czwartek, 22 lutego 2018

Language of the mediaeval Tolkiens


One of the earliest texts of the earliest Tolkiens! This is Middle High German from Prussia in the 16th century. And the author of this letter was bishop Fabian von Lossainen, a great-great-grandson of Matthias von Markelingerode, a tolk ('negotiator, translator') of the Theutonic Order in Prussia. In spite this line of the Tolks/Tolkiens did not use the family name Tolkyn/Tolkien ('a descendant of Tolk'), we can call Fabian and early Tolkien... Linguistics, linguistics everywhere in the Tolkien Ancestry! 

In the 1990s an American artist and linguist, Patrick Wynne has created this splendid artwork:


»Sihe halpbruder, diss ist scherpffer dann dein zung«. This artwork is entitled: 'Woodcut from a 15th century German edition of "The Silmarillion": Das Silmarillion. Die geschicht von den elbischen staynen silmarilli genant, printed by Peter Wagner, Nuremberg, 1493.' The artwork illustrates the tale from The Silmarillion on pp. 69-70.

Copernicus, a friend of an early Tolkien!

Niklas Koppernigk or Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543)

Fabian von Lossainen
(ca. 1470–1523)
J. R. R. Tolkien's ancestors were most probably the noble Tolks vel Tolkiens from the goods in Tolko (German Tolks) and Tołkiny (German Tolksdorf) in Prussia (today in the Masuria region in Poland). One of these early Tolkiens was a famous bishop of Warmia (German Ermland), Fabian von Lossainen (Polish Fabian Luzjański). He was born ca. 1470 being a son of Martin von Lossainen, commandant of the castle and city of Reszel (Warmia/Ermland) and Elżbieta Kościelecka from the Polish nobility. As a child he was taken hostage by the Teutonic Knights in revenge for his father's defense of Reszel. His last name is also listed as von Lossainen, von Lusian, de Lusian, de Lossainen, from Łęźany, and Tetinger de Lossainensis (see the Tolk/Tolkien family tree below).


Fabian "Tolkien" first studied probably in Koenigsberg (Polish Królewiec), Prussia. Later  he studied in Cologne (from 1486), at the University of Bologna (from 1490, doctorate in canon law in 1500) and in Ferrara (in 1491). He was a canon of the cathedral chapter of Warmia/Ermland (1490); in the chapter he was a colleague of Niklas Koppernigk (Nicolaus Copernicus or Mikołaj Kopernik), famous astronomer (with whom he studied in Bologna). Luzjański was also a legal counselor of Bishop Łukasz Watzenrode of Ermland. He was elected bishop of Ermland by its cathedral chapter on 5 April 1512. Shortly after his election, he was ordained a priest. This most famous early Tolkien (or descendant of Matthias Tolk von Markelingerode) died on 30 January 1523 in Lidzbark Warmiński. Buried in the cathedral in Frombork.
 
I have found a letter from bishop Fabian "Tolkien" to Nicolaus Copernicus and his colleague Heinrich Snellenberg (whole collection of Copernicus' letters can be found here). Maybe one of my readers wants to help me to translate this letter from Latin (or German) into English?