[Northkeep] scholarly question

Marc Carlson marccarlson20 at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 1 17:37:02 PST 2002

>From: "Dennis England" <sirbalvin at worldnet.att.net>
>What would be the correct address for a 10th century Welsh Abbot?  As a
>10th century Icelander, I think some of my more coarse >brethren may have
>addressed them something like this, "how does that ax feel?"  But that's
>not what I am looking for.  What I am looking >for is how someone in their
>community and/or a peer may have addressed them.  Can anyone out there

"Abbot" simply means "father" (from the Greek "abbas",and coming through
that whole monastic thingamadealie).   Originally itreferred to any monk,
then later came to be restricted to the head of a monastery.  In 10th
century English, the term was "Abbod".

Therefore, "Pater" (Latin) would be appropriate, although "fadhir" would
probably be correct for an Icelander, "gwal-adr" in Welsh, and "athair" in
Irish.  Therfore it would likely be correct to use either Father or Abbot
when talking to him, referring to his station, or trying to get his
attention (i.e. "Hey Abbot!").    As for what an 10th century welsh Abbot
would call a an Icelander, "Filius mio" or "my son" wouldn't be
inappropriate :)   Since in the 10th century, Iceland was still partly
inhabited with Irish monks, this might have been rendered "Hey, Mac!".


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