Friday, March 21, 2014


Gordan, Ingordin, and Ingordan

I was reading Carmina Burana 54, a curious sort of poetical exorcism, in Helen Waddell, Medieval Latin Lyrics (New York: Henry Holt and Company, [1929]), pp. 198-201, and I became curious about some names of demons mentioned therein: "Gordan, Ingordin et Ingordan."

Gordin and Ingordin occur as names of elves in a 12th-13th century German manuscript (Codex Upsaliensis C 222, fol. 97v). See Margarete Andersson-Schmitt and Monica Hedlund, Mittelalterliche Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Uppsala: Katalog über die C-Sammlung, Bd. 3: C 201-300 (Stockholm: Almqvist u. Wiksell International, 1990 = Acta Bibliothecae R. Universitatis Upsaliensis 26.3), p. 86, and Rudolf Simek, "Elves and Exorcism. Runic and Other Lead Amulets in Medieval Popular Religion," in Daniel Anlezark, ed., Myths, Legends and Heroes: Essays on Old Norse and Old English Literature in Honour of John McKinnell (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), pp. 25-52 (at 31-33).

The words "khorda inkhorda khordai" appear on a lead amulet (dated between 1075 and 1300) found in the graveyard of St. Canute's Cathedral in Odense, Denmark. See Simek (op. cit.), p. 33, and Mindy MacLeod and Bernard Mees, Runic Amulets and Magic Objects (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2006), p. 135.

The words "gordin kordan inkorþar" appear on a 13th century wooden amulet from Bergen, Norway. See MacLeod and Mees (op. cit.), p. 136, and James E. Knirk, "Runic Inscriptions containing Latin in Norway," in Klaus Düwel, ed., Runeninschriften als Quellen interdisziplinärer Forschung (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1998), pp. 476-507 (at 483, 502). Macleod and Mees speculate that the words are related to chorda (string of a musical instrument), while Knirk suggests a connection with cor (heart).

The words "[g]ordan gordin ingor[dar/þar?]" appear on a folded lead sheet from Lurekalven, Norway. See MacLeod and Mees (op. cit.), pp. 136-137, and Knirk (op. cit.), pp. 482-483, 505.

Several of these scholars mention Carmina Burana 54, so this post contains nothing new.

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