Crimean Gothic language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Crimean Gothic

Spoken in

Crimean peninsula
speaker none ( language extinct )

Indo-European languages

Germanic languages
Gothic language
  • Crimean Gothic
Official status
Official language in (extinct)
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


The Crimean Gothic language may have been a historical variety of Gothic . Gothic groups settled in the Crimea in the 3rd century , where the Crimean Goths were isolated from the rest of the Goths. The Crimean Gothic died no later than 17th / 18th. Century from.

Records of the Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq

Apart from the onomastic material, the sparse language certificates are only preserved in the notes of the Flemish diplomat Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq , who during his time as envoy in Constantinople had come into contact with a spokesman for the Crimean Gothic from 1554, in his report on the embassy, ​​its appearance and customs and made a makeshift record of some Crimean Gothic words and sentences with their Latin translation, e.g. B .:

  • broe "panis (= bread)"
  • plut "sanguis (= blood)"
  • hoef "caput (= head [→ head])"
  • shoot "middle sagittam (= shoot)"
  • knauen tag "bonus dies (= good day)"
  • reghen "pluvia (= rain)"
  • brother "frater (= brother)"
  • schuuester "soror (= sister)"
  • old "senex (= old)"
  • wintch "ventus (= wind)"
  • siluir "argentum (= silver)"
  • goltz "aurum (= gold)"
  • fisct "piscis (= fish)"
  • thurn "porta (= door)"
  • sune "sol (= sun)"
  • mine "luna (= moon)"
  • bars "barba (= beard)"
  • handa "manus (= hand)"
  • boga "arcus (= bow)"
  • brunna "fons (= well)"
  • waghen "carrus (= carriage)"
  • apel "pomum (= apple)"
  • to slip "dormire (= to sleep)"
  • come "venire (= come)"
  • singhen "canere (= to sing)"
  • laugh "ridere (= laugh)"
  • geen "ire (= to go)"
  • oeghene "oculi (= eyes)"
  • stul "sedes (= chair)"
  • hus "domus (= house)"
  • salt "sal (= salt)"

These evidence show some Gothic, but on the other hand also more West Germanic features. Therefore the classification is not entirely undisputed; some researchers suspect a West Germanic (Low German-Dutch) language.

Over the centuries, numerous loanwords found their way into Crimean Gothic, in particular from Greek , the Iranian languages and Slavonic . For example, the Crimean Goths adopted the Iranian word sade for the numeral one hundred (cf. but Gothic dog ).


In 2015, the Russian historian Andrei Vinogradov rediscovered five graffiti inscriptions on stone slabs and identified them as Gothic, which had been excavated in Mangup in 1938 . These were dated to the second half of the 9th or first half of the 10th century and were transcribed, transliterated and translated by Vinogradov and Maxim Korobov .

Greek inscriptions were also found on the same plates, suggesting a diglossia of Greek and Gothic.

The stone slabs were part of the Mangup Basilica. The inscriptions were created in a religious, Christian-Orthodox context, which is also evident from the content. These include a psalm, an Easter hymn and a prayer formula. The inscriptions are written in the Gothic script developed by Wulfila . The syntax of the sentences, the sound level and the writing conventions also show that the authors were familiar with the biblical Gothic.

An inscription reads:

ƕas g ( u ) þ mikils

swe g ( u ) þ unsar? þu

is g ( u ) þ waurkjands

sildaleika. ainn [s]


and aiwins

us dahþaim

yeah in midjun [gard-]

(Who is a great God like our God? You are the God who works miracles. One has risen for eternity from the dead and into the / the world ...)

The first part of the inscription corresponds to Psalm 77: 14f .; possibly it is a quote from a Gothic psalter that has not survived. The second part seems to be an Easter hymn, which has not been passed on in either Greek or Gothic elsewhere.

The inscriptions show that a solidified Bible Gothic in the 9th / 10th centuries. Century was still used in religious contexts. However, they are not proof of the continued existence of the Gothic as a vernacular.

Engelbert Kaempfer (1651–1716) visited the Crimea in the late 17th century . He wrote: “In Asia one can still find many German words on the Crimm peninsula or in Chersonesus Tartarica, and it is said that they brought a Gothic colony there 850 years after the deluge. The Herr von Busbeck, kaiserl. Ambassador to the Otshmannian court recorded a good number of these words in his fourth letter, and I have noted even more. "

Around 1780 Stanisław Siestrzeńcewicz-Bohusz , Archbishop of Mahiljou ( Belarus ), traveled to the Crimea and reported, among other things, that he had met "Tatars" on the south coast and near Sevastopol whose language was similar to " Low German ". However, it is uncertain whether it was actually still Crimean Gothic.


  • Ottar Grønvik: The dialect geographic position of the Crimean Gothic and the Crimean Gothic cantilena . Universitetsforlaget, Oslo 1983, ISBN 82-00-06614-2 .
  • Maksim Korobov and Andrey Vinogradov: Gothic graffito inscriptions from the mountain Crimea. In: Journal for German Antiquity and Literature 145 (2016), S. Hirzel Verlag Stuttgart, 141–157.
  • Maksim Korobov and Andrey Vinogradov: Gothic graffiti from the Mangup basilica. In: Advances in Gothic Philology and Linguistics. NOWELE 71: 2 (2018), 223-235.
  • Rüdiger Schmitt, Andreas Schwarcz, Ion Ioniţă: “Crimean Goths”. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde 17 (2002), De Gruyter Berlin / New York, 373–377.
  • MacDonald Stearns Jr .: Crimean Gothic. Analysis and Etymology of the Corpus . Anma Libri, Saratoga CA 1978, ISBN 0-915838-45-1 , ( Studia Linguistica et Philologica 6).
  • MacDonald Stearns Jr .: The Crimean Gothic . In: Heinrich Beck (Ed.): Germanic residual and debris languages ; de Gruyter, Berlin, New York 1989, pp. 175–194 ISBN 3-11-011948-X , ( supplementary volumes to the Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde 3), pp. 175–194.
  • Patrick Stiles: A textual note on Busbecq's "Crimean Gothic Cantilena". In: Neophilologus 68 (4) (1984), 637-639.

Web links

supporting documents

  1. digitized original text of Busbecqs:
  2. Rüdiger Schmitt, Andreas Schwarcz, Ion Ioniţă: Krimgoten . In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . B. 17. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002, p. 373-377 .
  3. a b c d e f g Maksim Korobov, Andrey Vinogradov: Gothic graffito inscriptions from the mountain Crimea . In: Journal for German Antiquity and Literature . tape 145 . S. Hirzel Verlag, Stuttgart 2016, p. 141-157 .
  4. Sergei Nemalewitsch in Meduza (Russian language internet newspaper) Молитвы на камнях Историк Андрей Виноградов рассказывает о первых надписях на крымско -готском языке , dated December 25, 2015 -. Retrieved on 2 March 2016
  5. А. Ю. Виноградов, М. И. Коробов Готские граффити из мангупской базилики, 2016, pages 57 to 75 (Russian, PDF) - accessed March 2, 2016
  6. Maksim Korobov, Andrey Vinogradov: Gothic Graffiti inscriptions from the Mountain Crimea . In: Journal for German Antiquity and Literature . tape 145 . S. Hirzel Verlag, Stuttgart 2016, p. 145 f .
  7. Engelbert Kämpfer's History and Description of Japan. Edited by Christian Wilhelm Dohm from the author's original manuscripts. First volume. With coppers and charts. Lemgo, published by Meyersche Buchhandlung, 1777. p. 99
  8. Mithridates or general language studies ; 1817, p. 168