Nytt om runer

The New Find from Bergakker - an Update (E-mail from Tineke Looijenga)

The editor of Nytt om runer received an e-mail from Tineke Looijenga dated 20 February 1998. In her note she reacted to the presentation by Arend Quak on the web site for the periodical of the new find from Bergakker, the Netherlands. She has requested that the e-mail be published as an update. The following is the relevant part of that e-mail.

Tineke Looijenga:

I saw he [Quak] took his information for NoR [Nytt om runer] out of my ABäG [Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik] paper, which is old information by now. And he did not understand that the site has never been searched by archaeologists, but only by the same amateur who found the runic mount. Moreover, the dating, 400, is not right. Later on, we (Teuws, a specialist on medieval swords, Bosman and I) concluded that the dating should at least be 425. The context is not Roman, but provincial-roman, which means in this case Frankish. The inscription may have nothing to do with a Germanic veteran. Moreover, the piece has never been used, it might not have been collected by the commissioner. Or it was offered, together with the other metal objects, since the site was also a sanctuary site, of the goddess Hurstrga. Furthermore, the third rune is not a þ, but rather an l. The words kesjam and logens are not Latin, and declined according to Germanic rules; kesjam is a dative plural and logens, being the object, is acc. plural: "swords". Kesjam, though, may be a loan. I related kes to a root (Latin) CAES-. I suggest an early or secondary connection with Lat. CAESIM, adv. "by cutting, with cuts, with the edge of the sword". The basic meaning of Latin CAEDO, CAEDERE, CAESIM is "to strike, beat, cut, kill". The form *CAESIA might be a nomen agentis, with a root CAES- + the suffix -jan. The meaning would be "cutter", e.g. a person fighting with a certain weapon, like a gladiator, only here we have no gladius, but another type of sword (you may remember the Frankish connotation, hence some late La Tene sword). Kesjam may be the indirect object of ann + dative. Logens is, as said above, the object of the sentence. The whole inscription then, might mean: "Possession of Haleþewas, he grants (the) swordfighters swords", maybe a maker's inscription, or the text may refer to a warlord who bestows certain swords on his comitatus. This is your update for NoR, and I refer again to Bammesberger who edits a book on Bergakker and Pforzen. His e-mail address is: Alfred. Bammesberger@ku-eichstaett.de.

Tineke Looijenga
Beumeesweg 7, Tange
NL-9661 AA Alteveer, The Netherlands
E-mail: tlooijenga@wxs.nl

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