Uppsala University Library

Early quotations from the Codex Argenteus

Knowledge of the Codex Argenteus was spread in different ways during the late 16th century and onwards: by letters and learned correspondence, of course, but probably also in discussions by word of mouth. Very soon glimpses of the Gothic gospels appear in printed literature.

Johannes Goropius Becanus

Johannes Goropius Becanus published Origines Antwerpianae in 1569. In this work the Lord’s Prayer and parts of the gospel according to St. Mark are reproduced in Gothic, transcribed to German type. The author has a defective knowledge of the Gothic language, but he knows that the texts are from an old manuscript in the monastery of Werden. The Lord’s Prayer from Origines Antwerpianae was also published in Specimen XL diversarum lingvarum, Frankfurt 1592, by Hieronymus Megiser.
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Bonaventura Vulcanius

Bonaventura Vulcanius, Professor of Greek in Leiden, published De literis & lingua Getarum, siue Gothorum in 1597. Vulcanius refers to an author (unknown to him, but probably Cornelius Wouters) who claims to have his information from a very old codex called argenteus. This is the first time the denomination Codex Argenteus is used as far as we know, and it is frequently used in this work. Vulcanius gives many samples of the Gothic language set up in woodcut with transcription and translation into Latin. He also relates the Gothic texts to Wulfila’s translation of the Bible.
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Janus Gruter

Inscriptiones antiquae totius orbis Romani is a huge epigraphic omnibus book, published in its first edition by the Dutch-English writer and polyhistor Janus Gruter or Jean de Gruytere in Heidelberg in 1602–1603. Here we can find two full folio columns of Gothic text in woodcut. They contain parts of the gospels according to St. Matthew (including the Lord’s Prayer) and St. Mark. Gruter obtained his information about the Codex Argenteus from Mercator, and he quotes what Mercator says about the codex in Werden, the Gothic text and the miserable condition of the codex.
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