Seeking Fortunatus

After posting my most recent entry I began to look more seriously for the “Vita S. Martini” by Venantius Fortunatus in translation. It hasn’t brought much to light. I cannot read medieval Latin, but there is an Italian translation available in book form, which might be my only option. There is also a German version available but which costs an arm and a leg (and really, I don’t want to spend that much on a hobby). There are plenty of English-language academic papers about aspects of the text, but I don’t believe that an English translation exists. If any buffs of early medieval literature can prove me wrong, please have at it, as I would love to know!

A Idea of Mine

I have a confession to make. Beyond all the other things I am doing right now – singing, translating, assisting in a bookselling business – I have a project in mind for the future. I want to put together a guidebook for the Via Raetia.
There are guides and books for following the Via Claudia Augusta, the first Roman-made road to cross the Alps in this region, but I have yet to find a modern tourist guide in English for it’s younger sister, the Via Raetia. The Via Claudia has an “official” route which one can follow ona bike, and much of it may accurately follow the old road. The Via Raetia does not, and here you can see why:
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Clearly one can’t just go traipsing across private property, let alone tell others to do so.

Walking, cycling, sights along the way, history, archaeology, culture, on the route between Augsburg and… well, how comprehensive do I want this to be? I could keep it within Bavaria (Augsburg to Mittenwald) or publish installments (Part 2, North Tyrol from Mittenwald to the Brenner Pass, Part 3 Italy: Brennero to Verona). Even if I had no other work, this would take a few years of research, travel, exploration. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to do it. (Note to any publishing houses: I’m here, “boots on the ground”, if you are considering something along these lines from a distance.)

But all this will have to wait another year at least, because for professional reasons I am going to be spending a considerable amount of time at the other end of Bavaria, namely closer to the Czech border.

Image from Google maps.

Teriolis ≠ Tirol

Continuing in the looking-up-one-thing-and-finding-the-tip-of-the-iceberg vein, I recently began looking into an assumption I had made a while back — that the name Tirol was derived from the Roman fortress Teriolis (from which the village of Zirl takes its name). It turns out that this is completely unsubstantiated, and that the name Tirol came to these lands by being ruled by the Earls of Tirol, who in turn took their name from their home, the castle Schloss Tirol, by around 1141.
Whence the castle got its name remains a mystery. Wikipedia mentions that tir meant territory or land in both Latin and Old Irish (Celtic), and that earlier written versions of the name include de Tirale and de Tyrols.

Ah, that mysterious “y” which one finds in the name when written in English! I had always wondered about that.

Then, poking around for anything on the internet concerning the origin of the name, I came across this interesting treatise (de). (I am not sure what to make of it, exactly — it reads a bit like Tolkien’s backstory in the appendices of “The Lord of the Rings”. It also shares some word-for-word passages with this.) The author (if he is the author) postulates that the rocky hill on which the castle sits had been taken in the early middle ages by conquering Germanic tribes, who named it in honor of the Germanic god Tyr (en) (aka Ziu*, both connected in turn to Zeus deus, deva, and our Tuesday). He adds that before the castle there had been an early Christian church on the site, and it is known that those early Christian churches often were built right atop pre-Christian holy sites. So it’s possible that the name Tirol (or Tyrol) is a very old, pre-Christian one.

The first Earls of Tirol were apparently Bavarian (Bavaria was running the place at the time) but they adopted the name of their castle rather than their family name, which lends a little credibility to the theory that the place name had some ancient meaning. Which nobody would have remembered by the 12th century.

The author also mentions a very curious book called Das erfundene Mittelalter (“the invented middle ages”) by a “chronology critic”, who claims that all the years between 614 and 911 didn’t exist, that everything purported to have happened in that time, didn’t, because of some sort of massive calendar jump. Scientists and archaeologists have debunked this theory.

And, completely unrelated to these places: the name Tauern, given to the Alpine mountain region of Salzburg and Carinthia, is evidently connected to the name of its earlier inhabitants, the Taurisci. After the Battle of Telamon in 225 B.C.E., the beaten Taurisci were allowed to resettle further southwest at what is now called – wait for it — Torino, or in English, Turin.

*Ziu and Zirl sound suspiciously alike. Is it not possible that, the Romans perhaps having latinized an already-given Raetian name for that hill there (now the Martinsbühel), the two names might indeed be related, by way of Ziu? The Roman name for Wilten, Veldidena, is thought to have come from a pre-existing name. Did the Raetians share any linguistic origins with their northern neighbors? One might assume yes, as Germanic and Celtic were both Indo-European. And gods are completely transferable, as history shows us.

Reading the Tabula Peutingeriana

The Tabula Peutingeriana is a 13th century copy of a Roman road map from around the 4th or 5th century CE, judging by the place names on it. It is named for Konrad Peutinger, a man of letters from 16th-century Augsburg, who had bequeathed it to his great-nephew Markus Welser (the Welser clan was a famous banker family in Augsburg, and had an Innsbruck representative in Philippine.) It is a very unusual map in that the road lengths are consistent (“längentreu”) but not the areas between them. In this way it resembles a subway map, where all the rail lines extend in directions beneficial to the space of the map but not true to actual geography. The lands on the Tabula extend from the British Isles to the Ganges Valley in India. // Die Tabula Peutingeriana ist eine im 13. Jhdt. N. Chr. angefertigte Kopie einer römischen Straßenkarte des 4 oder 5 Jhdt. N. Chr, wenn man von den verwendeten Ortsnamen ausgeht. Sie wurde nach Konrad Peutinger, einem Gelehrten des 16. Jahrhunderts in Augsburg, der es seinem Großneffen Markus Welser vermacht hatte, benannt (die Welser-Clan war eine berühmter Bankier-Familie in Augsburg, und hatte in Innsbruck einen Vertreter in Philippine). Es ist eine sehr ungewöhnliche Karte, da die Straßenlängen konsistent sind (“längentreu”), nicht aber die Gebiete zwischen ihnen. Auf diese Weise gleicht sie einer U-Bahn-Karte, in der alle Eisenbahnlinien so gerichtet sind, dass sie ins Papierformat der Karte gut passen, aber nicht tatsächliche Geographie abbilden. Die Länder auf der Tabula erstrecken sich von den Britischen Inseln bis zum Ganges-Tal in Indien.
I recently obtained a copy of Via Claudia Exkursionsführer (Via Claudia Excursion Guide) by Hermann J. Volkmann. It’s a rather academic booklet, put out by scholars of geography didactics, but not difficult to follow. To my delight, it shows with modern maps the presumed route of the Via Claudia from Augsburg to Füssen, almost to the meter, including information on where it is still accessible and where one has to detour. Volkmann says some interesting things about the famously straight Roman roads and their representation on the Tabula Peutingeriana. On the map below you will see that they are drawn as straight lines with kinks. According to Volkmann, these kinks represent stages or segments on the journey, and each joint was probably recognisable by landmarks (grave mounds, viereckschanzen, rivers, lakes) or guesthouses, found at regular intervals along the road and offering bed and board, stalls and supply depots. // Ich habe vor kurzem eine Kopie des Via Claudia Exkursionsführer (Via Claudia Wanderführer) von Hermann J. Volkmann erhalten. Es ist eine eher akademische Broschüre, die von Wissenschaftlern der Geographie erstellt wurde (Lehrstuhl für Didaktik der Geographie an d. Univ. Augsburg), aber nicht schwer zu folgen. Erfreulicherweise zeigt es mit modernen Karten die mutmaßliche Route der Via Claudia von Augsburg nach Füssen, fast auf den Meter, einschließlich Informationen darüber, wo sie noch zugänglich ist und wo man einen Umweg machen muss. Volkmann sagt einige interessante Dinge über die berühmte geraden Römerstraßen und deren Darstellung auf der Tabula Peutingeriana. Auf der Karte sieht man, dass sie als gerade Linien mit Knickstellen gezeichnet werden. Nach Volkmann, stellen Knicke Stufen oder Segmente auf der Reise dar, und jedes Gelenk war wohl erkennbar ein Wahrzeichen (Grabhügel, Viereckschanzen, Flüsse, Seen) oder Pensionen, in regelmäßigen Abständen entlang der Straße, die Unterkunft,Verpflegung, Ställe und Depots bieten.

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Only two travel segments of the Via Claudia can be found on the Tabula Peutingeriana; from Augusta vindelicum (two towers near the top left corner, above) to Da novalis, and from there to Abodiacum. After that there seems to be a detour somewhere* over to the Via Raetia**, which was built later and runs through Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass. Volkmann posits that the Via Raetia was the more important route at the time, so it would have made sense to include it and not the older, longer route.
Here are the stops between Augusta vindelicum (Augsburg, Bavaria) and Tridentum (Trento, Italy). I have included the names on the Tabula Peutingeriana, a known Roman name (if different), and the modern name for that place. // Nur zwei Reise Segmente der Via Claudia konnten auf der Tabula Peutingeriana gefunden werden; von Augusta Vindelicum (zwei Türme in der Nähe der oberen linken Ecke, oben) nach Da Novalis, und von dort zu Abodiacum. Danach scheint es eine Umleitung irgendwo über der Via Raetia zu geben **, die später gebaut wurde und die durch Innsbruck und über den Brenner * verläuft. Volkmann geht davon aus, dass die Via Raetia zu der Zeit eine wichtigere Route an der Zeit war, so dass es sinnvoll war auf die Darstellung der alten Route zu verzichten. Hier sind die Rastplätze zwischen Augusta Vindelicum (Augsburg, Bayern) und Tridentum (Trento, Italien) zu sehen. Ich habe die Namen auf der Tabula Peutingeriana, bekannten römischen Namen (falls abweichend), und modernen Namen für diesen Ort gegenübergestellt.

Augusta vindelicum — Augsburg
Da novalis — possibly Obermeiting
Avodiaco — Abodiacum— Epfach
Coveliacas — “Köchel”, at Murnauer Moos***.
Tartena — Parthanum  — Partenkirchen
Scarbia  —  Klais, where Scharnitz Abbey once stood. (The story of the name Klais is connected to the Via Raetia.)
“Vetonina” —  Veldidena — Innsbruck – Wilten
Matreio —  Matreium —  Matrei am Brenner
Vipiteno  —  Vipiteno (Sterzing)
Sublavione  — Chiusa (Klaussen)
Pentedrusi  — Pons Drusi — Bolzano (Bozen)
Tredente —  Tridentum  — Trento (Trient)

*An east-west Roman road from Salzburg to Kempten connected Epfach, on the Via Claudia, with Raisting, south of the Ammersee and on the Via Raetia.  Possibly one simply detoured there. // Eine Ost-West-Römerstraße von Salzburg nach Kempten verband Epfach, an der Via Claudia, mit Raisting, südlich des Ammersees und an der Via Raetia gelegen. Möglicherweise wurde sie hier einfach umgeleitet.

** The name Via Raetia is a later invention, the Roman name for this road is forgotten, if indeed it had ever had a name. // Der Name Via Raetia ist eine spätere Erfindung, der römische Name für diese Straße ist vergessen, wenn es denn jemals einen Namen hatte.

***Other researchers point to the Echelsbacher Bridge near Bad Bayersoien, but this doesn’t make sense to me. // Anderer Forscher weisen auf die Echelsbacher brücke bei Bad Bayersoien hin; mir leuchtet das aber nicht ein.

Cambodunum – Kempten

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An artist’s rendition of the stone layers of an inside wall in the kleine Therme.

 

Kempten, in the Allgäu region, is one of Germany’s oldest cities. Earliest mention appears to be by the ancient Greek geographer Strabo, who called it Kambodunon and wrote that it was a town of the Celtic Estiones. When the Romans  invaded in 15 BCE, they built a classical Roman city on the plateau overlooking the current modern town. Cambodunum‘s buildings were initially made of wood, and after a fire destroyed the town in 69 CE, it was rebuilt in stone, and it is these remains which the visitor sees at the Cambodunum Archaeology Park (g).

 

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Above, the remains of the Temple District (top). The population of Cambodunum consisted not only of Romans but of assimilated (“romanized”) locals and immigrants, and each group had their own set of gods to worship. In Cambodunum, the temples of local gods and Roman gods existed side by side. The low stone walls define the excavated walls and foundations, as for example the Forum in what is now a large lawn.

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The kleine Therme (“small bathhouse” — I was unable to figure out it there was a large one as well, possibly reburied for conservation purposes or lost to centuries of urban construction) is on display inside a protective building. It was built for the town’s chief magistrate, his staff and guests, and featured hot and cold baths, a steam room, and latrines. When Rome abandoned its transmontane colonies and eventually went down itself with the invading hordes, it unfortunately took its knowledge of its infrastructure maintenance with it. In a 2007 interview for Salon, historian Katherine Ashenburg explains why the following centuries of life in Europe were filthy ones.

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Random piles of building stones within the park. Not everything can by reconstructed.

Singer Lore: Help For Swollen Vocal Cords

Inching my way out of this bad cold flu bronchitis, I turned to facebook to ask my professional singer friends for their personal last-ditch remedies when a gig is getting near and the vocal folds are still swollen (and therefor not, as we say in singing circles, “approximating”). I don’t mean full-out injury, but rather that recovery time when you’re almost, but not quite, there. This question generated a long and entertaining discussion about the pros and cons of certain medications and methods, which I have boiled down to its essence here for you:

Bromelain, a clear winner with the singers in Germany. It’s made from pineapples, is available without a prescription and reduces swelling. My Austrian pharmacy sold me a less-powerful version of it called Wobenzym, but said that they could order Bromelain.

Ibuprofen. There was a bit of an debate about this. Ibubrofen is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) which works by thinning the blood, like aspirin, but which might lead to real damage if your cords are so raw that the capillaries are near the surface. Some people say “absolutely no ibuprofen”, others say it’s the only option short of steroids, which come with their own set of risk factors.

Some prescription-only suggestions: Serrapeptase (in Germany called Aniflazym),  dexibuprofen, and the once-in-a-decade last-ditch option of cortisone in the form of prednisone and its cousin prednisolone (I guess if you really can’t cancel without dire consequences. But you’ll be out of commission for a while afterward so it really is not often recommended.)

Non-prescription medications and home remedies: Inhaling sage tea with salt, steam, NO steam but cold mist, eating raw garlic, hot grape juice, Eibischwurzeltee (marsh mallow root tea) applied cold (onto the skin?), warm Dr. Pepper, GeloRevoice, diclofenac, lymphdiaral (homeopathic drops),  fresh ginger in water with honey (ginger is supposed to shrink swelling), guafenisin (in America it’s in Vicks 44, not available in Austria), warmed honey, chicken soup, and cancelling the gig.

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Here is a professional singer who recommends rubbing Preparation H (hemorrhoid cream!) directly on your Adam’s apple , which sounds weird. But who am I to say.

Here’s what I normally do, beyond what my doctor prescribes me:

Ibuprofen, Bromelain, inhaling the steam from elderflower (Hollunder) tea (the kind from the pharmacy, not the supermarket), gargling with salt water, nasal irrigation with salt water (boil the water first and let it cool to a usable temperature! This procedure led to a few deaths in the U.S. from people unwittingly using contaminated water from the tap. Better safe than sorry!)

My prescription-only throat spray is Locabiosol, which I get when I am see-the-doctor sick (usually once a year at the most) and then use what remains of it during the rest of year for those borderline cases. A good over-the-counter substitute is Klosterfrau Islandisch Moos throat spray, a little bottle of which I keep at the theater all through the season. I am also a big fan of Golia lozenges, especially the little ones, which are small enough and soft enough for me to keep pressed onto a back molar while I am onstage. I was told that they were also Pavarotti’s favorite throat lozenges. I believe they are only available in Italy (I have generous friends who get bags of them for me when they go to Milan.)

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If you’ve come here in search of a remedy for your own swollen cords, then best of luck and get well soon!

What are your methods?

It’s All Related

And here we tie the two previous posts together with a 15th-century ribbon:
Und hier fügen wir die beiden vorherigen Beiträge mit einem Band aus dem 15. Jahrhundert zusammen:

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Albrecht Dürer, Brenner Road in the Eisack Valley, 1495. Made, as with the Innsbruck paintings, from a journey to Italy. Note the wheel tracks in the road. This was the “Brenner Autobahn” during the Middle Ages and probably long before then as well.

Albrecht Dürer, Brennerstraße im Eisacktal, 1495. Gemacht, wie auch die Innsbruck Gemälde, auf einer Reise nach Italien. Beachten Sie die Spurrillen auf der Straße. Dies war der “Brenner Autobahn” im Mittelalter und wahrscheinlich auch lange davor.

Image found here