Antedating of "Viking"

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Thu Mar 21 13:21:10 UTC 2013

If it's a revival, it's a revival from Old Icelandic/Old Norse rather
than from OE, which I think those forms in Fred's cit show. That -er
ending that we see in Fred's cit, however, could be from Modern Ice. or
Norse as well (it's "vikingur" in Mod. Ice., I believe). But actually,
now that I think about it, if it is borrowed from the Icelandic of the
late 1700s, it would still be from OI/ON because they actually
consciously reformed the spelling of Icelandic in the 1600s to more
closely follow the patterns of medieval Icelandic (OI).

I think it makes sense that it disappeared in ME. Keep in mind that the
dominant terms in the OE texts for those Scandinavian raiders/invaders
was not "wicing" but "Denisc mann" or "Northmann" and in the ME period
they're not dealing so much with that group. . .

There's also an instance of "viking" ("Wiching")  in Adam of Bremen's
Gesta Hammaburgensis which he uses to gloss the Latin "pyratum"(?)
("pyratae" in the text) and he identifies the OHG equivalent as
"ascomann". He identifies "wiching" as the term used in Zealand (Denmark).

I'm intrigued to see just how far back we can push the antiquarian use.
. . .

---Amy West

On 3/21/13 12:00 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
> Date:    Wed, 20 Mar 2013 13:42:50 -0400
> From:    Dave Wilton<dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject: Re: Antedating of "Viking"
> I think it more likely a revival of the term OE/ON term by antiquarians rather than a loan from modern Scandinavian usage. And I wouldn't be terribly surprised if, as more old works become searchable online, that we'll find that it has been in use by antiquarians for much longer. (Although it appears to have fallen out of use during the Middle English period.)

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