|Aurochs male (left) and female (right) reconstruction|
At least till ca. 600 CE, aurochs still lived in what is now the Netherlands (source).
In his "Commentaries on the Gallic War" (chapter 6.28) of ca. 50 BCE, Julius Caesar wrote (translation W.A. MacDevitt 1915):
There is a third kind, consisting of those animals which are called uri. These are a little below the elephant in size, and of the appearance, colour, and shape of a bull. Their strength and speed are extraordinary; they spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied. These the Germans take with much pains in pits and kill them. The young men harden themselves with this exercise, and practice themselves in this kind of hunting, and those who have slain the greatest number of them, having produced the horns in public, to serve as evidence, receive great praise. But not even when taken very young can they be rendered familiar to men and tamed. The size, shape, and appearance of their horns differ much from the horns of our oxen. These they anxiously seek after, and bind at the tips with silver, and use as cups at their most sumptuous entertainments.
|Adel with drinking horn (in Winsemius 1622)|
The modern English 'buffalo' has a different, more specific meaning than the old Dutch/German word, which will have referred to (wild?) bovines in general: aurochs or wisents (European bison)?
Below the most relevant fragments concerning both domesticated and wild bovines are listed. Particularly, nrs. 9 and 11 are interesting in relation to Caesar's report about the 'uri'.
words and fragment numbers (modern cognates, see below)
|Stier van het Noordhollandse|
veeslag; Stier van het Friese
veeslag (kleigronden); Groningse
witkopkoe (Hunsegoër slag)
Winkler Prins 1910
BUFLE (aurochs or bison: sing. and plur.) - 10,12
BUHL (bull) - 8
FJA (cattle) - 2,4,5,7
KV, KY (cow, cows) - 1,13,15,16
KVIK* (animals, cattle) - 3
(*there are 11 other fragments where KWIK means animals in general, and 1 where it means quick)
JOK.OXE (yoke-ox) - 9
OXA (oxes) - 14
SKET* (neat, cattle) - 6
(*SKÀT is used several times for treasure, riches)
fragments in the Oera Linda-book, with provisional translations
1 [003/02] Adela’s Advice
VRLOVANDE.RA KY MITH GOLDEN HORNA
and promised them mountains of gold [lit.: ‘cows with golden horns’ (expression)]
2 [003/24] Adela’s Advice
THÀNK ÍNES. THÉR WAS HÍR WÉSEN EN HÀRDE LVNG.SÍAKTE AMONG.ETH FJA
ÀND THÀT.ER THÉR JETA ÀRG WDE.
SKOLDE J.ETH THÀN WEL WÁGJA
VMBE JVW HÉLENA FJA TO FARANDE AMONG HJARA SÍAKA FJA.
Imagine if our cattle had been plagued by a serious lung disease,
which was still raging badly there.
Would you then risk
mixing your healthy animals with their sick ones?
3 [013/03] Frya’s Tex
HWAND ALDULKERA GÀRS SKOLDE JVW DJAROSTA KVIK DÉJA.
for such grass would kill your most precious cattle.
4 [021/10] General Laws
IS THÉR ÀNMAN ALSA ÀRG THAT.ER SJVCHT.SIAK FJA
JEFTHA VRDÉREN WÉR VRSELLATH VR HÉL GOD.
If any man is so bad that he sells diseased cattle
or damaged goods as sound,
5 [052/15] Magyars and Finns
HJA BOGADON VP VSA TÁL ÀND SÉDUM. VP VS FJA ÀND VPPA VS ÍSERE WÉPNE.
They praised our language and customs, our cattle and iron weapons,
6 [054/19] Wodin and the Magus
SÁ SKILUN THA WILDA SKET.HÀRDAR KÉMON ÀND VS ALGÁDUR VRDVA.
the wild herdsmen [lit.: cattle herds] will come and kill us off completely.
7 [064/30] The War of Kelta and Minerva
IVIN AS AL VS FJA THÀT LÀSTEN STURVEN IS.
just like all our cattle that died lately.
8 [068/15] Kelta and the Gols
LIK EN BUHL BY THÉRE NÔSE OMME LÉID.
led about like a bull with a ring in his nose.
9 [086/17] Death of the Magus
MEN THENE SKIPER EN ÀFTE FRYA.S ÀND STERIK LIK EN JOK.OXE
but the sailor, a true Frya, strong as an ox,
10 [094/15] Death of Adela
EN JUNGE SAXMÀN BIRÉD EN WILDE BUFLE THÉRER SELVA FENSEN HÉDE ÀND TÀMAD.
A young Saxman rode a wild aurochs that he had caught and tamed.
11 [107/10] Apollania’s Burg
TOJENST THA DIK BY.T HUS THÉR FÁM STÉT THJU OWNE
AND ÀND MOL.MÁK THRVCH FJUWER BUFLA KRODEN.
At the dyke near the burgmaiden's home are the oven
and a treadmill for making flour, worked by four oxen.
12 [112/10] Apollania’s Journey
HO FÉLO BUFLE HÀST AL FÀNSEN ÀND HO FÉLO BÁRA
ÀND WOLVA HUDA HÀST AL VPPA THÉRE MÀRK BROCHT.
How many aurochs have you caught and how many bear
and wolf skins have you brought to the market?
13 [117/14] Frethorik: Fryasland Swamped
FON.A BOPPA LÁNDUM KÁPADE MÀN KY ÀND SKÉP
Cows and sheep were purchased in the upper lands
14 [134/27] Hellenia: Princes and Priests
LIK OXA WRDON HJA VNDER ET JUK BROCHT.
Like oxen they were brought under the yoke.
15 [160/26] Gosa: Purity of Language
THÉRTHRVCH MÉI THAT ÉNE FOLK THÀT ÔRE FOLK ÉVIN MIN FORSTÁN
AS THJU KV THENE HVND ÀND THI WOLF THÀT SKÉP.
so that one folk can understand another folk just as little
as the cow the dog, or the wolf the sheep.
16 [166/20] Liudgeart: Pangab Report
THA GRÁTESTE KENNATH EN ÉLE KV VRSLYNNA.
The largest can swallow a whole cow,
~ ~ ~
Some modern cognates
buffalo - English
buffel - Dutch
Büffel - German
bøffel - Danish
bœuf - French
bue - Italian
buey - Spanish
boi - Portuguese, Catalan
bòie - Corsican
bull - English
Bulle - German
bulle - French
bul - Dutch, Afrikaans
bulla - Swedish
bolle - Frisian
bolla - Italian
bullis - Latvian
ox - English
os - Dutch, Afrikaans
Ochse - German
oxe - Swedish
okse - Norse, Danish, Frisian
uxa - Icelandic
och - Welsh
Vieh - German
vee - Dutch
fee - Frisian
cow - English
Kuh - German
koe - Dutch
koei - Afrikaans
ko - Danish, Swedish, Frisian
ku - Norse
kýr - Icelandic