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although four of the characters in his alphabet are identical with the Runic. It is the opinion of William Grimm, indeed, that the Goths had an alphabet before Ulfilas, though of a less perfect kind. Of this no sufficient proof has been produced, and if it were so, it would not be a fair ground for depriving Ulfilas of the glory which the ancient writers attribute to him. Mankind justly give the credit of a great invention to him who brings it to practical perfection, and gives it a permanent place among the instruments of civilization. And this it is clear that Ulfilas did for the Goths.
By the events of the fifth century the Goths were widely scattered over Europe. The Visigoths, after a short occupation of Italy, established themselves in the south of Gaul and in Spain, being finally dispossessed of the former by the Franks, and the latter by the Saracens. The Ostrogoths, towards the end of the century, established under Theodoric a short-lived monarchy in northern and central Italy. Wherever they went they carried with them, it is probable, not only the alphabet which they owed to Ulfilas, but his version of the Scriptures, as we know they did the Arian doctrine. Salvian, the bishop of Marseilles, in his Treatise de Gubernatione Dei (vii. 9—13) describes them as going to battle, carrying before them “ librum divinæ legis, sacri voluminis scripta.” In the midst of their sanguinary ravages they shewed themselves a "God-fearing people.” Orosius, while he mourns over these ravages and considers them as a scourge of God, acknowledges that Rome suffered less from the Goths than it had done from Marius and Sylla, from Cæsar and Pompey, or Gaul and Spain from the conquest of the Romans.* Their morals, too, were purer in many respects than those of the people whom they conquered.
With the disappearance of the Gothic monarchies in Italy, France and Spain, we lose all trace of the version of Ulfilas, till, in the latter half of the sixteenth century, a MS. written on vellum, in silver letters with golden initials, was discovered in the Abbey of Werden, in Westphalia, containing portions of the four Gospels in a character and language which were evidently Gothic. † Such MSS. were among the luxuries of amateurs. “ Habeant,” says Jerome, quoted by Massmann, "qui volunt libros vel in membranis purpureis auro argentoque descriptos, dummodo mihi meisque permittant non tam pulcros quam emendatos codices habere." How this Codex Argenteus found its way to this place must be matter of conjecture; but as Westphalia was occupied by the Franks, one branch of whom bore the name of Westfali, it was probably part of the spoil made by a Frankish king in his wars upon the Goths. It is related by
• See the quotations in Massmann, Einleitung, p. xlv.
+ This is now so generally admitted, that it would be useless to enter into the question, which Michaelis (Vol. II. p. 137) discusses at great length, whether the language is Gothic or Frankish.
Gregory of Tours* that Childebert, after such an expedition brought back, among other treasures, "... Evangeliorum capsas ” of pure gold, adorned with precious stones, and gave them to various churches and basilicæ.t A MS. so precious as the Codex Argenteus may well have been kept in a golden case, and have been preserved when the gold went to the melting-pot. From Werden it was conveyed to Prague, where it fell into the hands of the Swedes when the city was stormed by Konigsmark in 1648, and was deposited in the library of Upsala. Soon after it is found in Holland in the possession of Isaac Vossius, who had spent much time at the court of Queen Christina. As this learned man does not bear the best reputation, and book-stealing has always been held a venial crime among collectors, he is suspected of having abstracted it from Upsala. It is hardly credible, however, that he would have ventured on a theft so sure to be speedily detected, and therefore the probability is that it had been presented to him by the Queen, whom he had taught Greek, and with wham he was a great favourite. While it was in the possession of Vossius it attracted the notice of Francis Junius, son of the Junius who, in conjunction with Tremellius, translated the Bible into Latin. He was the uncle of Isaac Vossius, and, having devoted himself to the study of the northern languages, recognized its value, and published an edition of it along with the Gospels in Anglo-Saxon, at Dordrecht, in 1665. The Swedish Chancellor, Count de la Gardie, purchased the Codex from Vossius, and restored it, bound in silver, to Queen Christina. Originally it appears to have consisted of 330 leaves, of which only 177 now remain, though in the middle of the last century there were 187. The ten missing leaves were cut out between 1821 and 1834. It now begins with Matt. v. 15, and ends with John xix. 8, and there are intervening lacunæ.
As the Codex Argenteus contained only the Gospels, doubts were entertained whether the labours of Ulfilas had not been exaggerated, when he was said by Philostorgius and Isidore to have translated the entire Scriptures. These doubts have since been in some measure removed. The library of Wolfenbüttel, in Brunswick, contains a MS. called the Codex Carolinus, in which the Origines of Isidore, of Seville, had been written over the version of Ulfilas in Gothic characters, accompanied by a Latin version in parallel columns. The vellum leaves, except four, had been used to cover other books before Knittel discovered their value. What remained and was decipherable contained only a few portions of the Epistle to the Romans. The Latin version appears to have been made in Italy in the
* See Michaelis, p. 146. + Childebert's booty was obtained from the capture of Narbonne (A.D. 636), which would lead to the supposition of a Visigothic origin for the Codex Argenteus. On the other hand, the discovery of fragments of this version in Milan, Bobbio and other parts of Italy, seems to point to the Ostrogoths.
sixth century, where such a combination of two languages must have been common; a note at the end of the Brixen MŠ. of the Bible warning the reader "ne videatur aliud in Græca, aliud in Latina vel Gothica designata, esse conscripta."* Of course it is possible that the whole of the work may not have proceeded from Ulfilas, and the words of Walafrid Strabo point to different translators; "studiosi illius gentis divinos libros in suæ locutionis proprietatem transtulerunt." He wrote, however, in the ninth century, and unless some marked difference of style could be detected between the Evangelists and the other parts, it would be premature to call in question the evidence of contemporaries.
Additional portions of the Gothic version have since come to light. In 1817, the indefatigable Mai discovered at Milan, in palimpsest MSS. which had been brought from the monastery of Bobbio on the Trebia, nearly the whole of the Pauline Epistles, including the Epistle to the Romans. And as the portions of the Wolfenbüttel MS. agree with the text of this more recent discovery, the inference is that they belong to one and the same version. Other MSS. at Milan contain fragments of the Old Testament, which, scanty as they are, warrant the belief that all the canonical books, if not the Apocrypha, had been translated into Gothic. All these fragments, along with the Codex Argen, teus, are included by Massmann in his edition; and he has added portions of a work in the Gothic language, derived from MSS. at Milan and Rome, which he calls Skeireins, or commentary, which appears to be a running commentary on the Gospel of John, designed in part to refute, from this Gospel, Sabellius, Marcellus and others, who held what the pure Arians considered heretical doctrines. And as the passages commented upon correspond with the text of the Codex Argenteus, the presumption seems warranted that all the fragments hitherto discovered are parts of the "Authorized Version" of the Gothic nation, carried by them from the banks of the Danube wherever they were dispersed in their migration. No portion of the Catholic Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews or the Apocalypse, has yet been discovered. It would be unsafe, however, to draw any inference from this negative fact. Further discoveries may be in store for other Knittels and Mais. A remnant of the Gothic nation existed
* Massmann, p. lvii, quoting Blanchini Evang. Quadr., p. 1.
† I quote from Massmann's translation the commentary on John v. 22, “The Father judgeth no man," &c.: “If therefore the Father and the Son were, as Sabellius argues, one and the same, signified by different names, how could the same person judge and not judge, for a change of names only does not make a change of persons; but the work is a proof that no one else judges, but that the Father has given the power of judgment to the Son, that all should honour the Son as they honour the Father. Let us, therefore, with such a plain declaration, give honour to the unborn God; and to the only born Son, who is God, not equal but similar honour. The Saviour himself, praying to the Father for his disciples, says, that Thou mayest love them as Thou lovest me;' not equal love but similar."
in the Crimea as late as the middle of the sixteenth century. Busbequius saw at Constantinople two delegates from them to the Sultan, and took down many of their words, which are evidently Gothic. They have disappeared since the Crimea became Russian; but an Armenian traveller in 1830 speaks of Gothic monuments and inscriptions still extant there, and it is not beyond hope that a portion of the Bible may have been carried thence to Russia.
A comparison of the recovered version of Ulfilas with the Greek, which Massmann has conveniently printed on the opposite page, fully confirms the opinion that he translated from the Greek and not from the Latin, a question once eagerly debated. Mill, finding that Ulfilas had many readings in common with the Codex Bezæ, which was then reputed to Latinize, was inclined to think that the Gothic version had been influenced by the Latin. There was indeed no reason why Ulfilas, who was master of the Latin as well as the Greek, should not have consulted Latin MSS., or why the Greek MSS. which he used should not have more or less affinity with the Latin; but that he translated from the Greek, not from the Latin, will, I think, be the conclusion of every one who compares his version with the Greek. It thus becomes a valuable aid to the critic towards ascertaining the reading of the Greek MSS. in the fourth century. His fidelity as a translator is unimpeachable. Michaelis observed that the passage in which an Arian translator would be most likely to betray his bias, Rom. ix. 5, did not occur in the fragment of the Epistle published by Knittel. It has since been found, and reads, “saei ist ufar allaim guth thiuthiths in aivam," " who is over all God blessed for ever." In 1 Tim. iii. 16, the rendering is, “Jah unsahtaba * mikils ist gagudeins runa, saei gabairhtiths warth in leika,” &c., “And unquestionably great is godliness's mystery, which (or who) was brought to light in the flesh.” This is the reading accepted by all recent critics, instead of “God was manifested in the flesh."
is said by Philostorgius that Ulfilas translated the whole of the Bible except the books of Kings, which contained the wars of the Jewish people, and which he feared would stimulate the propensities of the Gothic nation, already too prone to war.
Το have been consistent, he should have also withheld from them the book of Joshua, which was quite as likely to be dangerous. Hitherto nothing has been found of the historical books subsequent to the Pentateuch except a fragment of Ezra and a considerable portion of Nehemiah.
The root is saka, a cause, and specifically a legal cause. Hence our old legal phrase "sac and soke" for the right of holding courts. Runa is the word by which Ulfilas always translates uvorhpov. This may throw light on the primary use of Runes, as a secret character. The root of gabairhtiths is baihrt, bright, whence the termination bert in so many Saxon names: Ethelbert (noble bright), Hildebert (hero bright), &c.
While Ulfilas was giving to his nation a treasure above all price in a translation of the Holy Scriptures, he was also bequeathing a most valuable legacy to all the branches of the Gothic family, in this record of their primitive language. Without it, it would have been impossible for Jakob Grimm to have traced the analogies which connect the various dialects which sprung from it, and demonstrated the original identity of the Scandinavian, Saxon, Anglo-saxon, and Teutonic in its various branches. And as we too have inherited a large portion of the word-treasure which the version of Ulfilas contains, we may devote a few lines to a comparison of his rendering with our modern English, using the German as a bridge over chasms that might be otherwise impassable. We take at random Mark xi. 28, foll. : Goth. Jah kuethun du imma In hvamma Eng. And quoth they to him in what (who, whom) valdufnje
thata authority (Germ. walt, gewalt; A. Sax. bretwalda) that
taujis jah hvas thus thata valdufni atgaf ei dost thou? and who thee that authority to-gave that thata taujis.
that thou dost? V. 29. Ith Jesus andhafjands kuath du im Fraihna
But Jesus answering quoth to them Ask (Germ. frage) jah ik
ik ainis vaurdis jah andhafjeth mis jah also I one (ane) word and
and kuitha izvis in hvamma valdufnje thata tauja.
I will quoth to you in what authority that I do. V. 30. Daupeins
Johannis uzuh Dipping (Germ. taufen) of John out of (aus Germ.) himina
thau uzuh mannam? heaven (himmel) was out of men? The comparison will shew not only how close is the affinity between our mother tongue and that which was spoken by the converts of Ulfilas and the soldiers of Alaric, but also how much our language, and in a less degree the German, has been mutilated and impoverished by the loss of inflexions. The order of the words is so closely conformed to that of the Greek, as to prove that Ulfilas translated from the Greek and not from the Latin.
He is said to have been the author of many theological treatises which have perished; probably with no injury to his reputation, judging from the specimens which we have of the theology
What time has spared is a sufficient title to our grateful remembrance.
of that age.