Toward a Lexicon of Common Figurative Units
9 PROVERBS AND PROVERBIAL UNITS OF MEDIEVAL AND REFORMATION TIMES AS SOURCES OF WIDESPREAD IDIOMS
9.1 Widespread Idioms and Proverbial Units of Medieval and Reformation Times: Introduction As has been set out in Chapter 5, a large number of idioms that are in general use in many present-day European languages have their roots in proverbial units that were already common in classical antiquity. The many editions of Erasmus of Rotterdam’s “Adagia”, the famous collection of explanatory Greek and Latin 1 proverbs and proverbial phrases and commentaries in Latin helped greatly to spread these expressions all over Europe. The first edition from 1500 included 818 Greek and Latin phrases. His work from 1536 entit- led “Adagiorum Chiliades” (“Thousands of Adages”) swelled to 4,251 mo- nographs on proverbs and proverbial sayings (Gibson 2010: 9). This chapter will again deal with widespread idioms that originate from old proverbs and proverbial phrases and were already in circulation in the past. This time, however, we will look at expressions that have predominant- ly been documented only since post-classical times, starting from the early Middle Ages through to the period of Reformation and Renaissance. These units most probably go back to oral folk traditions, and their true origins remain unknown. 2 The use of these idioms cannot be attributed to particular authors (as opposed to the classical idioms dealt with in Section 5.4). At a time when scholars of different European countries used Latin as their lingua franca, they were partly passed on in Medieval Latin, as translations of ver- nacular proverbial sayings. In other instances, they were already written...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.