The Northern Way

Commentary To the Germanic Laws and Medieval Documents

Chapter IX


The earliest documents of the Middle Ages frequently use ingenium, in connection with malum, inicum, in the sense of "deception." (1) Ingenium is generally abbreviated to genium, in Italian documents also to ienio, zenio, senio, and the phrase "per quovis genio substraere" or one like it is employed to express that which in Roman law is known as malus dolus. (2) In France, especially in the south, ingenium is, since the tenth century, recorded as engan, enganno, (3) but in Italy ingannatio is given as early as 843. (4)

Ingenium, genium is extremely common in another formula, "quovis genio conquirere," to acquire in anyway not definitely established by ancient law, i.e., in war, by natural increase, etc. (5) In Spain and Portugal ganare is used where elsewhere this formula is written, (6) hence ganatum refers to everything not owned alodially, especially to cattle. (7) This ganare is obviously derived from genium, but quo genio, quo zenio, quovis genio, etc., have also left behind them a large variety of forms, which are recorded from the tenth century on. We find in Venice guadagno, (8) in Aragonguataniagare, guadanare, (9) in Provence gadaignare, guadanare, gazain. (10) Before discussing the fate of this group in the European languages, I shall ascertain the causes that led to the popularity of ingenium and genius in the formulae.

At the end of the second century and later igenium has the meaning of "machination, shrewdness, trickery;" (11) and in the sixth century Gregory already knew the technical term quolibet ingenio, (12) even as it was used in a Merovingian document of the year 587 (13) and regularly in the Visigothic laws. (14) By the side of ingenium Gregory the Great used genius in the sense of "good intention," (15) while Cassiodorus employed it earlier for "honor, truth, splendor" and geniatus for "honorable, pleasant, joyous," (16) and Ennodius likewise reveled in the use of genius in the same sense, employing it more than one hundred times in his writings. It follows from this that previous to the sixth century ingenium meant "evil intention," while genius was identical with "good intention," hence derivations from the first generally have a connotation of badness, while words derived from genius, like Span. Port. Cat. Ital. gana "desire, intention," Span. ganar "to earn" are free from this connotation. In order to determine the cause for the vowel change from gen- to gan- I have to discuss the root QVR "fire," which is found in all the Eurasiatic languages, but only so much of it in the sub-form QVN as concerns the matter in hand.

The semantic primary meaning "fire, shine" has been preserved in all languages. We get Chinese kwang "light, splendor, clear, honor, éclat, naked, smooth." In Sumerian we have kun "illumination, break of day, shine," by the side of the QVR forms gibil, gibir "fire, burn," par "shine, white," bir "shine, light, éclat," bil "fire, burn." In the Dravidian languages some have bel-, others ven- for "to shine." Similarly we have Egyptian uben, uban, wan, Coptic uain, uein "to shine," Sanskrit vani "Agni, God of fire," and, as in Sumerian kibir, gibil means "wood for making fire by friction," so here vana means "wood, forest, bush, forest home," and from van- "to burn" one proceeds to van- "to wish, obtain, surpass, possess," in Old Iranian van- "tree, to wish, obtain, surpass." In the Slavic languages gor- "to burn" and bêl- "white" represent the QVR forms, while in Celtic vind-, Welsh gwyn, Cornish guyn, Breton gwenn, Old Irish find "white" the QVN forms are represented, even as Gothic wens "hope," ONorse ván "expectation, hope," AS wén "expectation, hope, suspicion," OHG. wan "expectation, hope, illusion," wunnia "joy, lust," although removed from the original meaning "to burn," seem to belong here. Lat. venus, veneror, venustus show how the semasiological change may have taken place, while venor "to hunt," no doubt, is a development of "to desire strongly, conquer, obtain." The corresponding group in Greek is ganaw "to shine, glitter," ganoj "splendor, beauty," ganumai "to rejoice." The gloss for ganoj in Hesychius is most instructive. He writes ganoj paradeisoj, carma, fwj, augh, leukothj, lamphdwn, hdonh, thus combining all the meanings which have resulted from original "to shine," and the meaning paradeisoj at once shows that Semitic gan "garden" is not to be separated from this group.

Whatever the origin of genius may have been, it has in the fifth and sixth centuries received all the connotations of Greek ganoj, and, since the earliest gan- forms in the Romance languages occur in the south of France and in Spain, one is led to the conclusion that the Greek language, which was still spoken there in the sixth century, had with its popular ganoj affected the Latin genius, creating the popular gano. This gano is preserved in Basque gano "agreeable, secret, smartness in work," ganoraz "elegant, smart," ganu "smartness, inclination." The LLat. ganire, gannire, gannare "to make fun" are certainly not to be separated from Greek ganumi "to rejoice" and may have aided in the change of ingenium to ingannum.

In the Provence quovis genio, quovis zenio, or a similar form, has produced guazanh, which has spread over all Europe in the sense of "gain, garner, autumn." Everything that is not inherited but is obtained by personal labor, grace of nature, fortune of war was in the OProvençal gazanh, gassan, gazan "gain, success, labor," gazanha "gain, interest," especially "profit from the cultivated field, crops," hence guasandor, gazanhador, gaanador, gaaniador "plowman, farmer," guasanhar, gazanhar, gadanhar, cazanhar, gasanhar, gaanhar "cultivate the ground, attend to farming, maintain, earn a living," gazanhatge "tillable land." (17) In the eleventh century one hears frequently of the cultivation of such lands as remained heretofore unworked, terra plana, (18) which then becomes known as terra arabilis, (19) but especially as terra ganabilis. (20) Such cultivable lands, reclaimed from the pastures, or, rather, the returns from such lands, guagneria, garneria, were bequeathed or donated in the same way as other lands. (21) It is clear from the quotations that the forms gaaign-, gaign-, etc., in the north are of later origin and evolved from the original Provençal gazanh. Ingenium has in the north produced engigne, enjinne, engin "habilité, adresse, ruse, fraude," malum ingenium has led to OFr. malengien and, as is proved by Engl. malinger, to French malingre "sickly." From the south have proceeded OFr. engan, enjan, engaing "ruse, tromperie, fourberie, peine, travail," enganay "adresse, habilité, ruse," enganner, enguenner, enjanner "tromper." Even so the Prov. gazanh has spread in the north as gahaigne, gaaigne "grain, profit, butin, terre labourable, récolte, fruit, froment qu' on sème en automne," and the Coutumier de Normandie has preserved the original meaning of gagnable "les terres non cultivees enciennement nommes gagnables, sauvages ou sauvees de la mer." (22)

It is interesting to observe the development of the group in Breton. The insular Celtic has no common expression for "profit, work, produce." Irish has gean "pleasure" (Gaelic "mood"), which goes back directly to Lat. genius, and gen "laughter," gno "scorn," which are derived from Lat. gannire, Gr. ganoj, and possibly gangaid "deception" may be related to genius, ingenium, but it knows nothing of the special evolution in France. Welsh gen "understanding, soul" is similarly from the Latin, and gwyn "bliss, excitement" is not to be separated from Celtic gwyn, gwen "white, pleasant, blissful," but gweini "to serve," Cornish "goon, gun, gwon, gwen "work, cultivation, planting," gones, gonys "cultivate, work," gunithiat "laborer," gwon, gon "field, common meadow" cannot be separated from MBreton gounit "gain, to earn." These are certainly not to be separated from French gaain, etc., even as Breton gwenaat, ijinaat "rendre ou devenir fin, ruse, adroit," gwended, gwender "flexibilité, souplesse, adresse, industrie, intrigue, ruse," ganaz "fourbe, traître, perfide, double" are derived from ingenium, genium.

If we now turn to the Germanic languages, we find that by the side of the win- group, which is directly related with that of all the other Indo-European languages, there has grown up another win- group, not represented in Gothic, but found in the other related languages, with the semantic meaning "gain, profit, fruit of labor, strife." It is found in OHG. cawin, AS. gewin, MLG. gewin, for which only the AS. has developed a verb winnan "to labor, toil, strive, win, get, attain." It is not likely that this has evolved from the original win- group, but it must be assumed, in the light of the universal evolution in the West from genius, that in German territory genius has given gwin-, win-. The very absence of this from the Gothic and the comparatively late appearance of ganar in Spanish and French show that the same cause has operated in the Germanic and the Romance languages. But the Prov. guazanh, gasanh, which goes back to quovis genio, has in the Germanic languages been considered as a derivative in ga-, producing Gothic asans "time of harvest, harvest field," asneis "day laborer, hireling," OLG. asna "tax, revenue," AS. esne "servant, youth," MLG. asnen, hasnen "wage, reward," menasle, manasle, meinasme "earnest money," OHG. asni, asnari "hireling," ONorse anna, önna "to work, provide a living," and, as French garneria stands by the side of Prov. gasanh, so we also find the rotacised forms OHG. arnôn, MHG. arnen, AS. earnian, Engl. earn, MLG. ernen, MD. arnen, arenen, aernen "earn," MHG. erne "harvest." Although these simpler forms are frequently recorded, yet OHG. gawinnôn, gaarnôn, AS. geearnian are far more popular and are the forms from which the shorter words have developed. Gothic asans has produced OBulg. yesen', Prussian assanis "autumn," and even the form gen- seems to be retained in OBulg. zen- "to harvest."


1. "Nisi, malo ordine per forcia et inico ingenium ipsi agentis predicto Drogone, de potestate sua abstraxissent" (697), J. Tardif, Monuments historiques, Paris 1866, p. 31; "volumus etiam ....vt nulla praepotens persona predictam Ecclesiam proprietario iure per nullum ingenium, per nullam censuram, aut beneficiali ordine, et praeceptali auctoritate nitatur inuadere" (724), Troya, op. cit., vol. III, p. 380; "nec per cartulam concambiationis neque per convenientiam libelli neque per ullum inienium" (724), ibid., p. 384; "si quis per malum ingenium in curtem alterius miserit aliquid.....quod furatum est," Lex salica XXXVI. 4; "et si per odium aut malo ingenio, nisi per iustitiam faciendam, hominem diffecerit" (779), MGH., Capitularia, vol. I, p. 49; "ut iuntitias ecclesiarum, viduarum, orfanorum et reliquorum omnium sine ullo malo ingenio....faciatis; nam si tale aliquod ingenium inter vos factum fuerit" (806), Fontes rerum bernensium, Bern 1833, vol. I, p. 220 f.; "in omnibus ero, absque fraude et malo ingenio et absque ullo dolositate seu deceptione," Rozière, Recueil gènèral des formules dans l'empire des Francs du V(e) au X(e) siècle, Paris 1859, vol. I, p. 7. Back
2. "Nec possit ei pater per quolevit genium aliquid dare aut hereditatem relinquere" (gloss. epored. genio conludio) (731), Edictum Luitprandi Regis, Ann. XIX. 3; "quocumque genio aliquid abstractum" (862), Cod. Langob., col. 369; "per covis zenium subtraere" (919), HPM., Chartae, vol. I, col. 123; "per couis ienium infrangere" (973), ibid., col. 242; "per couis ienium subtrahere" (1035), ibid., col. 509; "qualis genium" (801), Codex cavensis, vol. I, p. 5; "quodlibet genium" (803), ibid., p. 6; "per quodvis genium" (858), HPM., Chartae, vol. I, col. 337, Cod. Langob., cols. 244, 274, 346, 448, 1617, etc.; "per cotvis sienium" (1045), Codice diplomatico padovano dal secolo sesto a tutto l'undecimo, p. 180; "per covix genium" (1008), ibid., pp. 135, 249, 278, 297. Back
3. "De ista hora in antea.....non enganera sua persona, suo domno, suo per suo ingenio ni per sua conscientia suo sciente" (985), Devic and Vaissete, op. cit., cols. 301, 312 f.; "neque per nostrum ingenium.....sine nullo illorum enganno et sine lucro" (1020), ibid., col. 373; "et pleu Bernardus jamdictus per suam fidem et per suum dictum plivid, ut non ingannat Rainardum jamdictum de isto placito" (1056), ibid., col. 489 and similarly cols. 938, 942, 949, 968, 982; "erimus adjutorio domino Deo, et Sancto Petro sine enganno" (1028), Gallia christiana, vol. I, p. 49; "sine inganno" (1083), Teulet, Layettes du Tresor des chartes, vol. I, p. 29; "sine enganno," ibid., pp. 82, 84, 90, 107, 124, etc., C. Douais, Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Saint-Sernin de Toulouse, Paris 1887 pp. 74, 91, 497, etc., Guèrard, Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Saint-Victor de Marseille, Paris 1857, vol. I, p. 172; "sine inganno" (1147), España sagrada vol. XXXV, p. 416. Back
4. "Lunfrit de cives Placentia, qui cum ipso infantulum fuisset et super rebus eius ambulasset et extimasset, ne ad ipsum infantulum aliqua ingannatio facta non paruit eorum, quod nulla ingannatio ei facta non erat," J. Ficker, Forschungen zur Reichs- und Rechtsgeschichte Italiens, Innsbruck 1874, vol. IV, p. 18. Back
5. "Quoque genio alienatum aut traditum" (716), Troya, op. cit., vol. II, p. 254; "omnem conquistionem, quod genitori tuo, quas de ribus Sancto Ecclesie per Anticessoris meis cumquiset per qualibet tuo, et possidet usque in diebus vite sue, qui in hance domo Sancte Ecclesie ante nos fuerunt: tam per nos, et jamdixi, per qualivet ingenio quem cumquirere poteut de ribus Sancte Ecclesie" (737), ibid., vol. III, p. 635; "quicquid.....aut nobis traditum vel commutatum fuit, vel in antea ibidem comparatum aut de quolibet ingenio, legibus ad nos pervenit," Pardessus, op. cit., vol. II, p. 398; "per qualicumque genio conquirere," ibid., col. 60; "quod mihi usquemodo conquisistes aut in antea conquerere potueritis per quodlibet ingenium" (766), ibid., col. 61; "quicquid per ipsam cartulam concessisti, aut postea quoque ingenio adquisisti" (784), ibid., col. 112; "que ipsa sibi quocumque ingenio juste et legaliter undecumque vel a quibuscumque acquisivit, aut in antea acquirere potuerit" (852), ibid., col. 524; "dono cultilem seu et masseritias quantascumque in iamdicto uico ciste mihi per cartulam et comparantionem aut per quale vis ingenium ibidem adquisiuero" (848), HPM., Chartae, vol. I, col. 46; "quantumcumque ibi visi sumus abere, aut porcio nostra ibi obvenit aut obvenire debet, tam de paterno quam de materno, uel de quacumque libet ingenio legitime ordine ad nos obvenire debet usque in exquisitum" (888), Bruel, Recueil de Cluny, vol. I, p. 38 f.; "quicquid de genitore meo, vel genitrice mea, vel de calecumque ingenio mihi atvenit" (893), ibid., p. 60; "tan de alaudo, tan de conquisto, aut de qualecumque ingenio ad nos advenire potuerit" (904), ibid., p. 95, and often. Back
6. "Quicquid potui ganare vel applicare atque apprendere" (747), España sagrada, vol. XL, p. 357; "nostras hereditates quantas habuerimus et ganare potuerimus usque ad obitum nostrum" (874), PMH., Dipl. et char., vol. I, p. 5; "et partibi cum ipsos filios meos iam superius nominatos meo ganato et meas uillas et mea criazon" (875), ibid., p. 8; "et omnem mea rem quanta ego uisa sum auere quantaque aueo de auolenga et de parentela quam etiam et de mea ganatura" (908), ibid., p. 11; "sive de parentum meorum, vel comodo etiam de ganantia" (972), ibid., p. 65 f.; "et habuimus illa hereditate de nostra ganancia quam comparauimus" (1002), ibid., p. 114; "damus ipsas hereditates.....siue et alias que de hodie in die ganare et augmentare potuerimus in qualibet ganantia" (1039), ibid., p. 187 and often; "et alium quodcumque ganare potuerimus, ut traditum pro remedio animarum nostrarum" (940), Berganza, Antigüedades de España, vol. II, p. 381; "ortos, domos, armenta, vestimenta, tam mobile quam et immobile, quod ganavimus, vel ganare potuerimus in hoc seculo" (947), ibid., pp. 391, 395; "cum omnibus prestationibus suis, quantum nos ibidem ganavimus" (998), España sagrada, vol. XL., p. 407. Back
7. "Omni ganato, tam mobile, quam etiam immobile" (945), Berganza, op. cit., p. 389; "illo ganato de Caradigna pascendi" (972), ibid., p. 409; "impleverunt illud monasterium de omni ganato" (934), España sagrada, vol. XL, p. 400; "a paucis namque annis ganavi alfagara" (1029), ibid., vol. XXXVI, p. XXXIII; "adhuc etiam concedo, ut nullus sit ausus....proprium ganatum pignurare alicujus canonici, qui homines cum ganato vivo habuerit" (1105), ibid., vol. XXXVIII, p. 344; "pannos et alium ganatum" (1032), ibid., vol. XIX, p. 395. Back
8. "Nullus Venetus audeat ultra Pollam mancipia transportare, neque in terra Graecorum, neque nullis locis ea donare, excepto si acciderit, ut de sua captivitate se redimere debeat, aut pro tali causa unde guadagnum accrescat in patria" (960), S. Romanin, Storia documentata di Venezia, Venezia 1853, vol. I, p. 371. Back
9. "Cum quantum ibi abeo ganatu et adhuc potero guataniagare" (1025), E. Ibarra y Rodriguez, Coleccion de documentos para el estudio de la historia de Aragon, Zaragoza 1904, vol. I, p. 126; "et omnia quae hodie in antea poteritis adquirere vel guadanare in tota mea terra" (1069), Muñoz y Romero, op. cit., p. 248; "quod ubi habueritis hereditates in tota mea terra vel guadanare poteritis" (1075), ibid., p. 251. Back
10. "Dimitto ambobus filiis meis totum quod lucratus sum, hoc est quod guadanavi in castello de Buciagas" (1118), Baluze, vol. II, p. 488; "totum quantum de te ibi adquisitum et gadaignatum habemus" (1127), Devic and Vaissete, op. cit., vol. V, col. 941; "quod suus lignages gadanet per ben et per fe" (1141), ibid., col. 1049; "le sobredit deutor devo he convengo pagar he redire le cabal el gazain a so moniment" (1205), Tardif, Layettes, vol. V, p. 55. Back
11. "O nouum inreligiosae mentis ingenium," Salvianus, Ad ecclesiam III. 30 (Corp. scrip. eccl. vol. VIII, p. 278); "ubi valere non potuisti ingenio detestandae subtilatis tuae," Lucifer Calaritanus, De sancto Athanasio I. XXVI (ibid., vol. XIV, p. 111); "sed stipem ut tollant ingenia talia quaerunt," Commodianus, Instructionum I. XVII (ibid., vol. XV, p. 22); "cuius symboli iter custodientes omnes hereses doctrinas instituta uel dogmata, quae sibi altercationem non ingenia, sed studia fuerunt," Prisciallianus 45 (ibid., vol. XXIII, p. 37); "quod autem ex nouo ingeniis et calumniis repperitur," ibid., 56, (p. 44); "proclamant e uero episcopo ac dicente, quod saepius hic ingenia quaereret, qualiter eum ab episcopatu deiceret," Gregorius Turonensis, VI. 22 (MGH., Scrip. rer. merov., p. 262); "facto ingenio cum satellite allegatur," ibid., VIII. 26 (p. 340); "iurant partes per Dei omnipotentes nomen et inseparabilem Trinitatem vel divina omnia ac tremendum diem iudicii, se omnia quae superius scripta sunt absque ullo dolo malo vel fraudis ingenio inviolabiliter servaturus," ibid., IX. 20 p. 377); "callida machinamenta commeantium, ac simulatae obseruationis ingenia et fraudes" (381), Cod. Theod., VI. 29. 6. Back
12. "Nec hunc sub quolibet ingenio vel argumento cuipiam Judaeorum venundandi facultas sit" (596), Gregorii I Registri, VI. 29 (MGH., Epistolae, vol. I, p. 407); "ut eum stricte debeas commonere ne filios suos quolibet ingenio vel excusatione foris alicubi in coniugio sociare praesumat" (599), ibid., IX. 128 (vol. II, p. 128.). Back
13. "Neque a domna Brunichilde neque a filio suo Childeberto rege filiisque suis quolibet ingenio uel tempore repetantur," MGH., Capitularia, vol. I, p. 14. Back
14. "Si quecumque mulier siue principis opem aut quocumque ingenio seu cuiuslibet auxilio intenderit inter se et virum divortium fieri," III. 6. 2; "si .....quocumque tempore de eorum patrocinio quacumque subtilitate aut ingenio vel argumento fraudis vel leviter de eorum patrocinio se auferre voluerint," v. 7. 20. Back
15. "Honorem et genium ex humilitate vendicetis" (593), Gregorii I Registri, IV. 1 in MGH., Epistolae, vol. I, p. 233; "quatenus adeptae dignitatis meliori genio resistendi Donatistis possibilitas disponatur" (591), ibid., p. 92; "vigoris ecclesiastici genium congrua" (599), ibid., vol. II, p. 173, and often. Back
16. "Ad genium dignitatis tuae credimus pertinere," MGH., Cassiodori Variae, p. 214; "qui amplissimum genium pretiosae libertatis acceperat" (511), ibid., p. 175; "ex quibus habebunt genium mores, si parentes publicos minores contigerit inveniri" (535), ibid., p. 306; "regalem quin etiam mensam conviva geniatus ornavit" (510), ibid., p. 38, and often. Back
17. Spanish guadaña "sickle," i.e., "tool for cutting the crop," is no doubt, not to be separated from this group. Back
18. "Praeterea dono eis intra terram planam si invenitur, aut de silva ad complanandum tantum quantum exarare possit in elaborando par boum in anno, totidem etiam ad elaborandum vel complanadum pratum unde boves vivere possint" (1067), C. Ragut, Cartulaire de Saint. Vincent de Mâcon, p. 10. Back
19. "De terris arabilibus et planis, quia divise non erant, judicatum est ut si alii illas laborarent per laudationem et preceptum obedencialis vel ministri ejus.....illas haverent et redditus eorum ipsi inter se dividerent usquequo terre, per consensum utriusque partis, ad equalem divisionem pervenirent," ibid., p. 9. Back
20. "Terra cultibilis, que vulgariter waignale dicitur" (1200), Recueil belgique, Comté de Hainaut, vol. I, p. 4. In Ducange still more quotations may be found. Back
21. "Augmentavi etiam ipsum domum propriis rebus et reditibus, id est, omnia prata mea que in ipsa villa habebam, et totam guagneriam meam de villa ipsa" (1088), Cartulaire de Saint-Jean d' Angély, vol. I., p. 84; "dereliquit totam ipsius terrae gaharnariam (gagneriam)" (1091), ibid., vol. II, p. 135; "garneriam" (1092), ibid., p. 92. Back
22. In Ducange, sub gaaignable. [Back]

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