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Stratum plus. 2005-2009. №5

T. N. Jackson (Moscow, Russia)

Vegar in the Weltbild of Medieval Scandinavians

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Pages: 524-528

The article is dedicated to the mental map of medieval Scandinavians as reflected in the ethnogeographic nomenclature of the Old Norse texts. The author shows the development of place names ending in -vegr, and connects their origin with the four-partial subdivision of the world. According to the sources, the original pattern for the place names in question was the “cardinal direction + vegir / vegar (Pl. from vegr “way, rout”)”: Austrvegir, Vestrvegir, Suрrvegar, Norрrvegar. Eventually the root veg- in these composite names changed its semantics, and by the time of their written fixation they came to mean not the routs, but the lands along those routs. Thus, Austrvegr finally turned into a designations of lands beyond the Baltic, while Nуregr (< *Norрvegr) became a name of a country, today’s Norway. Thus, vegar “routs” are viewed here as means of space development, but they are considered not to coincide with the assimilated territories.

Keywords: Vegar in the Weltbild, Medieval Scandinavians, Nуregr, Austrvegr


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