Oaths of Strasbourg
The oaths of Strasbourg ( Sacramenta Argentariae ) are a text of 842, written in three languages:
- In a Romance Langue composite that one estimates to be protofrançais (or of the proto- Occitan, two languages not being then as definitely separate as today),
- In Vieux high German ( teudesca lingua , to see the article Tudesque)
- In Latin.
They mark emergence with the writing of the Romance languages (French) and of the German .
It is in this oath of mutual assistance lent the February 14th 842 between two grandsons of Charlemagne, namely Charles the Bald person and Louis Germanic the, against their brother Lothaire, whom one finds the first certificate of the existence of a Romance language spoken in France which was clearly separated from the Latin , the Romance language , ancestor of French (in Latin romana lingua ).
The Serments of Strasbourg were declared and written in Romance language and teudisca lingua (German language) by each of the two monarchs in the language of his brother, then by their troops, so that everyone was included/understood. They were transcribed by Nithard (another grandson of Charlemagne)
the chart of separation [http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:843-870_Europe.jpg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:843-870_Europe.jpg]
Text in tudesque languageThe language is German; it is an advanced form of Francique spoken in the Rhenish area:
- Charles the Bald person: “In Godes mined ind in teas christianes folches ind unser bedhero gealtnissi, fon thesemo dage frammordes, so fram so to mir Got geuuizci indi mahd furgibit, so haldih tesan minan bruodher, soso man put rehtu sinan bruodher scal, in thiu, thaz mig er sosoma duet; indi put Ludheren in nohheiniu thing gegango, zhe minan uuillon imo this scadhen uuerhen” For the love of god and for the safety of the Christian people and our safety to both, as from this day henceforth, as much as God will give of it me knowledge and capacity, I helped this mien brother, as one must according to equity help his brother, provided that it makes some as much for me, and I will not enter with Lothaire in any arrangement which, of my will, can be to him detrimental. ”
troops of Louis the Germanic one: “Oba Karl then eid, then er sinemo bruodher Ludhuuuige gesuor, geleistit, indi Ludhuuuig min herro, then er imo gesuor, forbrihchit, ob ih inan be iruuenden mag, noh ih noh thero nohhein, then ih are iruuenden mag, uuidhar Karle imo this follusti uuirdit” If Charles observes the oath which he swore with his Louis brother and which Louis, my lord, breaks that which he swore to him, if I then to divert some, neither me nor none of those which I will be able about it to divert, we lend any help against Charles to him. ”
Text in Romance languageThe language is protofrançais , hardly still separate Latin . It is the first of the Romance languages with being attested. The text was pronounced by Louis the Germanic one:
- Louis the Germanic one: “Pro deo amur and pro Christian poblo and nostro commun run salvament, of STI di in front, as deus to savir and podir to me dunat, if will salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo and in aiudha and cadhuna cosa, if cum om per dreit its fradra salvar dist, in O quid it semi altresi fazet, and ab null Ludher plaid nunquam prindrai, which meon flight cist meon fradre Karle in damno sit” For the love of god and the Christian people and our common safety, starting from aujourd' today, as a God will give me knowledge and capacity, I helped this mien Charles brother by my assistance and in all thing, as one must help his brother, according to equity, provided that it makes in the same way for me, and I will never hold with Lothaire any plaid which, of my will, can be detrimental with my Charles brother. ”
troops of Charles the Bald person: “If Lodhuvigs sagrament, that its fradre Karlo iurat, conservat, and Karlus meos will sendra of suo share not lo tanit, if io returnar not the int pea: io neuls, cui eo returnar int pea, in nulla aiudha countered Lodhuvig nun Li iu er” If Louis observes the oath which he swears with his Charles brother and which Charles, my lord, on his side, does not maintain it, if I then to divert some, neither me nor none of those which I will be able about it to divert, we am to him of any help against Louis. ”
Note on a sentence of the OathsThere are a sentence and only one of the Romance version which does not have an equivalent in the tudesque version (German). It is that where Louis commits himself supporting his Charles brother “and in aiudha and cadhuna cosa”. Negligence of the copyist? It is the most probable explanation (there are others of them).
What wants to say this formula exactly? One noticed his parallelism with Latin: “and consilio and auxilio”, in council and alliance (armed). And even the Homeric Greek: “oude Ti oi swell, oude men ergon” ( Iliade , IX, 374), neither by my councils nor by my forces.
“Cosa”, in novel of the 9th century, could have one of the directions of Latin “caused”: lawsuit, debate, direction which was lost thereafter (“cause” in French is a late rebuilding according to Latin). The general direction is thus: to support, either in the deliberations, or by armed force.
Which could be the equivalent in tudesque language? Perhaps by a fortunate coincidence, it was preserved in a text very different, but quasi contemporary of the Oaths: the “Hildebrandslied”. This poetic fragment tells the discussion, then the mortal combat between a father and a son arranged in two opposite armies. The father, Hildebrand, known as with the son that it forever have a relative also close only him for “dinc nor geleitos”, assembly or escort (armed). The formula was undoubtedly traditional to evoke a complete alliance, and it recuts the formulas completely Latin and Romance.
Other texts as former FrenchThere exist older texts attesting existence of a Romance language spoken in France, like the Gloses of Cassel (approximately 8th or 9th century) or the Gloses of Reichenau (8th century) for most famous. Those, however, are glossaries, lists of words, and do not allow to read sentences in Romance language. The term even of romana lingua is attested as of 813: at the time of the deliberations of the council of Turns (gun 17), one asked to the bishops and to the priests that they translate into vulgar languages the Homélie S: the people, indeed, did not include/understand any more the Latin . The two announced vulgar languages are the rustica romana lingua , i.e. in “Romance language of the countryside” and the thiostica , “tudesque” (old term for “German”).
The second complete text in the history of the French language is the Séquence of holy Eulalie (or Cantilène of holy Eulalie ); it probably goes back to 880 or 881. It is the first French literary text.
Translations drawn from [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/french/serment.htm http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/french/serment.htm]
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