Antico Inglese dryhtguma

Donata Bulotta


This work is focused on the study of the semantic evolution of OE dryhtguma in the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition. An important finding that emerges from this survey is the clear separation between its use in poetry, where it reveals the meaning of 'follower' linked to the culture of the pre-Christian Germanic institution of Comitatus, and its use in the glossaries of the period after the Christianization, where it indicates the Christian concept of paranymphus, 'friend of the bridegroom'. In particular, with the meaning of paranymphus, it appears to indicate Saint John The Baptist in the Glosses to Aldhelm's De Virginitate.

Ernst Dick, in his work AE Dryht und seine Sippe has explained this new meaning connecting it to the supposed vegetative value 'growth, rebirth', inherent in the OE dryht. He has tied dryhtguma to marriage and baptism as symbols of renewal and then to paranymphus, who is the central figure.

The aim of this work is to reject what has been proposed by Dick on this aspect and instead demonstrate that the choice of using dryhtguma as interpretamentum of lat. paranymphus is the result of the work of reading, studying, copying and translating biblical texts by the first Anglo-Saxon churchmen, who were able to bend their language to the needs of the new Christianized culture.

Parole chiave

Medieval England; Aldhelm's glosses; Anglo-Saxon lexicography

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