The Wendish Research Exchange

Malinkowa, Trudla: On Uncertainty Concerning the Oldest Sorbian Inscriptions

mersiowsky - 10-6-2016 at 09:45 PM

Lětopis Abstract 2015 2: Malinkowa, Trudla: On Uncertainty Concerning the Oldest Sorbian Inscriptions

Assumptions that there might be Sorbian inscriptions from the late Middle Ages or the time of the Reformation have proved to be incorrect. The first mentions of Sorbian inscriptions are found in the second half of the 17th Century in contexts linked to both Wendish churches in Bautzen, in German at the Lutheran Church of St. Michael (1666) and in Latin at the Catholic Parish Church of Our Dear Lady (1669, 1691, 1694). A further Latin inscription with a Sorbian connection originated a century later from the Wendish Church in Muskau (1781).

Inscriptions in the Sorbian language can be identified from the first half of the 18th Century, firstly in private contexts in Gda (1735), then on the tombs of an inhabitant of Seidau near Bautzen (1775), as well as of Lutheran pastors in Gauig (1780) and Malschwitz (1785, 1798) and of a Catholic priest in Radibor (1794). The first Sorbian and bilingual inscriptions on public monuments originate from the end of the 18th Century. These include the steles of Auritz (circa 1790), and plaques with a Latin-Sorbian inscription in Malschwitz (1788), with a Sorbian inscription in Bautzen (1802) and a German-Sorbian inscription in Oling (1805). According to the latest research the earliest Sorbian inscriptions originate in the Upper Sorbian area in and around Bautzen, mostly in the Protestant region, in one case in the Catholic region. Almost all can be traced back to Lutheran pastors who had been influenced by Luthers principle of using the mother tongue. The inscriptions are an indicator of longer term developments in the Bautzen region, where the basis for the cultural awakening at the time of the so-called national renaissance in the middle of the 19th Century was laid.