General remarks on the data
The Norse World data includes two types of spatial references, place names and non-names. These data are collected from vernacular East Norse, i.e. Old Swedish and Old Danish, contexts, see 'Material'.
Place names are names of topographical, physical, and cultural features and they constitute the largest group of the project's spatial referents. Place names in the East Norse corpus are identified contextually by means of close reading.
For example, France and Lake Ladoga are place names that are relatively easy to identify as such. The place name Mæret mentioned in Själens tröst (Consolation of the Soul) is homonymous with the common noun mær 'sea' in the definite form. In this case, it is the context of the source that justifies the identification of the spatial reference as a name. The same goes for multiple place names that represent phrases containing spatial references from Vejleder for Pilgrimme (Guide for Pilgrims), e.g. Thæn øthken, i hvilik Kristus mættethe fæm thusend mæn (Desert where Jesus fed five thousand men). These phrases do not constitute prototypical place names. However, we consider them to be a part of the project material, because they denote places of Christian worship that we assume were meaningful for the medieval audience.
Another problematic case is distinguishing between the choronym (country name) Israel and the homonymous personal name denoting a biblical patriarch. When the name does not directly indicate the person (formerly known as Jacob), then we consider the name to refer to the nation or territory and include relevant references into the database, cf. e.g. Old Swedish attestations badh han innirlika israels gudh och æn israels folk hafdhe ther aff enga nødh.
In some cases the denotation of the place name is ambiguous. For example, the Old Swedish Babilonia is attested in a variety of East Norse sources denoting either the city of Babylon, the Neo-Babylonian Empire, or the Babylon Fortress. There are thus three standard forms and corresponding localities to account for these attestations in the database: Babylon (city), Babylonia (Neo-Babylonian Empire) (country), and Babylon Fortress (castle). In the same way, the Old Swedish and Old Danish lemma forms Rom can denote both the city of Rome and Roman empire. In the attestations containing a monarchy title such as queen, king, emperor, and the like, or a church title such as bishop, the context in our opinion implies the spatial reference is a choronym and denotes the area over which the person has jurisdiction (e.g. kingdom, empire, bishopric). In this way, the attestation keysaren aff rom is linked to the standard form Roman Empire (country), while the attestation j room is linked to the standard form Rome (city). For more information and examples, see 'Data and related metadata: spatial references and spatial data'.
Some churches occur in the material only with the name of their patron saint(s). These instances are excerpted as attestations of spatial reference. This is particularly the case with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the material often referred to as Sancte Jacob: Han wille til sancte iepss fare.
Non-name is a collective term for spatial references that are not covered by the category place names. The category is heterogenous and comprises adjectives, adverbs, coin designations, inhabitant designations, language designations, noun bynames, and origin designations. Examples of non-names include florin, Tavastian, Greek language, and Sunamitis (of Shunem). For more information and examples, see 'Data and related metadata: spatial references and spatial data'.
Inhabitant designations: problematisation
Inhabitant designations are nouns used to designate the inhabitants of a city, region, or country, e.g. Judean (Jew), Roman, Tavastian, and Wend. However, there are at least two potential inhabitant designations that the suggested definition does not always cover, Judean (Jew), cf. Old Swedish iuþe, iudhinna, or iudha folk 'Jew', and blaman (Ethiopian), cf. Old Swedish blaman 'Ethiopian' (in a few contexts only).
In the Norse World project, only references to Jews from the Old Testament are included as Jews are usually regarded as a national group (Judeans) in those contexts. Jews in the New Testament are usually depicted as a religious “other” (in comparison to Christians). Therefore, we do not include such references into the Norse World database. Any other religious terms that include references to Jews, e.g. the Old Swedish compound iuþa biskoper, are not included either. We also do not excerpt references to Jews when the reference is used in a contemporaneous/medieval context. The fictional Red Jews, however, are excerpted since they represent a spatial reference, as they according to tradition inhabit a country on the other side of the fictional river Sambation.
In many East Norse contexts, the Old Swedish word blaman indicates a religious “other” (in comparison to Christians). Thus, we only include references to blaman into the database when the word is used to denote inhabitants of a region or a country, e.g. Ethiopians.
Spatial references (place names and non-names) are sorted into two groups regarding contextual identification: real or fictional. Place names and non-names are sorted under real by default if they do not match the requirements for fictional. Place names refering to biblical places and other places associated with Christianity such as churches or other places of Christian worship are classified as real, since we assume that the medieval (Christian) audience perceived the places as being real.
Place names and non-names are sorted under fictional when they are impossible to identify or if the actual context of the attestation contradicts the assumed identification of the spatial reference. For example, the place name Mundin sorted under fictional is impossible to identify. Another place name classified as fictional is Apolisborgh, Aplesburgh (Apolis Castle) from Floris and Blancheflour. There is a European tradition of identifying corresponding place names in other vernacular versions of the text as the fictional Spanish city Nople (also written Noples) (Grieve 1997:46–47). However, the context of the Old Swedish and the Old Danish attestations contradicts the assumed identification of the place name.
Each occurrence of a spatial reference (place name or non-name) is entered into the database with the reference indexed on four levels:
i) original form
ii) variant form
iii) lemma form (Old Swedish and/or Old Danish)
iv) standard form
Each spatial reference first occurs as it appears in the text of a source (original form) followed by two types of normalisation (variant form and lemma form) and a standard form that links Old Swedish and Old Danish lemma forms to a specific geographical location and its spatial data. In other words, these forms provide the spatial reference in source-near and source-abstract forms that will make different types of search possible. For example, two Old Danish original forms, til egyptoland and innen egypte landh, give two variant forms, Egyptoland and Egyptelandh respectively, but only one Old Danish lemma form, Egipteland. Furthermore, the lemma form Egipteland is linked to the standard form Egypt. Other lemma forms linked to the same standard form include Old Swedish Egyptaland and Egyptus. For more information, see 'Data and related medatada: attestations'.
The original form is an attestation of a spatial reference (place name or non-name) as it appears in the text of the source and, when relevant, transcribed at the diplomatic level with abbreviations expanded in italics. The spatial reference in the original form is marked in bold, e.g. til babiloniam 'to Babylon'. If the editor omits a part of the source text in the original form, the omission is marked with (...). Emendations in original forms appear in square brackets, . Line breaks in verse and, when relevant/available, in prose are marked with |.
The original forms are excerpted from editions and manuscripts, see 'Theoretical considerations'. If the original form detailed view includes information on the edition use, it means that the original form is taken from the edition. If proper names are normalised in the edition of a text, e.g. by capitalising the initial letter, we follow the edition and provide a note regarding this editorial choice in the relevant work entry.
The original form can include textual contexts of varying length. Following textual contexts are represented in the collected material:
- none, since the spatial reference in attested in the nominative, e.g. [parad]iis.
- prepositional phrases that the spatial reference is a part of, e.g. til anthiochiam.
- nominal phrases (including personal name phrases) that the spatial reference is a part of, e.g. konungen aff babilon, amicus aff bericano.
- verb phrases that the spatial reference is a part of, in those cases the context is needed to establish the case declension of the spatial reference, e.g. babiloniam sagh iak alregh.
- explicit references to the denotatum/referent of the spatial reference, e.g. vnder ena øø ther kallas rodum.
- in rhymed sources, the line the spatial reference if a part of, e.g. swa at marger rytz saa sik rødhan swet.
- any other context needed to understand the spatial reference, e.g. Oc førde them saa tijl sleswig opp | i sanecti pædhers kircke the thet lade.
The main principle of normalisation
The main principle of normalisation for Old Swedish is to follow the conventions used in Söderwalls Ordbok öfver svenska medeltids-språket (1884–1973) with one minor adjustment, i.e. we replace ä and ö with æ and ø respectively. For Old Danish, the general normalisation principle is to follow the method for normalisation devised by Kaj Bom in the Old Danish lemma list in 1954 and used ever since by Gammeldansk Ordbog.
Normalisation of variant forms
The variant form is a slightly normalised form of the spatial reference (place name or non-name) based on one or more similar original forms that occur in one or more sources of one or more works. The variant form contains none of the textual context provided for the original form. For more information, see 'Data and related metadata: attestations'.
The normalisation of the variant form varies slightly depending on the type of spatial reference, place name, or non-name. For both place names and non-names, variant forms retain their original spelling and declension according to definiteness and (grammatical) number. However, variant forms are always provided in the nominative irrespective of their case declension in the original form.
For place names, the initial letter of the place-name variant is capitalised. Compound place names are written as one word even if the original form suggests other spellings. For example, the Old Swedish variant forms for the standard form Egypt (Ancient Egypt) include:
There are six Old Danish variant forms for the standard form Judea in the database:
For non-names, variant forms are written in lowercase letters and the spelling of compounds varies in accordance with authoritative dictionaries, see 'Normalisation of lemma forms' below. For example, the Old Swedish variant forms for the inhabitant designation Russian include:
- rytza færd;
- rytza konungen;
- rytza konunger;
- rytza konunghe;
There are four Old Danish variant forms for the standard form Gum arabic in the database:
To sum up, different spellings and declension according to definiteness and (grammatical) number give new variant forms.
Normalisation of lemma forms
The lemma form is a normalised form of the spatial reference (place name or non-name) that is constructed on the basis of the collected variant forms and original forms, as well as attestations of the word found in other sources not covered by the project.
The normalisation of the lemma form varies depending on the type of spatial reference, place name, or non-name. For place names, we follow the principle that a new place-name formation gives a new lemma form. Thus, we retain declension according to definiteness and/or (grammatical) number because such declension implies a new name formation. Lemma forms are always provided in the nominative case and their spelling is normalised according to the principles outlined below.
It is important to create normalised lemma forms in Old Swedish and Old Danish for each place name, so that all the occurrences of the name with different orthographic or morphological forms can be linked to appropriate lemma forms in either language. For Old Danish it follows the principles for normalisation devised by Kaj Bom in the Old Danish lemma list in 1954 and used ever since by Gammeldansk Ordbog. This list includes numerous place names and spellings that are particularly difficult to decipher. For Old Swedish we follow the method of normalisation used in Söderwalls Ordbok öfver svenska medeltids-språket (1884–1973). However, as neither of these dictionaries includes propria, we are required to coin normalised lemmata for place names. Gammeldansk Ordbog does have a small citation-slip collection of some place names (including foreign places), that has been of great help.
For example, the Old Swedish lemma forms for the standard form Egypt (Ancient Egypt) include:
There are two Old Danish lemma forms for the standard form Judea in the database:
For non-names, we take lemma forms from authoritative dictionaries, Söderwalls Ordbok öfver svenska medeltids-språket (1884–1973) for Old Swedish and Gammeldansk Ordbog for Old Danish. Non-names are thus provided in the singular, nominative, indefinite form.
For example, the Old Swedish lemma forms for the inhabitant designation Russian include:
- ryza fiærdh;
- ryza konunger.
There are two Old Danish lemma forms for the standard form Gum arabic in the database:
Other principles of normalisation
- The most common abbreviations in Old Swedish are normalised in accordance with the Svenskt Diplomatarium's template as presented in Svenskt Diplomatarium 11:1 (2006: VI), e.g. thz is normalised as thet and mz as medh.
- The Old Swedish suffixed definite article is normalised as -et.
- In Old Swedish genitive compound lemma forms, the genitive plural ending of the first element is normalised according to authoritative grammars of Old Swedish, usually as -a.
- We follow Söderwall when normalising the assumed voiced labiodental fricative between two vowels in Old Swedish lemmata as v, cf. hava.
- When there is code-switching with Latin, we use the Medieval Latin form of the name (if there is such an established form). Classical Latin spellings (e.g. with ae) are not used, cf. Egyptus, rather than Aegyptus; Cesarea, rather than Caesarea. If the foreign form has been mediated through French (or German), then the form in the mediating language is taken into consideration; for example, Lombardi (< OFr. Lombardie < MedLat. Lombardia.
- When lemmatising church names containing the word Saint, we use the vernacular Sankte when the saint's name is declined according to the vernacular rules, e.g. Sankte Iakobs land. If the Latin declension of the saint's name is used we take the latin form Sancti or Sancte, e.g. Sancti Petri.
- When normalising names of Latin provenance, the use of c and ch has been retained. Thus, Luca, rather than Luka; Antiochia, rather than Antiokia; Macedonia, rather than Makedonia. Similarly, qu is retained in names such as Aquitania, rather than Akvitania. If the name has been adapted to the vernacular in any way, then the vernacular spelling is retained; for example: Old Danish Secananfloth, rather than Sequananfloth.
- We keep z in lemma forms, e.g. Old Swedish ryz and Franz.