჲ plundering; განმძრცუელი robber; განუძრცუელი not plundered, looted; განძრცუაჲ plundering, looting)

ანუ სადამე ჩუენითა შექმნითა ეგრეთ ნაკლულევან ხარ, ანუ ჩუენ ხოლო ვართა დაბადებულნი ღმრთისანი, რამეთუ ჩუენ ხოლო გუბრძავ{თ}?”

Est-ce, en quelque façon, de notre fait que tu es en telle misère? Ou sommes-nous les seules créatures de Dieu, pour que tu nous combattes seuls?

  • სადამე sometime, anytime, once, soon
  • შექმნაჲ making, causing
  • ნაკლულევანი lacking, incomplete, poor
  • ვ-არ-თ-ა pres 1pl ყოფა to be + interr. particle
  • დაბადებული created, creature, creation
  • გუ-ბრძავ{-თ} K’urc’ikiże’s text has გუბრძავთ (variant given in A: გვბძავთ; not helpful), and Mahé translates this sentence: “Est-ce, en quelque façon, de notre fait que tu es en telle misère? Ou sommes-nous les seules créatures de Dieu, pour que tu nous combattes seuls?” The Armenian (ed. Stone) has for the last part of the sentence զի մարտնչիս ընդ մեզ ի տարապարտուց “that you fight with us for no reason” (the Latin [ed. Meyer], textually unrelated directly, of course, has quid persequeris nos, inimice, usque ad mortem impie et invidiose?) On the basis of the Armenian, we would expect the Georgian verb to be pres 2sg O1pl, that is, გუბრძავ (with no -თ). The form as given in the edition can only be analyzed as pres 2pl O1pl, a plural subject does not fit the context. An unheralded shift to second-person plural with the devil and his fallen angels in view seems unlikely. (Pres 1pl O2 would be გბრძავთ.) So the -თ, which can only mark the number of the subject, must be an error, and indeed Mahé (p. 234) notes that we should read გუბრძავ, not გუბრძავთ.

(Many thanks to Kevin Tuite and Jost Gippert for discussing the last verb form with me.)

Here is an English translation of the passage:

When Eve heard that it was the devil who had deceived her, she fell down before him, but Eve’s sorrow was doubled for Adam, for he was seeing her fallen down like a corpse. He was sad and said with great sorrow, he cried out, “Damn you, enemy of ours! What evil have we done to you that our expulsion from the garden was due to your deception? If we have cast you out, is this the reason for your reproach against us? Or has your glory been stolen by us? Or are you somehow by our doing lacking something, or are we alone God’s creations that you are fighting only against us?”

A camel or a rope in the eye of a needle? The Old Georgian witness   2 comments

In Mt 19:24, Mk 10:25, and Lk 18:25 Jesus famously paints the difficulty of a rich person’s ability to get into the kingdom of God with the picture of a camel going through the eye of a needle. The strangeness of the image has not been lost on Gospel-readers from early on. Origen, followed by Cyril, reports that some interpreters took the word κάμηλος ≈ κάμιλος not as the animal, but as some kind of thick rope. This interpretation from Cyril is known also in Syriac, both in the Syriac translation of the Luke commentary, and in Bar Bahlul, and probably elsewhere. I noticed recently in my Georgian Gospel reading that the early translations also bear witness to the reading “rope”, but the later translations — not surprisingly, given the predominant hellenizing tendencies of the period — line up with the standard Greek reading, “camel”, in most (but not all!) places. Below I list a few of the Greek exegetical places, followed by the three synoptic Gospel verses in Greek, Armenian, and Georgian; I have translated into English everything quoted below except for the Greek Gospel verses. The Syriac versions (Old Syriac, Peshitta, Harqlean), at least in Kiraz’s Comparative Edition of the Syriac Gospels, all have “camel” (gamlā), not “rope” (e.g. ḥablā). As usual, for Armenian and Georgian I provide a few lexical notes. I’ve used the following abbreviations:

  • A89 = the xanmeti text A89/A844, ed. Lamara Kajaia (not extant for the whole of the Gospel of text), at TITUS here (given in both asomtavruli and mxedruli)
  • Ad = Adishi, at TITUS here
  • At = Athonite (Giorgi the Hagiorite), at TITUS here
  • Künzle = B. Künzle, Das altarmenische Evangelium / L’évangile arménien ancien, 2 vols. [text + Armenian-German/French lexicon (Bern, 1984)
  • Lampe = G.W.H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon
  • PA = Pre-Athonite, see here at TITUS
  • PG = Migne, Patrologia Graeca

As a side note, for the Qurʾān verse that cites the phrase in question, see the following:

  • W. Montgomery Watt, “The Camel and the Needle’s Eye,” in C.J. Bleeker et al., eds., Ex Orbe Religionum: Studia Geo Widengren, vol. 2 (Leiden, 1972), pp. 155-158.
  • Régis Blachère, “Regards sur un passage parallèle des Évangiles et du Coran,” in Pierre Salmon, ed., Mélanges d’Islamologie, volume dédié à la mémoire d’Armand Abel par ses collègues, ses élèves et ses amis (Leiden, 1974), pp. 69-73.
  • M.B. Schub, “It Is Easier for a Cable to go through the Eye of a Needle than for a Rich Man to Enter God’s Kingdom,” Arabica 23 (1976): 311-312.
  • Samir Khalil, “Note sur le fonds sémitique commun de l’expression ‘un chameau passant par le trou d’une aiguille’,” Arabica 25 (1978): 89-94.
  • A. Rippin, “Qurʾān 7.40: ‘Until the Camel Passes through the Eye of the Needle'” Arabica 27 (1980): 107-113.

A similar phrase with “elephant” (pīlā) instead of “camel” appears in the Talmud: see Strack-Billerbeck, Kommentar, vol. 1, p. 828, and Sokoloff, Dict. of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, s.v. qwpʾ.

Some Greek and Syriac exegetical and lexical references

Origen, Fragment on Mt 19:24: οἱ μὲν τὸ σχοινίον τῆς μηχανῆς, οἱ δὲ τὸ ζῷον (cited in Lampe, 700a, s.v. κάμηλος)

Some [say the word means] the rope of some apparatus, others [say it means] the animal [the camel].

Cyril of Alexandria, Fragment on Mt 19:24 (PG 72: 429) Κάμηλον ἐνταῦθά φησιν, οὐ τὸ ζῶον τὸ ἀχθοφόρον, ἀλλὰ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον ἐν ᾧ δεσμεύουσι τὰς ἀγκύρας οἱ ναῦται.

He says that kámēlos here is not the beast of burden, but rather the thick rope with which sailors tie their anchors.

Cyril, Comm. on Lk 18:23 (PG 72: 857) Κάμηλον, οὐ τὸ ζῶον, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἐν τοῖς πλοίοις παχὺ σχοινίον.

Kámēlos is not the animal, but rather the thick rope found in boats.

With this Greek line from the Luke commentary we can compare the Syriac version, ed. Payne Smith, p. 338.15-17: gamlā dēn āmar law l-hāy ḥayutā mālon ellā l-ḥablā ʿabyā. ʿyāda (h)w gēr l-hānon d-šappir yādʿin d-neplḥun b-yammā da-l-hālēn ḥablē d-yattir ʿbēn gamlē neqron.

He says gamlā, [meaning] not the animal, but rather a thick rope, for those who know well how to plow the sea are accustomed to call the very thick ropes that they use gamlē.

One more place in Syriac attributed to Cyril has this interpretation, a few lines in the fragmentarily preserved work Against Julian (CPG 5233), ed. E. Nestle in Karl Johannes Neumann, Iuliani imperatoris librorum contra Christianos quae supersunt (Leipzig, 1880), here p. 56, § 21: d-qaddišā Qurillos, men mēmrā d-16 d-luqbal Yuliyanos raššiʿā. mqabbel hākēl l-taḥwitā: ḥrurā da-mḥaṭṭā w-gamlā, w-law ḥayutā a(y)k d-asbar Yuliyanos raššiʿā wa-skal b-kul w-hedyoṭā, ellā mālon ḥablā ʿabyā da-b-kul ellpā, hākanā gēr it ʿyādā d-neqron ennon aylēn d-ilipin hālēn d-elpārē.

Cyril, from book 16 of [his work] Against Julian the Wicked. He accepts, then, the example: the eye of the needle and the gamlā, but not the animal, as the wicked, completely stupid, and ignorant Julian thought, but rather the thick rope that is on every ship, for thus those sailors who are expert are accustomed to call them.

Theophylact of Ohrid, Ennaratio on Mt (PG 123: 356): Τινὲς δὲ κάμηλον οὐ τὸ ζῷόν φασιν, ἀλλὰ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον, ᾧ χρῷνται οἱ ναῦται πρὸς τὸ ῥίπτειν τὰς ἀγκύρας.

Some say that kámēlos is not the animal, but rather the thick rope that sailors use to cast their anchors.

Suda, Kappa № 282: Κάμηλος: τὸ ζῷον. … Κάμιλος δὲ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον.

Kámēlos: the animal. … Kámilos a thick rope.

Ps.-Zonaras, Lexicon: Κάμηλος. τὸ ἀχθοφόρον ζῶον. κάμηλος καὶ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον, ἐν ᾧ δεσμεύουσι τὰς ἀγκύρας οἱ ναῦται. ὡς τὸ ἐν εὐαγγελίοις· κάμηλον διὰ τρυπήματος ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν.

Kámēlos: the beast of burden. Kámēlos is also the thick rope with which sailors tie their anchors, as in the Gospels: “for a kámēlos to go through the eye of a needle.”

As mentioned above, Cyril’s report on the verse re-appears among other things in Bar Bahlul: ed. Duval, coll. 500-501, s.v. gamlā: gamlā tub maraš [sic! cf. maras]. ba-ṣḥāḥā Qurillos gamlā qārē l-ḥablā ʿabyā d-āsrin bēh spinātā. Moše bar Kēpā gišrā ʿabyā d-mettsim l-ʿel b-meṣʿat benyānē qārē gamlā, haw da-ʿlāw(hy) mettsimin qaysē (ʾ)ḥrānē men trayhon gabbāw(hy) w-taṭlilā d-a(y)k hākan gamlā metqrā. (ʾ)ḥrā[nē] dēn d-ʿal gamlā d-besrā w-da-kyānā rāmez wa-b-leššānā yawnāyā qamēlos metemar. (ʾ)ḥrā[nē] dēn āmrin d-gamlā haw d-emar māran b-ewangelyon sgidā — da-dlil (h)u l-gamlā l-meʿal ba-ḥrurā da-mḥaṭṭā — l-hānā gamlā d-ḥayy āmar, w-law d-a(y)k (ʾ)ḥrā[nē] šāṭrin l-gamlā. ba-ṣḥāḥā (ʾ)nāšin dēn āmrin d-šawšmāna (h)w arik reglē w-lā šarririn. w-gamlā b-meṣʿat ḥaywātā dakyātā w-ṭaʾmātā itāw(hy), b-hāy gēr d-metgawrar, men ḥaywātā dakyātā metḥšeb, wa-b-hāy d-lā ṣāryā parstēh, men ṭaʾmātā.

A gamlā is also a rope [Arabic]. In one copy: Cyril calls the thick rope with which people tie their ships a gamlā. Moše bar Kēpā calls the thick beam people place at the top of buildings in the middle a gamlā, the one on which other pieces of wood are placed from either side, and a ceiling like this is called a gamlā. Others [say] that it means the natural animal [? lit. of flesh and of nature] gamlā (camel), and in Greek it is called kámēlos. Others say that the gamlā that the Lord mentioned in the Gospel — i.e., “it is easier for a gamlā to enter the eye of a needle” — by this he means a living gamlā, and not, as some foolishly say, a [non-living] gamlā [i.e. a rope, as in the interp. above?]. In one copy: Some people say that it is an ant with long, unstable legs. A camel is midway between the categories of clean and unclean animals: since it chews the cud, it is counted among clean animals, and since it does not split the hoof, among unclean.

[NB with this ant mentioned here cf. Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum, 2d ed., 120b (s.v. gamlā mng. 2c), JBA gamlānāʾāh (Sokoloff, Dict. Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, 289-290); also Persian uštur mūr (camel-ant).]

The Gospel verses in Greek, Armenian, and Georgian

(English translations in the next section.)

Mt 19:24

πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρυπήματος ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

Դարձեալ ասեմ ձեզ· դիւրի́ն է մալխոյ մտանել ընդ ծակ ասղան. քան մեծատան յարքայութիւն ա՟յ մտանել։

դիւրին easy, light | մալուխ, -լխոյ rope (supposedly also “camel”; see note below) | ծակ, -ուց hole | ասեղն, ասղան, -ղունք, -ղանց needle | մեծատուն, մեծատան, -անց rich NB on մալուխ, see Lagarde, Armenische Studien, № 1404; Ačaṙean, 3.226-227; Künzle 2.437 says “Die Bedeutung ‘Kamel’ ist wohl durch diese NT-Stellen irrtümlich in die armen. Lexika eingegangen.” The proper Arm. word for camel is ուղտ, Lagarde, Arm. St., № 1760 (cf. MP uštar, NP uštur; Sanskrit उष्ट्र uṣṭra).

A89 ႾႭჃႠႣႥႨႪჁႱ ႠႰႱ ႬႠႥႨႱႠ ႫႠႬႵႠႬႨႱႠ ႱႠႡႤႪႨ ჄႭჃႰႤႪႱႠ ႬႤႫႱႨႱႠႱႠ ႢႠႬႱႪႥႠႣ Ⴅ~Ⴄ . . . . . . . ႸႤႱႪႥႠႣ ႱႠႱႭჃႴႤႥႤႪႱႠ Ⴖ~ႧႨႱႠႱႠ

ხოჳადვილჱს არს ნავისა მანქანისა საბელი ჴოჳრელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად ვ(იდრ)ე . . . . . . . შესლვ[ა]დ სასოჳფეველსა ღ(მრ)თისასა

ხ-ოჳ-ადვილ-ჱს easier (< ადვილი easy) | ნავი ship | მანქანაჲ mechanism, machine | საბელი cable, rope, cord | ჴურელი hole | ნემსი needle

Ad მერმე გეტყჳ თქუენ: უადვილესა ზომთსაბლისაჲ ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვაჲ, ვიდრე მდიდრისაჲ შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

უადვილეს easier (< ადვილი easy) | ზომთ(ა)-საბელი cable, thick rope (cf. Rayfield et al., 695a; ზომი measurement) | მდიდარი rich

PA და მერმე გეტყჳ თქუენ: უადვილეს არს მანქანისა საბელი განსლვად ჴურელსა ნემსისასა, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

At და მერმე გეტყჳ თქუენ: უადვილეს არს აქლემი განსლვად ჴურელსა ნემსისასა, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ცათასა.

აქლემი camel

Mk 10:25

εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ [τῆς] τρυμαλιᾶς [τῆς] ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.

դիւրի́ն է մալխոյ ընդ ծակ ասղան անցանել. քան մեծատան յարքայութիւն ա՟յ մտանել։.

անցանեմ, անցի to pass, flow, run

Ad უადვილეს არს ზომსაბელისა განსლვაჲ ჴურელსა ნემსისა, ვიდრეღა <არა> [?] მდიდარი სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა შესულად.

PA უადვილჱს არს მანქანისა საბელი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა შესლვად.

At უადვილეს არს აქლემი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

Lk 18:25

εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.

դիւրագոյն իցէ մալխոյ ընդ ծակ ասղան անցանել. քան մեծատան յարքայութիւն ա՟յ մտանել։.

դիւրագոյն easier

A89 ႾႭჃႠႣႥႨႪჁႱ ႠႰႱ ႫႠႬႵႠႬႨႱ ႱႠႡႤႪႨ ჄႭჃႰႤႪႱႠ ႬႤႫ ႱႨႱႠႱႠ ႢႠႬႱႪႥႠႣ Ⴅ~Ⴄ ႫႣႨႣႠႰႨ ႱႠႱႭჃႴႤႥႤႪႱႠ Ⴖ~ႧႨႱႠႱႠ

ხოჳადვილჱს არს მანქანის საბელი ჴოჳრელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად ვ(იდრ)ე მდიდარი სასოჳფეველსა ღ(მრ)თისასა

Ad უადვილეს არს მანქანისსაბელი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა შესლვად.

PA = Ad

At უადვილეს არს მანქანისა საბელი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

English translations of these verses

Mt 19:24

Arm Again I say to you: it is easier for a rope to enter the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

A89 It is easier for a rope from a ship’s apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than [for the rich] to enter the kingdom of God.

Ad Again I say to you: It is easier for a cable to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

PA And again I say to you: It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

At And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. [sic! Not “of God”]

Mk 10:25

Arm It is easier for a rope to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Ad It is easier for a cable to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

PA It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

At It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Lk 18:25

Arm It would be easier for a rope to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

A89 It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich [to enter] the kingdom of God.

Ad It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

PA = Ad

At ≈ Ad

Conclusion

So here is how the witnesses stand:

Camel Rope
Greek
Some Greek exeg.
Armenian
Syriac
Geo early, PA
Geo Athonite ✓ (Lk only)

For Greek, I wonder about the real existence of the word κάμιλος (with iota, not ēta, but both words pronounced the same at this period). I don’t know that it is attested anywhere that is certainly unrelated to the Gospel passages. More generally, is there an explanation for the two opposed readings “camel” and “rope”? There is in Arabic a similarity between ǧamal (camel) and ǧuml/ǧumla (“thick rope”, see Lane 460), but it is treading on thin ice to have recourse to this similarity as an explanation for earlier texts with no palpable connection to Arabic. It may simply be the case that, as Cyril says, in nautical argot ropes went by the name “camels”. (And we should remember that there were sailors in Jesus’ circle.)

The earliest reading may well have been “camel”, but a change to “rope” does not really make for an easier reading: one can put a thread through a needle’s eye, but a rope will go through it no more than a camel will! In any case, some traditions clearly side with “rope”, such that those traditions’ commonest readers and hearers of the Gospel passage would have known nothing of a camel passing through the eye of a needle, only a rope, and apparently one large enough to handle marine functions!

There is no early evidence among the sources above for “camel” in Georgian (or Armenian), while Greek knows both, as does Syriac (via Greek sources, to be sure). This variety of readings, attested without a doubt, adds to the richness of the textual witness of the Bible and the history of its interpretation. There are probably further exegetical and lexical places in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, and Georgian that bear on this question of what we’re dealing with here, a camel or a rope, but this is, I hope, at least an initial basis for some future work on the question for anyone interested.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 58 (Psalm 151:7)   Leave a comment

This time our Georgian lines come from Psalm 151 in a tenth-century Sinai manuscript. Among the following Georgian manuscripts of the Psalms in the old Sinai collection, only № 42 (see Garitte, Catalogue, pp. 156-158) has Psalm 151 (ff. 257v-258r, image 263), there following the Odes and the Beatitudes:

  • 22 (10th/11th, nusxuri)
  • 29 (10th, asomtavruli)
  • 42 (10th, asomtavruli)
  • 86 (14th/15th, nusxuri)

The others listed here only have the 150 Psalms and the Odes, except for № 22, which is incomplete at the end, and so it is not known what it had in addition to the 150 Psalms. Ps 151 not in the Graz manuscript, which ends with the Odes, but it is in Red. A, ed. M. Shanidze (at TITUS here).

Here is an image of our verse from the aforementioned Sinai manuscript (thanks to E-corpus):

Ps 151:7 in Sinai geo. 42, f. 258r

Ps 151:7 in Sinai geo. 42, f. 258r

Here is the asomtavruli and a transliteration into mxedruli:

Ⴞ(ႭႪႭ) ႫႤ ႱႠႾႤႪႨႧႠ ႳႴႪႨႱႠ Ⴖ(ႫႰ)ႧႨႱႠ ႹႤႫႨႱႠჂႧႠ ႫႭႥႨႶႤ ႫႠႾჃႪႨ ႨႢႨ ႫႨႱႨ ႣႠ ႫႭႥჀႩႭჃႤႧႤ ႧႠႥႨ ႫႨႱႨ ႣႠ ႠႶႥჄႭႺႤ ႷႭჃႤႣႰႤႡႠჂ ႻႤႧႠ ႢႠႬ Ⴈ(ႱႰႠ)ჁႪႨႱႠႧႠ

ხ(ოლო) მე სახელითა უფლისა ღ(მრ)თისა ჩემისაჲთა მოვიღე მახჳლი იგი მისი და მოვჰკუეთე თავი მისი და აღვჴოცე ყოჳედრებაჲ ძეთაგან ი(სრა)ჱლისათა.

  • მო-ვ-ი-ღე aor 1sg მოღება to take, get
  • მახჳლი sword
  • მო-ვ-ჰ-კუეთ-ე aor 1sg O3 მოკუეთა to cut off
  • აღ-ვ-ჴოც-ე aor 1sg აღჴოცა to destroy, remove
  • ყუედრებაჲ reproach, derision, abuse

Finally, for comparison, here is the verse in Greek, Armenian, and Syriac. The Georgian text is unique in having “with the name of the Lord, my God” at the beginning of the verse. (Syriac from Harry F. van Rooy, “A Second Version of the Syriac Psalm 151,” Old Testament Essays 11:3 (1998): 567-581; see also William Wright, “Some Apocryphal Psalms in Syriac,” Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 9 (1886-1887): 257-266.)

ἐγὼ δὲ σπασάμενος τὴν παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ μάχαιραν ἀπεκεφάλισα αὐτὸν καὶ ἦρα ὄνειδος ἐξ υἱῶν Ισραηλ.

Ես հանի զսուսեր ՛ի նմանէ եւ հատի́ զգլուխ նորին, եւ բարձի զնախատինս յորդւոցն ի(սրաէ)լի։

հանեմ, հանի to draw, pull out | սուսեր sword | հատանեմ, հատի to cut | բառնամ, բարձի to lift, remove | նախատինք injury, blame, reproach, dishonor

9SH1 enā dēn kad šemṭēt saypēh pesqēt rēšēh w-arimēt ḥesdā men bnayyā d-Isrāʾēl

šmṭ to draw | saypā sword | psq to cut | rwm C to lift, remove | ḥesdā shame

12t5 enā dēn šemṭēt menēh ḥarbēh w-bēh nesbēt rēšēh w-aʿbrēt ḥesdā men Isrāʾēl

ḥarbā sword | nsb to take | ʿbr C to remove

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 56 (Lk 1:15)   1 comment

In the foretelling of John the Baptist’s birth, the archangel Gabriel tells John’s father-to-be, Zacharias, that John should abstain from drinking alcohol (Luke 1:15):

ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον [τοῦ] κυρίου,
καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ,
καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου πλησθήσεται
ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ

This is all seemingly simple enough, but I was surprised to find an interesting reading here in one of the Old Georgian versions of the text. Here it is in the Adishi, Pre-Athonite, and Athonite texts (this verse not extant in ms A-89 or Vind. georg. 2):

Adishi რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და სათრობელი და იყი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა სავსე იყოს მიერვე მუცლით დედისა თჳსისაჲთ.

  • ღჳნოჲ wine
  • სათრობელი intoxicating drink
  • იყი strong drink
  • სუას aor conj 3s სუმა to drink
  • სავსეჲ full
  • მუცელი belly

PA რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლუჭი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმუცლით მისითგან.

  • თაფლუჭი mead (cf. თაფლი honey; see excursus below)
  • აღ-ი-ვს-ოს aor conj 3s აღვსება to fill (NB the CV -ი- > to be filled)

At რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლუჭი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმუცლით მისითგან.

In addition, here is an image from the Gospel manuscript BnF géo. 28, f. 111v, col. b., ll. 14-20, which is a 13th-cent. witness to the Athonite version:

bnf_geo_28_f111v_lk1_15

Here is the text from transcribed from nusxuri into mxedruli and with abbreviations resolved:

რ(ამეთუ) იყოს დიდ წ(ინაშ)ე ო(ჳფლ)ისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლოჳჭი არა სუას და ს(უ)ლითა წ(მიდ)ითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმოჳცლით მისითგ(ა)ნ.

The Adishi text, then, has three in the list of prohibited drinks, while the Pre-Athonite and Athonite have two, just like the Greek. Furthermore, neither the second nor the third in the Adishi list is თაფლუჭი, which we find elsewhere paired with ღჳნოჲ in the “wine and strong drink” passages of the Bible (e.g. Lev 10:9, Num 6:3). (Of the same root as the second word in the Adishi list, სათრობელი, we see დამათრობელი in Jdg 13:4, which also has ძმარი “vinegar” and ყურძენი “grape”.)

Since, alongside Greek, both Armenian and Syriac enter into discussions of the textual lineage of the Georgian Gospels, I’ll give them both here, too. For Syriac, the Old Syriac (Sinaiticus), the Peshitta, and the Ḥarqlean all have simply ḥamrā w-šakrā lā neštē. In Armenian, this part of the verse reads, գինի եւ աւղի մի́ արբցէ. So the witnesses for this verse in both of these languages give simply a bipartite prohibition, just like the two later Georgian versions, not a tripartite one like that of the Adishi text.

********************

On honey-water, or mead

As pointed out above, the word that stands sometimes in the Georgian versions for σίκερα (traditionally “strong drink”, but probably better, “beer”) is თაფლუჭი “mead”, derived from the word თაფლი “honey”. As is well known, mead is a thing and a word with a long history in at least some Indo-European societies (see Pokorny; Buck, Synonyms, §§ 5.84, 5.91). The modern English “mead” goes back to medu in Old English, where there are many derivatives appearing in Beowulf and elsewhere (all of these in Bosworth-Toller), e.g.

  • medoærn banquet-house, place to drink mead
  • medubenc mead-bench
  • medoburg city of mead-drinkers
  • medudrēam mead-revelry
  • medoful mead-cup
  • medoheal mead-hall
  • meoduscenc mead-draft
  • meodosetl mead-seat
  • medostīg path to the mead-hall

(“Honey” itself in OE is unrelated: hunig; see PIE *kₑnəkó- “golden” in Pokorny.) Here are a few other words of the same origin as this word medu in other IE languages (PIE *médhu-). Sanskrit madhu- was used for sweet drinks, including soma, and in line with Avestan maδu- is the Middle and later Persian may “wine” (Mackenzie 55, Steingass 1357). Greek μέθυ (> μεθύω to be drunk > μεθύσκω to make drunk) is a poetic word for wine; it does not mean “mead”. (The latter is μελίτειον, as in Plut. Quaest. Conv. 672b: καὶ μέχρι νῦν τῶν τε βαρβάρων οἱ μὴ ποιοῦντες οἶνον μελίτειον πίνουσιν. Mod. Gr. has ὑδρόμελι like Latin hydromeli, with derivatives in the Romance languages). In Russian, “honey” is мёд (for the color, cf. медь “copper”). The Slavic words for “bear” derive partly from this root, e.g. Russian медведь (honey-eater; cf. Buck, § 3.73). (In Old Georgian, “bear” is დაფჳ [modern დაფვი], as in 1Sam 17:34 JerLect. The word does not sound dissimilar to თაფლი “honey”: should we posit a direct etymological link?) Note that Chubinov/ჩუბინაშვილი (Грузинско-Русско-Французскій Словаръ/Dictionnaire géorgien-russe-français [Saint Petersburg, 1840], 220) defines თაფლუჭი with “сикера” — σίκερα! — and “медовика”.

Lastly, for one more (non-mead) term for drinks, to return to Lk 1:15, Gothic has

jah wein jah leiþu ni drigkid

The first noun is, of course, “wine”, and the second is cognate with OE līþ, “strong drink” (cf. the first element in German Leithaus).

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 45 (Saint George)   Leave a comment

Today is the commemoration of Saint George across many Christian traditions, so it occurred to me that it would be suitable to offer a brief look at the text of his martyrdom in Sin. geo. 62, specifically the beginning, the end, and the scribes mini-colophon. These two short passages will not only grant us an opportunity to study some grammar and vocabulary, as usual, but also, since images of the manuscript are easily accessible at E-corpus (along with other manuscripts, Georgian and otherwise, from Saint Catharine’s, but not the new finds), an opportunity to study Georgian scripts and handwriting, mostly nusxuri, but also some asomtavruli. For a detailed treatment of this tenth century manuscript, where the Saint George martyrdom is found on ff. 29rb-38vb, see Gérard Garitte’s Catalogue des manuscrits géorgiens littéraires du Mont Sinaï, CSCO 165, Subs. 9 (Louvain, 1956), pp. 197-209. Images of the manuscript are available here, images 30-40; I include one image of the last few lines below, but I encourage you to have a look at the other parts, too.

This Georgian version is close, but not identical, to BHG 672, published by Krumbacher, Der heilige Georg in der griechischen Überlieferung, pp. 41ff. (This volume is available at Hathi Trust here, where it is readable, but one must have a partner login to download the book. I have not yet found the volume openly downloadable anywhere else.) For convenient comparison, here are the two Greek passages from Krumbacher that correspond to those given below in Georgian:

p. 41 (introductory parag. is not in Georgian) : ἐγένετο τοίνυν κατ᾽ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν τῆς σατανικῆς εἰδωλολατρείας ἐπικρατούσης κατὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων βασιλεῦσαι Διοκλητιανὸν τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἀρχῆς λοιμόν τινα καὶ θῆρα ἄγριον γενόμενον κατὰ τῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ποίμνης ἡττώμενον σφόδρα τῇ πλάνῃ τῶν ματαίων εἰδώλων.

p. 51: ἐγὼ δὲ Πασικράτης ὁ δοῦλος τοῦ ἁγίου Γεωργίου ἀκολουθήσας τῷ ἐμῷ δεσπότῃ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τὰ ὑπομνήματα βεβαίως συνέταξα· καὶ μακάριος ὁ πιστεύσας Χριστῷ τῷ ἀληθινῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρι, ᾧ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.

In what follows, I give a line-by-line transcription of these passages from the manuscript in whatever script they appear there, followed by a transliteration into mxedruli, some vocabulary and notes, and finally an ET. Abbreviations are resolved and indicated by parentheses. (For the asomtavruli and nusxuri to be visible on your machine, you must have a font that includes them.)

[29rb, eight lines from bottom]

ႠႮႰႨႪႱႠ ႩႢ ႼႠႫႤႡႠჂ

Ⴜ(ႫႨ)ႣႨႱႠ ႢႤႭႰႢႨႱႠ:

Ⴞ(ⴍⴊⴍ) ⴐ(ⴀ)ⴏ(ⴀⴋ)ⴑ ⴈⴂⴈ ⴃⴀⴄ<ⴎ>ⴗⴐⴀ ⴉⴄⴐⴎ

ⴇⴋⴐⴀⴞⴍⴣⴐⴄⴁⴀⴑⴀ ⴄⴘⴋⴀⴉ

ⴈⴑⴀⴑⴀ ⴗ(ⴍⴅⴄ)ⴊⴈ ⴑⴍⴔⴄⴊⴈ ⴈⴗⴍ

ⴁⴄⴐⴛⴄⴌⴇⴀ ⴆ(ⴄⴃ)ⴀ ⴋⴄⴔⴡ ⴐ(ⴍⴋ)ⴊ(ⴈ)

ⴑⴀ ⴑⴀⴞⴄⴊⴈ ⴄⴐⴕⴍⴓⴀ ⴃⴈⴍⴉ

ⴊⴈⴒⴈⴀⴌⴄ ⴋⴤⴄⴚⴈ ⴋⴛⴣⴌ

[29va]

ⴅⴀⴐⴄ ⴂ(ⴀ)ⴌⴋⴐⴗⴍⴣⴌⴄⴊⴈ ⴑⴀ

ⴋⴜⴗⴑⴍⴇⴀ ⴕ(ⴐⴈⴑⴒ)ⴄⴑⴇⴀ

აპრილსა კგ წამებაჲ წ(მი)დისა გეორგისა

ხ(ოლო) რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს იგი დაე<პ>ყრა კერპთმსახურებასა ეშმაკისასა ყ(ოვე)ლი სოფელი იყო ბერძენთა ზ(ედ)ა მეფჱ რ(ომ)ლ(ი)სა სახელი ერქუა დიოკლიტიანე მჴეცი მძჳნვარე განმრყუნელი სამწყსოთა ქ(რისტ)ესთა

  • და-ე-პყრ-ა aor pass 3sg დაპყრობა to take, possess, grab, grip (for the CV -ე- and passives, see Deeters § 160)
  • კერპთმსახურებაჲ idol worship (კერპი idol [here with the pl-marking -თ] + მსახურებაჲ service > worship [cf. λατρεία])
  • ბერძენი Greek, Roman
  • მჴეცი wild beast
  • მძჳნვარი raging, angry, furious
  • განმრყუნელი corrupting, perverting
  • სამწყსოჲ flock

April 23: The Martyrdom of Saint George

Now when the whole word was gripped with diabolical (lit. of the devil) idolatry, there was a king over the Romans whose name was Diocletian, a raging beast corrupting the flocks of Christ.

* * *

[38va, seven lines from bottom]

Ⴃⴀ ⴋⴄ ⴁⴀⴑⴈⴀⴌⴉⴀⴐⴒⴍⴑ ⴋⴍⴌⴀ

ⴜ(ⴋⴈ)ⴃⴈⴑⴀ ⴂ(ⴈⴍⴐⴂ)ⴈⴑⴀ ⴘⴄⴍⴣⴃⴄⴂ ⴍ(ⴣⴔⴀⴊ)ⴀ

ⴙⴄⴋⴑⴀ. ⴃⴀ ⴀⴖⴅⴜⴄⴐⴄ ⴜⴀ

ⴋⴄⴁⴀⴢ ⴄⴑⴄ ⴋⴈⴑⴈ ⴝⴄⴘⴋⴀⴐⴈ

ⴒⴀⴃ ⴃⴀ ⴍⴣⴕⴚⴄⴅⴄⴊⴀⴃ. ⴃⴀ

ⴌⴄⴒⴀⴐ ⴀⴐⴑ ⴐ(ⴍⴋⴄ)ⴊⴑⴀ ⴠⴐⴜⴋⴄⴌⴄⴑ (letters ⴀⴐ of ⴀⴐⴑ wr. supralinearly)

ⴕ(ⴐⴈⴑⴒ)ⴄ ⴖ(ⴋⴄⴐ)ⴇⴈ ⴝⴄⴘⴋⴀⴐⴈⴒⴈ.

[38vb]

ⴃⴀ ⴋⴤⴑⴌⴄⴊⴈ ⴙ(ⴍⴣⴄ)ⴌⴈ ⴐ(ⴍⴋ)ⴊⴈⴑⴀ

ⴀⴐⴑ ⴃ(ⴈⴃⴄ)ⴁ(ⴀ)ⴢ ⴇⴀⴌⴀ ⴋⴀⴋⴈⴇ ⴃⴀ

ⴑⴍⴣⴊⴈⴇ ⴜ(ⴋⴈ)ⴃⴈⴇⴍⴣⴐⴇ.

ⴍ(ⴣ)ⴉ(ⴍⴣⴌⴍⴣⴇ)ⴈ ⴍ(ⴣ)ⴉ(ⴍⴣⴌⴈⴑⴀⴋⴃ)ⴄ ⴀ(ⴋⴡ)ⴌ

და მე ბასიანკარტოს მონაჲ წ(მი)დისა გ(იორგ)ისა შეუდეგ ო(ჳფალს)ა ჩემსა და აღვწერე წამებაჲ ესე მისი ჭეშმარიტად და უქცეველად და ნეტარ არს რ(ომე)ლსა ჰრწმენეს ქ(რისტ)ე ღ(მერ)თი ჭეშმარიტი. [38vb] და მჴსნელი ჩ(ოჳე)ნი რ(ომ)ლისა არს დ(იდე)ბ(ა)ჲ თანა მამით და სულით წ(მი)დითურთ. ო(ჳ)კ(ოჳნოჳთ)ი ო(ჳ)კ(ოჳნისამდ)ე ამ(ჱ)ნ

  • შე-უ-დეგ aor 1sg შედგომა to follow
  • აღ-ვ-წერ-ე aor 1sg აღწერა to write
  • უქცეველად without changing anything
  • ჰ-რწმენ-ეს aor conj 3sg O3 რწმენა to believe (indir. vb) (cf. Jn 7:38 Ad რომელსა ჰრწმენეს ჩემდამო ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ; Jn 20:29 Ad რამეთუ მიხილე და გრწმენა; ნეტარ, რომელთა არა უხილავ და ჰრწმენეს ὅτι ἑώρακάς με πεπίστευκας; μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες)
  • მჴსნელი saving, rescuing > savior

And I Basiankartos [Gr. Pasikrátēs], the servant of Saint George, followed my master and I wrote down this his martyrdom truthfully and without changing anything, and blessed is he who will believe in Christ, the true God, and our savior, to whom the glory belongs, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

* * *

Sin. geo. 62, f. 38vb, lines 1-4

Sin. geo. 62, f. 38vb, lines 1-4

And finally, the scribe’s mini-colophon, written small, has one line in asomtavruli then one again in nusxuri:

ႫႭႫႨჄႱႤႬႤ Ⴜ(ႨႬႠႸ)Ⴄ Ⴖ(ႫႰႧ)ႨႱႠ

ⴜ(ⴋⴈⴃⴀ)ⴍ ⴂ(ⴈⴍⴐⴂ)ⴈ ⴃⴀ ⴋⴄ(ⴍ)ⴞ ⴂ(ⴍⴣⴄ)ⴗ(ⴀ)ⴅ ⴀ(ⴋⴡ)ⴌ

მომიჴსენე წინაშე ღმრთისა წმიდაო გიორგი და მეოხ გოჳეყავ ა(მჱ)ნ

  • მო-მ-ი-ჴსენ-ე impv 2sg O1 მოჴსენება to remember (cf. Lk 23:42 Ad მომიჴსენე მე, უფალო, რაჟამს მოხჳდოდი სუფევითა მით შენითა μνήσθητί μου ὅταν ἔλθῃς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν σου [მოხჳდოდი (მო-ხ-უიდ-ოდ-ი) is pres conj 2sg მოსლვა])
  • მეოხი intercessor, helper
  • გოჳ-ე-ყავ aor imv 2sg O1pl ყოფა to be; to do (with the previous word, to intercede)

Remember me in God’s presence, Saint George, and intercede for us! Amen.

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