Renæssanceforum 5 • 2008

Marita Akhøj Nielsen
Norse Philology Anno 1570

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In the1570s the Danish humanist Anders Sørensen Vedel (1542-1616) studied Old Norse and left behind extensive notes on the subject, to which he referred as Gothic, identifying the language with that of the famous ancient people. His main source was a medieval manuscript of the Norwegian kings’ sagas, Eirspennill, but he also excerpted Norwegian Renaissance works. His aim certainly was to understand the historical sources, but also to collect material for a description of the language, underlining linguistic affinity between Danish and Gothic. Besides, he used some of the words in his writings because of their archaising effect. On his portrait he had some words from Eirspennill painted in runes that were generally thought to be Gothic letters.