20 January 2020

Slaves, slave people, Slavs

Relief from Smyrna (present-day Izmir, Turkey)
The English and Dutch online etymology databases both claim that the word 'slave' is derived from the Slavic people, for so many of them would have been subject to slavery. Their name is ...
"usually considered a derivation from slovo ("word"), originally denoting "people who speak (the same language)", i. e. people who understand each other" (wiki)
This does not make much sense to me. The cognates below would all have to be derived from medieval Latin, although the concept of slavery must be much older. Would all these languages not have had their own word for it? Or would they all have exchanged it for the Latin variety?

The German online etymology database is more precise and less certain about how the words are related.

The Oera Linda-book suggests that the word slave came first. SLÁVONA is a common word in the OLB and it simply means slaves. The people that the authors of the Oera Linda texts belonged to considered themselves free (FRY; FRYA was not only the name of their primal Mother, it also means the free); this was their highest value, the most sacred part of their identity. They saw people who did not value their own freedom, who needed masters to be ruled over, as slaves.

Some modern cognates (sing./ plur.; masculine form only):
slave, slaves - English
slaaf, slaven - Dutch, Frisian
slaaf, slawe - Afriakaans
slave, slaver - Danish, Norse
slav, slavar - Swedish
sclav, sclavi - Romanian
skllav, skllevër - Albanian
Sklave, Sklaven - German
schiavo, schiavi - Italian
esclave, esclaves - French
esclavo, esclavos - Spanish
esklabo (sing. and plur.?) - Basque
σκλάβος, σκλάβοι - Greek 
sclábhaí, sclábhaithe - Irish
asclau, esclaus - Catalan 
escravo, escravos - Portuguese

Varieties used in OLB: (fragment nrs.)
noun - plural (slaves)
SLÁVONA - 4, 9, 11-16, 20, 24-25, 27, 29-30, 32-35
. SKIN.SLÁVONA (apparent slaves) - 2
. SLÁVONA.BANDA/ -BENDA (slaves chains) - 7, 31
. SLÁVONA FOLK(A(R)) (slave people/ folk) - 10, 21, 26, 28, 36
. SLÁVONA KÉNINGGAR (slave kings) - 17
SLÁVONUM BLOD (slaves' blood) - 23
noun - singular (slave)
SLÁF - 3, 5
SLÁV - 22
(female slave:) SLÁFINE - 6
verb (to slave, i.e. work like a slave)

Fragments in OLB:

1 [002/07]
they ignored Frya's advice and used them as slaves

2 [003/08]
When these apparent slaves had learned our language

3 [008/05]
whoever looked at her became enslaved [lit. became slave]

4 [010/07]
make you into slaves

5 [011/16]
whom is neither the slave of another

6 [012/28]
must be paraded with collar and leash like a slave girl [lit. I must let them be walked on a slave girl's leash]

7 [033/20]
bonds of slavery [lit. slaves chains] over every Frya's neck

8 [034/01]
I would be like the lowest of your slaves

9 [035/12]
enslave [lit. make slaves of] them

10 [050/29]
slave folk step upon your clothing

11 [052/03]
they are slaves of the priests

12 [054/26]
we shall willingly be your slaves

13 [070/31]
that we had no slaves

14 [071/02]
How did you get your slaves then?

15 [071/08]
you must set your slaves free

16 [078/12]
the silver that their slaves gathered in the silver mines

17 [088/31]
rule like the slave kings

18 [100/19]
their minds always work like slaves [lit. their mind always 'slaves itself off']

19 [121/09]
We can never be slaves

20 [128/27]
as we had no slaves

21 [134/25]
the slave peoples knew nothing of freedom

22 [137/05]
who had been enslaved [lit. who served as slave]

23 [140/25]
They will be of royal blood, of priestly blood, of slaves' blood and of Frya's [or: free man's] blood

24 [142/22]
Of three concepts, our descendants will teach the meaning to their people and to slaves

25 [160/19]
All have become slaves

26 [160/31]
that all slave folks consider each other as strangers

27 [190/04]
that will make you into slaves

28 [190/07]
how this has affected the slave peoples

29 [197/32]
until there are no more Gols, Slaves or Tartars to be expelled from Frya's territory

30 [200/01]
The Lyda folk are there as slaves

31 [203/12]
they shall find slave chains placed around their necks

32 [207/10]
so in the end they had to use slaves

33 [207/21]
the strong were kept to serve as slaves [lit. the strong folk was kept, that had to serve them as slaves]

34 [208/02]
wherever slaves or goods arrived

35 [208/17]
than he had brought foul slaves in

36 [209/01]
Later they stole wives from the slave folks

19 January 2020

Translation improvements explained

from Sandbach title page (1876)
In a recent Youtube video, Robert Sepehr read two fragments of the Oera Linda-book in the version of Sandbach (1876). As I have pointed out before, this was a translation of the first Dutch translation (Ottema, 1872). It contains many misinterpretations and other flaws, which is why I felt compelled to make a new translation (proofread and edited by several native English writers).

From each of the two fragments Sepehr used, I will give three examples below of improvements I made and a detailed explanation.

Fragment 1 - examples underlined [translation/ title/ page]
Sandbach: How the Bad Time came (p.71) Ott: 7b. How Aldland Sank, ca. 2190 BCE (p. 049)
How the Bad Time came

During the whole summer the sun had been hid behind the clouds, as if unwilling to look upon the earth. There was perpetual calm, and the damp mist hung like a wet sail over the houses and the marshes. The air was heavy and oppressive, and in men's hearts was neither joy nor cheerfulness. In the midst of this stillness the earth began to tremble as if she was dying.

The mountains opened to vomit forth fire and flames. Some sank into the bosom of the earth, and in other places mountains rose out of the plain. Aldland, called by the seafaring people, Atland, disappeared, and the wild waves rose so high over hill and dale that everything was buried in the sea. Many people were swallowed up by the earth, and others who had escaped the fire perished in the water.

It was not only in Finda's land that the earth vomited fire, but also in Twiskland (Germany). Whole forests were burned one after the other, and when the wind blew from that quarter our land was covered with ashes. Rivers changed their course, and at their mouths new islands were formed of sand and drift.

During three years this continued, but at length it ceased, and forests became visible. Many countries were submerged, and in other places land rose above the sea, and the wood was destroyed through the half of Twiskland (Germany). Troops of Finda's people came and settled in the empty places. Our dispersed people were exterminated or made slaves. Then watchfulness was doubly impressed upon us, and time taught us that union is force.
How the bad times came:

During the whole summer, Sun had hidden behind clouds, as if she did not want to see Earth. Wind rested in his bags, causing smoke and steam to stand like pillars over houses and pools. This made the air become dreary and dull, and neither joy nor pleasure were in the hearts of people. In the midst of this stillness Earth began to tremble as if she was dying.

Mountains split open to spew out fire and flames, while others sank into her bowels; and where there had been plains before, mountains rose up. Aldland — or ‘Atland’ as the steersmen say — sank down and the foaming waves tread over mountain and valley in such a way that everything was submerged. Many people were buried alive, and many who had escaped the fire later perished in the water.

Not only in the lands of Finda did mountains spew fire, but also in the Twiskland. As a result, forests burned one after the other, and when Wind came from there, our lands were covered with ashes. Rivers changed their course, and at their mouths new islands were formed of sand and drowned animals.

Earth suffered like this for three years, but when she recovered, one could see her wounds. Many lands were submerged, others had risen out of the sea, and half of the Twiskland had been deforested. Bands of Finda's folk came roaming across the empty spaces, and our dispersed people were exterminated or became their allies. This forced us to be twice as vigilant and time taught us that unity is our strongest burg.

example 1a
translit. [049/14] Ottema (1872) Sandbach (1876) Ott (current)
WIND RESTON IN SINA BÛDAR De wind rustte in zijn holen, There was perpetual calm, Wind rested in his bags,
WERTHRVCH RÉK ÀND STOM [*] STAND waardoor rook en damp [*] stonden and the damp mist hung causing smoke and steam to stand
* LIK SÉLA BOPPA HUS ÀND POLON * als zeilen boven huis en poelen like a wet sail over the houses and the marshes like pillars over houses and pools

For the first section, Sandbach chose to interpret Ottema, rather than translate literally, for that would have been: The wind rested in his holes. 'Holes' was an interpretation by Ottema, for BÛDAR means 'bags'. The concept of wind-bags however, is known from Homer's Odyssey (see blogpost). The verb RESTON is in plural form, which does not match with the subject WIND and SINA (his). This is a common phenomenon in some of the Oera Linda texts. Winds rested in their bags would also be a plausible translation.

Similarly, in the second section Sandbach changed the meaning, as Ottema had whereby smoke and steam stood, which is a literal translation of the original. I paraphrased this into causing smoke and steam to stand. Note that the verb STAND is singular form, again not matching the plural subject (RÉK and STOM).

In the third section, Ottema mistook SÉLA for sails (zeilen), it may also have been a printing error. This should have been zuilen (pillars/ columns), which was corrected in Ottema's second edition of 1876. Sandbach changed like sails into like a wet sail. If there is no wind at all, smoke form chimneys and vapor/ steam from pools will go straigt up and this will look like pillars. It is thus clear that the sail metaphor totally misses the point.

example 1b
translit. [050/07] Ottema (1872) Sandbach (1876) Ott (current)
THRJU JÉR WAS JRTHA ALSA TO LYDANDE Drie jaren was de aarde zoo lijdende, During three years this continued, Earth suffered like this for three years,
MEN THÁ HJU BÉTER WÉRE maar toen zij herstelde, but at length it ceased, but when she recovered,
MACHT MÀN HJRA WNDA SJA. kon men hare wouden* zien. and forests became visible. one could see her wounds.
* printing error ('woods'), in second edition of 1876 corrected into 'wonden' (wounds)

Except for the printing error in section 3, my translation is identical to that of Ottema. Sandbach totally misses the personification of Earth and forests should have been wounds.

example 1c
translit. [050/15] Ottema (1872) Sandbach (1876) Ott (current)
THÁ WARTH WÁKANDOM VS DVBBELD BODEN. Toen werd waakzaamheid ons dubbel geboden, Then watchfulness was doubly impressed upon us, This forced us to be twice as vigilant
ÀND TID LÉRD.VS en de tijd leerde ons, and time taught us and time taught us
THÀT ÉNDRACHT VSA STÀRIKSTE BURCH IS. dat eendracht onze sterkste burgt is. that union is force. that unity is our strongest burg.

The first section was translated literally by Ottema, and Sandbach left this unchanged. I chose to paraphrase it. Sandbach's union is force misses a relevant metaphor. The burg or stronghold (Sandbach: citadel) is one of the main concepts of the OLB. The Frya people had several of them, but they were aware that without unity, they could easily be conquered and loose their sacred freedom (FRYDOM).

Fragment 2 - examples underlined [translation/ title/ page]

Sandbach: Hail to all true Frisians (p.183) Ott: 15b1. Hellenia: Princes and Priests p. 134
Hail to all true Frisians

In the olden times, the Slavonic race knew nothing of liberty. They were brought under the yoke like oxen. They were driven into the bowels of the earth to dig metals, and had to build houses of stone as dwelling-places for princes and priests.

Of all that they did nothing came to themselves, everything must serve to enrich and make more powerful the priests and the princes, and to satisfy them. Under this treatment they grew gray and old before their time, and died without any enjoyment; although the earth produces abundantly for the good of all her children. But our runaways and exiles came through Twiskland to their boundaries, and our sailors came to their harbours.

From them they heard of liberty, of justice, and laws, without which men cannot exist. This was all absorbed by the unhappy people like dew into an arid soil. When they fully understood this, the most courageous among them began to clank their chains, which grieved the princes.

The princes are proud and warlike; there is therefore some virtue in their hearts. They consulted together and bestowed some of their superfluity; but the cowardly hypocritical priests could not suffer this.

Among their false gods they had invented also wicked cruel monsters. Pestilence broke out in the country; and they said that the gods were angry with the domineering of the wicked. Then the boldest of the people were strangled in their chains. The earth drank their blood, and that blood produced corn and fruits that inspired with wisdom those who ate them.
All true Fryas, hail!

In early times, the slave peoples knew nothing of freedom. Like oxen they were brought under the yoke. Into Earth's bowels they were driven to dig metal, and into the hard rock of the mountains, they were compelled to chisel out plush residences as homes for princes and priests.

Of all their work, nothing was for themselves; all was to be for the princes and priests, to make them ever more rich and powerful, to their own detriment. Working in such a way, they turned gray and rigid in their early years and they died without ever experiencing joy in life, despite the fact that Earth offers an abundance to all her children. But our migrants came: our exiles passed through the Twisklands into their territories and our steersmen arrived in their harbors.

From them, they heard talk of the common freedoms, justice, and laws that no one should do without. All of this was absorbed by the wretched and troubled people like dew by arid fields. When they were saturated, the most daring began to clank their chains until it hurt the princes.

However, the princes were proud and heroic, so there was still some virtue in their hearts. They deliberated and shared some of their surplus wealth. But the cowardly and pseudo-pious priests could not stand that.

Among their invented gods, they had also created bitter-cruel idols. A pestilence broke out in the lands and they claimed that the gods were furious about the disobedience of the protesters. Then the most rebellious were strangled with their chains. Earth drank their blood. From that blood she grew fruits and grains and all who ate thereof became wise.

example 2a
translit. [134/25] Ottema (1872) Sandbach (1876) Ott (current)
IN ÉRA TIDA In oude tijden In the olden times, In early times,
NISTON THA SLÁVONA FOLKAR NÀWET wisten de Slavonische volken niet the Slavonic race knew nothing the slave peoples knew nothing
FON FRYHÉD. van vrijheid. of liberty. of freedom.

Section 1 and 3: Where possible I prefer trasnslations that are etymologically related: early for ÉRA and freedom for FRYDOM.

The most significant difference is that I translate SLÁVONA FOLKAR with slave peoples, not the Slavonic race. SLÁVONA is a common word in the OLB and it simply means slaves. The people that the authors of the Oera Linda texts belonged to considered themselves free (FRY; FRYA was not only the name of their primal Mother, it also means the free); this was their highest value, the most sacred part of their identity. They saw people who did not value their own freedom, who needed masters to be ruled over, as slaves. It is commonly assumed that the word slave is derived from the Slavs or Slavonic race, but the OLB suggests it is actually the other way around. The next blog post will discuss this in more detail.

example 2b
translit. [134/32] Ottema (1872) Sandbach (1876) Ott (current)
BI AL HWAT HJA DÉDON. THÉR NAS NAWET TOFARA HJARA SELVA Bij alles wat zij deden was niets voor hun zelven, Of all that they did nothing came to themselves, Of all their work, nothing was for themselves;
MEN ELLA MOSTE THJANJA VMBE THA FORSTA AND PRESTERA JETA RIKER ÀND WELDIGER TO MÁKJANE maar alles moest dienen, om de vorsten en priesteren nog rijker en geweldiger te maken, everything must serve to enrich and make more powerful the priests and the princes, all was to be for the princes and priests, to make them ever more rich and powerful,
HJARA SELVA TO SKADENE.* om zich te verzadigen. and to satisfy them. to their own detriment [or: harming themselves].
* SADENE in original was corrected, conform:
in order that he does not get entrenched, which would harm [or: to the detriment of] our freedom
While we are busy damaging each other
to the detriment of our own sea warriors

Section 1-2: Although all that they did is a more literal translation of AL HWAT HJA DÉDON, all their work is more accurate. Likewise in the second section I chose to leave out must serve and paraphrase, in order to improve clarity.

In section 3, Ottema read SADENE as satisfy and thus interpreted HJARA SELVA (themselves) to refer to the princes and priests. With the K added and themselves referring to the slave peoples, the whole fragment makes much more sense.

example 2c
translit. [135/32] Ottema (1872) Sandbach (1876) Ott (current)
NW SÉIDON HJA. toen zeiden zij and they said and they claimed
THA DROCHTNA SEND TORNICH dat de goden toornig waren that the gods were angry that the gods were furious
OVIRA OVERHÉRICHHÉD THÉRA BOSA. over de overheersching der boozen. with the domineering of the wicked. about the disobedience of the protesters.

In his fist edition (1872), Ottema had translated OVERHÉRICHHÉD as overheersching (domination), but in the second edition (1876) he had changed this into ongehoorzaaamheid (disobedience), which was indeed a better choice. Dutch bozen can have a negative meaning (wicked, evil), but it can also be neutral (angry). Since it is clear from the context that BOSA refers to the most courageous/ daring, I chose to translate as protesters.

16 January 2020

1970s newspaper articles

In 1978, G.J. van der Meij published Kanttekeningen bij het Oera Linda Boek in which he presented examples of what he thought could be evidence for Halbertsma's involvement in the creation of the OLB.
I dismiss theories about 19th century authorship, but as the 1970s were a period in which the OLB got much new attention (with reprints by publishing house Minerva), I add the main articles here. They can be interesting for other reasons. Note that the 'pages' of the OLB that were printed in the first two articles in both cases were not photo's of the original manuscript, but of a handmade copies (without mentioning this important fact). The articles were reorganised to better fit on a computerscreen.

The four articles below were all published in the Leeuwarder Courant (in Dutch).

1.  6-1-1970 "Is Joast Hiddes maker van Oera Linda Boek?" (in 4 parts)

2. 18-1-1971 "Grandioze practical joke blijft toch boeien"

3. 24-3-1972 "Opzet van het Oera Linda Boek is zeer intelligent"

4. 18-10-1974 "Prof. Böttcher zegt: het was Halbertsma"

06 January 2020

2004 Jensma about the blank sheets of paper

In addition to the two previous posts, here is the relevant part of "De Gemaskerde God" (p. 256-257) by G.Th. Jensma (2004), with my English translation below.

= = = =

 In de jaren twintig ontdekte [dr. M. de Jong] dat in de nalatenschap van Over de Linden een stapeltje onbeschreven papier, dat voor het grootste deel in hetzelfde formaat geknipt en ook precies zo met potlood gelinieerd was als het papier van het Oera Linda-boek.* Dit papier was (nog) niet bruin gemaakt. Deze bladzijden zijn echter – De Jong gaf dat ook toe – in potlood gepagineerd in het handschrift van Over de Linden en het blijkt, dat de paginanummers alle vallen in de hiaten in het Oera Lindaboek (waaruit immers de bladzijden 192 tot 195 en 168 tot 189 missen). De Jong nam ook hier ter verklaring zijn toevlucht tot een gekunstelde redenering, namelijk dat Over de Linden later deze hiaten in het handschrift had willen opvullen. Anders dan hij (die deze bladzijden beoordeelt als minder knap gemaakt dan de 'echte' pagina’s van het manuscript), concludeer ik eens te meer dat Over de Linden de man is geweest die het papier heeft klaargemaakt en die de tekst heeft afgeschreven. Bovendien wijst deze vondst er nog eens op dat er bij het maken van het tweede deel inderdaad haast is betracht, slordiger is gewerkt en bovendien dat men klaarblijkelijk niet alle geplande tekst ook daadwerkelijk heeft gebruikt. De hiaten lijken achteraf een bewuste poging om het handschrift zo echt mogelijk en dus lacuneus aan te bieden, en waarschijnlijk is van de nood van de haast wel de deugd van het hiaat gemaakt; de beste verklaring voor de hiaten, zo blijkt nu, is dat men in tijdnood raakte.

* De Jong, Geheim, 358-362; dit papier wordt bewaard bij het origineel van het manuscript; TPBL OLB C 1; vgl. ook Miedema, Codicologische beschrijving, 15.


 In the 1920s [dr. M. de Jong] learned that the legacy of Over de Linden contained some blank sheets of paper, most of which were cut in the same size as the paper of the Oera Linda-book [OLB] and likewise lined with pencil.* This paper had not (yet) been colored brown. However, as De Jong admitted, these pages are numbered with pencil in the handwriting of Over de Linden and these page numbers all fill the gaps (missing pages 192-195 and 168-189) of the OLB. To explain this, De Jong again resorted to far-fetched reasoning: Over de Linden would have wanted to fill these gaps in the manuscript later. Unlike him (he considers these pages to be less well made than the 'real' pages of the manuscript), I once again conclude that Over de Linden was the man who prepared the paper and copied the text. Moreover, this discovery indicates that the second part was indeed made in a more hurried, sloppy way, and that apparently not all of the prepared text was actually used. The gaps seem to be a deliberate, subsequent attempt to make the manuscript as realistic as possible by including lacunae. Out of the necessity of haste, the virtue of the gaps was made; The best explanation for the gaps, it now appears, is that the creators ran out of time.

* See fragment in previous post (not translated yet); these blank sheets are kept together with the OLB manuscript.

1927 De Jong about the blank sheets of paper

In addition to the previous post, here is the relevant part of "Het Geheim van het Oera-Linda-Boek" by dr. M. de Jong (1927), somewhat edited*, not yet translated.
(* for example: O.L.B. = OLB; mscr. = manuscript; some of the spelling is now modernised to make auto-translation easier; text that was s p a c e d  o u t is now made italic)
Original page nrs. between [xxx] brackets.

= = = = =

 [358] Wat het papier en het formaat betreft, hierin heeft Suringar zó juist gezien, dat er in de nalatenschap van Cornelis over de Linden (CL), echter pas na de dood van diens zoon Leendert Floris, papier gevonden is, dat onmiddellijk als het gezochte velin vergé te herkennen is, op en top het handschriftpapier, doch zonder bruine tint; dat voorts de overduidelijke sporen draagt aan onder of bovenzijde (niet zeer regelmatig) afgeknipt te zijn, en wel van een foliovel tot juist op de lengte der OLB vellen.
 In de nalatenschap van CL?
 Ik kan U een nog verrassender mededeling doen. Deze bladen hebben gedeeltelijk precies dezelfde potloodliniatuur als die van het OLB, nl. in een raam van een lengte van 251 a 253 mm. bij een breedte van 171 à 173 mm., door 63 lijnen in 64 witte stroken verdeeld, die bij het OLB om de andere met een regel schrifts gevuld zijn (32 regels).
 Merkwaardige ontdekking!
 Dus ondanks alles zou Cornelis over de Linden tòch de maker, althans de lettertekenaar van het OLB zijn?
 Dat ware al een zeer overijlde conclusie, althans wanneer we enig vertrouwen in onze methode van onderzoek gehad hebben.
 Bij nauwkeurig onderzoek blijkt dan ook alras, dat er slechts een moeilijkheid te meer op te lossen is. Vast staat evenwel, dat CL, want niemand anders dan hij kan deze bladen in gereedheid gebracht hebben, een poging heeft willen doen te schrijven in de trant van het OLB. Bekijken we de liniatuur dier blanco bladen goed, dan zien we, dat ze lang niet zo regelmatig is als die van het OLB. Het lijnenraam staat soms vrij schuin in het papier, de potloodlijnen zijn dikker dan die van het OLB en overschrijden veel vaker dan deze de grens van het raam. De lijnen van het OLB schijnen overigens met lood getrokken te zijn en niet met potlood.
 Verder is de boven- (of onder-) rand ongelijk geknipt, terwijl de onder- en bovenrand van het OLB zo zuiver mogelijk is. Bijzondere opmerking verdienen de gaatjes in de rugvouw der dubbele vellen. Daar schijnen bij het OLB de hechtdraden doorgehaald te zijn, volgens Ottema, op primitieve wijze, door Hidde oera Linda, met de bedoeling het manuscript in een perkamenten omslag te bevestigen. Bij goed toezien blijkt echter, dat dit onmogelijk [359] het geval geweest kan zijn. Er is nl. een katern bij, waarvan de gaten niet op dezelfde hoogte zitten als die der andere katerns.
 Merkwaardigerwijze is het met de correspondentie in orde, als men het bewuste katern onderstboven keert.
 Het OLB is dus nimmer ingenaaid geweest; vermoedelijk zijn de misleidende gaten er in gemaakt vóór de bladen beschreven werden en heeft de schrijver dat ene katern bij vergissing onderstboven gelegd.
 Dit betreft het handschrift zelf. In de gevonden witte bladen merken we op de overeenkomstige plaatsen ook al gaten op, of eigenlijk gaten zijn het niet, het zijn dwarse knippen, met de schaar gemaakt, hier en daar wat uitgescheurd, maar heel anders dan de gaten van het OLB, waar wel draden doorgehaald kunnen geweest zijn.
 Merkwaardig dus de overeenkomst, maar onmiskenbaar het verschil.
 Hoe voor de hand liggend het ook schijnt, deze bladen als een restant van het gebruikte materiaal te beschouwen, de schijn bedriegt, als zo dikwijls, ook hier.
 Men vraagt zich af: Wat kan CL dan toch met die bladen voor gehad hebben, als hij het eigenlijke OLB niet gemaakt heeft?
 Daar valt ons oog op nog een merkwaardige bijzonderheid: de lege bladen zijn ten dele gepagineerd. En deze paginatuur verheft boven elke twijfel de betrekking dezer bladen tot het OL manuscript.
 Hoe staat het met de paginering van het handschrift? Aldus: Het blaadje, bevattende de opdrachten van Hidde en Liko is ongenummerd, Verder zijn de bladzijden geteld van 1 tot 210.
 Daar de bladzijden 157 en 158, die de pag. recta en versa van hetzelfde blad zijn, naar de tekst niet aaneensluiten, moet, zegt Ottema, de overschrijver Hiddo minstens 2, in elk geval een even aantal bladzijden overgeslagen hebben, wellicht door dubbel omslaan.
 Na de paginering moeten dan verder een aantal bladen uitgevallen zijn, nl. 20 bladzijden, zijnde 169-188, en 2 bladzijden, zijnde 193 en 194, welke thans ontbreken.
 [360] Kennende de oorsprong van het OLB, kan ik in deze hiaten niet anders zien dan een streven om het manuscript meer te doen overeenkomen met andere oude manuscripten, waar ook maar al te vaak een stuk uit mist. Daaruit volgt dan echter, dat de paginering reeds door of voor Verwijs aangebracht is. Dit is ook in alle opzichten het waarschijnlijkst, daar anders de kans groot was, dat het in handen van een ongeletterde bezitter op onherstelbare manier in de war zou raken. Voor de paginering zijn niet de cijfers van het OLB-systeem gebruikt (zoals b.v. heel duidelijk blijkt op de bladzijden, waar de wetsartikelen met de "oorspronkelijke" cijfers genummerd zijn, als tot de tekst behorende), maar vrij gewone, nog al grote, dikke en rondachtige cijfervormen. Deze geven de paginering een jonger karakter, wat ook blijken kan uit de plaats van het cijfer op de artikelenbladzijden. Als regel immers staat het cijfer in het midden. Wanneer op bedoelde bladzijde deze plaats door het artikelnummer bezet is, wordt het pagineringsnummer er eenvoudig naast gezet. Een en ander is er stellig op berekend den indruk te wekken, dat pas een latere eigenaar de paginatuur heeft ingevoerd.*1* Dat zij echter niet modern wil zijn, blijkt uit twee dingen: l) uit de tussenvoeging van and bij 100 and 1 en 200 and 1, alsook op de laatste bladzijde: 200 and 10, wat vermoedelijk te beschouwen is als een verzuchting, als en omdat het eind bereikt is. 2) uit de schrijfwijze van de andere nummers boven 100 en 200, aldus: 100-24, 100-75, 200-5. Uit deze, voor ons vreemde schrijfwijze heeft Ottema afgeleid, dat het manuscript reeds voor 1600 bestond.*2* Het gebruik is waarschijnlijk voortgekomen uit een gemengde schrijfwijze voor getallen met honderden: het eerste deel in Romeinse, het tweede in Arabische cijfers te schrijven, is een tijdlang niet ongebruikelijk geweest.*3*

1) Daarmee zouden de Friezen dan ook hun tijd wat vooruit zijn, wat natuurlijk geen bezwaar is. Paginering van manuscript begint pas in de l4de eeuw op te komen, het nummeren der bladen (meestal recto) in de 12de eeuw.
2) Dr. J. G. Ottema in een afzonderlijke brochure: Het Handschrift van Thet Oera Linda Bok heeft al langen tijd voor het jaar 1600 bestaan. zonder jaar.
3) Zie Prou: Manuel de Paléographie, 1910, p. 290 en Reusens: Eléments de Paléographie, 1899, p. 154.

 [361] Het merkwaardige is, dat het enige door Ottema aangehaalde voorbeeld, dat geheel overeenkomt met de schrijfwijze dezer getallen in het OLB, is..... het manuscript van de "Cronyke van Vrieslant door Ockam Scharlensem!"
 Daar komt wederom Mephisto's paardevoet bloot!
 Ware Ottema wat beter van gezicht geweest (hij was al over de zeventig, — dat hij inderdaad niet scherp zag, bewijst wel het feit, dat een ander hem op de lood-liniatuur van het manuscript opmerkzaam moest maken), dan zou hij gezien hebben, dat de bovenrand van tal van bladzijden, meestal flauwe, maar soms zeer duidelijke sporen van een paginering met potlood draagt, die ouder is dan de paginering met inkt, daar de laatste in de meeste gevallen over de eerste heen geschreven is, met het blijkbare doel deze onzichtbaar te maken. Dit is niet altijd gelukt en zo is hier en daar het potloodgetal heel duidelijk te lezen. Het komt overeen met het inktgetal, alleen... de archaïstische schrijfwijze 100-45, 100-47 was toen blijkbaar nog niet in gebruik. Zo vinden we de nummers der bladzijden 145, 147, 156, 157 (dit zeer duidelijk), 160, 162, 168, om enkele van de beste te noemen, op onze gewone wijze aaneengeschreven; de meeste zijn, indien zichtbaar, grotendeels door het getal 100 in inkt overdekt. Het is licht te bevroeden, dat deze potloodgetallen geen andere betekenis gehad hebben, dan een voorlopige paginering ten behoeve van de vervaardiger van het handschrift, de getallen in inkt daarentegen zijn ten dienste van de gelovige lezer.
 Bij deze moet de indruk gewekt worden, dat het handschrift tegen het eind van de 16de eeuw van een toen in zwang zijnde paginatuur voorzien is, nadat het eeuwen zonder nummering der bladzijden bestaan had.
 Wij vragen ten overvloede: Past deze kennis van handschriften en handschriftgewoonten bij de archivaris Verwijs, die de echte Occo dagelijks tot zijn beschikking had, of bij de scheepstimmerman Over de Linden, een man zonder historische zin en zonder historische geschooldheid?
 Wanneer wij nu, met deze kennis gewapend, nogmaals de bij CL gevonden lege, maar geliniëerde en gepagineerde bladen bekijken, (de andere hebben niets bijzonders), dan zien we, dat ze, [362] naar de nummers der bladzijden alle vallen in de twee hiaten van het handschrift, en dus oorspronkelijk bestemd geweest zijn deze hiaten aan te vullen. In de gaping van 20 bladzijden tussen blz. 168 en 189 vallen twee dubbelbladen, die in elkaar gelegd, deze paginatuur te zien geven:
 171/172 173/174 [....] 183/184 185/186, 
 zodat ontbreken:
 aan de buitenkant: 
 169/170...... 187/188,
 binnen in: 
 175/176...... 181/182
 177/178...... 179/180
 of drie dubbele vellen.
 Voor de gaping tussen blz. 192 en 195 is bestemd geweest de voorste helft van een dubbel blad, dat — het laatste katerntje omsluitende, met de achterste helft de laatste bladzijde van het manuscript, t.w. blz. 210, zou bedekken en dus eventueel de nummering 211/212 zou moeten dragen. Deze is niet aanwezig, wel echter de nummering van de voorste helft, zijnde 100-93 en 100-94, dus in afwijking van de andere met afgezonderd honderdtal. Deze afwijking is bij de overdekte potloodpaginering van het handschrift zelf nergens te bespeuren. Zij is klaarblijkelijk onder invloed van de officiële paginatuur in inkt ontstaan. Dit versterkt ons in het vermoeden, door de afwijkende habitus der blanco's reeds opgewekt, dat deze bladen oorspronkelijk niet tot het manuscript behoord hebben; de nummering zegt ons dan verder, dat we hier te doen hebben met een poging tot vervanging van verloren gewaande bladen.*1*

1) Dat die cijfers in potlood op de lege bladen de hand vertonen van CL, is niet alleen mijn mening, maar ook die van de heer C. over de Linden Jr. te Amsterdam. Het spreekt trouwens vanzelf, dat deze handeling voor zijn rekening komt.

 Zoals wij opmerkten, waren deze blanco's wit, niet geelbruin. Zij waren dus voorbestemd om gekleurd te worden. Een paar der bladen tonen recht uitgelopen bruine strepen of stroken en ronde vlekken en spatten, die er op schijnen te wijzen, dat er aan dit procedé gewerkt is. Dit procedé wijkt dan sterk af van dat, hetwelk Suringar ons schetste. Hier zijn wel ringen te bespeuren. Er is blijkbaar gewerkt met een dunne vloeistof (b.v. thee of koffie), [363] bij wijze van overgieting. Ringvorming is op die manier ook haast onvermijdelijk. Het is niet onwaarschijnlijk, dat met dit procedé de ontbrekende bladen te gronde gegaan zijn, of anders bij de poging tot beschrijving van het zo geprepareerde papier.

02 January 2020

2006 Article on OLB paper research

Earlier on this blog, a PDF was published of the below article.
As it will be discussed in more detail in future posts, it is now made more accessible, in a form that can be searched through and copied from.

Originally published in IPH Congress Book 16 (2006), p. 177-185.
[IPH: International Association of Paper Historians]
Footnotes are marked between asterisks (*1*) and listed below each paragraph;
Images were used from the low-quality PDF;
Tables are listed below the article.

The Oera Linda Boek - A literary forgery and its paper

Adriaan Kardinaal, Ellen van der Grijn, Henk Porck

Figure 1: The Oera Linda Boek (Tresoar,
Frysk Histoarysk en Letterkundich
Sintrum, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)

The 'Oera Linda Boek' can be considered one of the most curious products of Dutch literature. The only certainty about it is that it's not what it pretends to be. The manuscript claims to have been written in 1256 as a copy of an even older one. The eldest part of the text would date more than 2000 years before our era, the latest c. 50 BC. On 190 pages, written in a unique 'runic' script the story unfolds of a mythical Frisian*1* empire, its laws and religion and its decline (figure 1).

*1* The name 'Frisia' refers to the homeland of a German tribe in the beginning of our era, consisting of the entire coastal area of the Netherlands and Northem Germany up to the river Weser. It is the 'ancestor' of the modern Dutch province of Friesland.

The manuscript came to light in 1867 when it was in the possession of Cornelis over de Linden as a family heirloom. Through the ages, the ancestors of Over the Linden would have compiled the various parts of the text and passed the manuscript on. It soon became clear that the Oera Linda Boek was not an authentic history or even an ancient text, although some, even today, passionately defend its authenticity. However, the support -machine made paper-, the language -a mixture of old Frisian and modern Dutch- as well as the fabulous content all spoke too clearly for a modern origin.*2*

*2* The manuscript was first published in 1872 by Ottema: J.G. Ottema, Thet Oera Linda Bok. Naar een handschrift uit de dertiende eeuw. Met vergunning van de eigenaar, den heer C. over de Linden aan Den Helder [Thet Oera Linda Bok, After a manuscript from the thirteenth century. With permission from the owner mr. C. over de Linden from Den Helder], 1872, A new text edition of the Oera Linda Boek: Goffe Jensma, ed., Het Oera Linda-boek. Facsimile - transcriptie - vertaling, 2006. The entire Oera Linda Boek is reproduced on the website www.oeralindaboek.nl.

Still, the Oera Linda Boek is a mystery that has fascinated many scholars: what was the purpose of this huge undertaking, what the meaning of the text, who wrote it and when. In a recent thesis research Goffe Jensma interprets the text as a religious allegory, painting in mythological terms the nineteenth century dispute between religious modernists and conservatives.*3* The author would be François HaverSchmidt, a famous poet and clergyman. He worked not alone but in league with the 'owner' of the manuscript, Comelis over de Linden, and Eelco Verwijs, archivist and librarian of Friesland and a renowned philologist.

*3* Goffe Jensma, De gemaskerde God. François HaverSchmidt en het Oera Linda-boek [The masked God François HaverSchmidt und the Oera Linda-boek], 2004. Goffe Jensma, Inleiding [Introduction] to the new text edition of the Oera Linda Boek (see note 2). A discussion on the recent developments in the Oera Linda Boek research in the historical journal Bijdragen en mededelingen betreffende de geschiedenis der Nedertanden, The Low Countries historical review, vol. 121 (2006).

It is evident that the Oera Linda Boek has many meanings. Apart from the religious reference, there are also links to a Frisian tradition of history writing in which fact and fiction are inextricably mixed. The Oera Linda Boek can be placed in the European tradition of historical and literary forgeries like the songs of Ossian (Macpherson, Scotland 1760-1763), the Koninginhof and Grünberg manuscripts (Vaclav Hanka, Bohemia 1817-1818) and others. The Oera Linda Boek differs from all these in its irony and the different levels of interpretation that are possible.

According to Jensma, the Oera Linda Boek was not intended to deceive its readers permanently; it was not a fraud but a mystification. Various signs were incorporated both in its form and in its content to warn the reader that all was not as it seemed to be. A major one of these signs would be the paper which, it is supposed, created an illusion of authenticity but could not have fooled the nineteenth century reader for long.

Apart from its role in the interpretation of the Oera Linda Boek, the paper support also appears to be crucial for dating the manuscript, which is connected to another important question, that of authorship. The paper has been investigated in the years 1873-1876, shortly after the Oera Linda Boek became public.*4* The experts agreed that the paper was made after 1800 and most thought it to be a laid machine made paper, artificially yellowed and produced in the 1840s or later. Except for an inspection by a German paper maker in the 1930s, who confirmed the machine made character of the paper, no new research has been done in this respect. Never subjected to paper research are some unused blank sheets of paper, similar in appearance to the Oera Linda Boek (OLB) paper, from the estate of Over de Linden.

*4* Hugo Suringar, Verklaring over het papier van het O.L.B. [Statement on the paper of the Oera Linda Book], may 1874, original manuscript in Tresoar Leeuwarden: Frederik Muller, Oudheid van papier en schrift van het Oera Lindaboek [The age of paper and ink from the Oera Linda Boek], in: De Nederlandsche Spectator, 5 augustus 1876; P. Smidt van Gelder, letter to Frederik Muller, attached to the article 'Oudheid van papier en schrift'. in: De Nederiandsche Spectator, 5 augustus 1876. The publications by Muller and Smidt van Gelder are reproduced on www.oeralindaboek.nl. Dr. Ottema, editor of the Oera Linda Boek and a firm believer in its authenticity performed his own paper investigation and reported on it in the Voorbericht [Preface] of the second edition of the Oera Linda Book: Dr. J.G. Ottema. Thet Oera Linda Bok. Naar een handschrift uit de dertiende eeuw. Tweede uitgave 1876. More details on the paper investigation are in the unpublished correspondence of Muller, Smidt van Gelder and Ottema. Excerpts or résumés to be found in: P.F. Obbema, Het papier van het Oera Linda Boek, 1960. Typoscript, Tresoar, OLB-Collectie, Archief Hellinga, Scriptie P. Obbema.

Research aims

Our interest in the Oera Linda Boek was in first instance triggered by the nineteenth century paper research that induced us to ask a number of questions. These concemed the choice of characteristics for identification and dating the paper, and the fact that obvious criteria (at least to us as modern investigators) like fibre direction and the imprint from the wire mesh were ignored. Another intriguing fact was the tension between some of the data and the conclusions thereupon. Therefore our first aim was to consider how the nineteenth century experts investigated the paper and compare their results with those of our own paper investigation based on present day knowledge and techniques.

The evaluation of the early paper research provided us with another reason to investigate the OLB paper anew. As the paper plays an important role in the recent interpretation of the manuscripts purpose and in establishing its date, the paper investigation should be much more accurate and elaborate than it has been up to now; new information might be extracted from the paper concerning its date, original appearance and the ageing treatment. Finally, comparison of the unused, blank sheets to the OLB paper may provide a direct proof of the involvement of one of the 'suspects', Cornelis over de Linden in the creation of the manuscript. In the present article we will limit ourselves to the second research aim of finding new information on the manuscript.

State of the Oera Linda Boek research

In order to understand the choice of our research aims more clearly, something in general must be said about the Oera Linda Boek discussion. Since the late nineteenth century it has been evident that the Oera Linda Boek is not an ancient manuscript. From the perspective of the paper, we may take it for granted that the experts in the nineteenth century could perfectly distinguish thirteenth century paper from modern paper of their own time.*5* A decisive argument against the text itself is the language which may at first look like old Frisian but actually has a modem Dutch syntax. But if the book is not authentic, what is it? The main source for answering this question is the manuscript itself. In his thesis Jensma reconstructed the production process on the basis of some of the formal characteristics (script and language) and the content of the manuscript:
  • First an original version of the text was made. This was not yet in the form of a chronicle as the final book but was just an allegory of the religious battle between modernists and conservatives. Since the religious meaning of the text depends on the ambiguity of the pseudo old Frisian language a translation must have been made or at least foreseen by the writer;
  • In the second stage the original text is dismembered and transformed into a chronicle of the Frisian people and of the Over de Linden -in Frisian Oera Linda- family. Members of this family are introduced in the text as compilers through the ages of the various stories, laws and religious accounts gathered in the book. The nature of a family chronicle made it possible to make the book public through the services of Comelis over de Linden as the last in a long line of compilers and later on keepers of the book;
  • It is also concluded from the manuscript itself that at least three individuals worked on it: a writer/translator, a copyist who made the physical manuscript and an editor who corrected the writing errors of the copyist and the translation of the writer.

*5* It would be more accurate to say: were perfectly able to identify modern paper, since there was the problem that no thirteenth century paper was available for comparison with the OLB paper and that only one of the experts, the dealer in antique hooks Frederik Muller, had ever seen paper from the thirteenth century.

Very little direct written evidence is available to put a name to these three persons. The reasons to ascribe the Oera Linda Boek to François HaverSchmidt, the poet and modernist vicar, Eelco Verwijs, the philologist and Cornelis over de Linden, who was the chief of the construction department of the navy wharf in Den Helder, are beyond the scope of this study. Enough to say that HaverSchmidt is mainly credited with the creative role of writer, that Verwijs acted as editor and Over de Linden did the physical production of the manuscript. The important point is that in order to make this conclusion work, time limits have to be taken into account:
  • The first version of the text must (in terms of opportunity and motive) have been made when HaverSchmidt was vicar of Foudgum in the province of Frisia, that is from 1859 till 1862;
  • The second stage of the writing of the text and the production of the actual manuscript could only have taken place after HaverSchmidt met over de Linden, which took place when he was transferred to Den Helder in 1862.

Internal and external evidence from the manuscript itself makes, according to Jensma, a date from the late eighteen fifties to the early sixties plausible. But only the paper as an external characteristic can give the decisive terminus a quo for the present manuscript. As the nineteenth century research results could not be accepted without careful evaluation, further investigation of the OLB paper seemed necessary.

The modern interpretation of the Oera Linda Boek as an experimental literary text is based on the observation that all the characteristics to make it look like an ancient manuscript are illusions to be dispelled by the reader. The paper was for instance artificially yellowed but should in the end still have been recognizable as modem. However, the colouring substance was never identified. Therefore another subject of our investigation deals with the method used by the maker to give the paper an old appearance and with how convincing the end result was.

The blank sheets from Over de Linden's estate have been regarded as identical to the OLB paper and connected to it in several ways:*6*
  • the blank sheets are present in the estate of Cornelis over de Linden;
  • some blank sheets are numbered in pencil just as those of the manuscript and possibly with the same hand;
  • stains present on the blank sheets can be interpreted as colouring proofs of the OLB paper,
  • some blank sheets are cut to the same size as the OLB paper.

*6* For instance in the codicological description of the Oera Linda Bock by Miedema. Also P.F. Obbema, Het papier van het Oera Linda Boek, 1960. Typoscript, op. cit.

It is however undecided whether the two groups of paper are similar enough to assume that the OLB paper is from the same stock of paper in Over de Linden's possession.

The testing material

Figure 2: 'Letter' scrap: scrap of Oera
Linda Boek paper with partial letter
used for XRF testing, fibre analysis
and measurement of paper thickness
For visual examination we could dispose of the entire manuscript. For scientific testing we were provided with some tiny pieces of paper that had broken off from the borders of some of the OLB pages and from the blank sheets. These scraps could not be identified to a definite page with the possible exception of one scrap bearing some partial letters. It is very likely that the origin of this 'letter' scrap is from text page 143 (figure 2).*7*

*7* Information Goffe Jensma. The scrap with a partial letter or letters (figure 2) can only come from a page where text is damaged. This would limit the possibilities to pp. 21-23, 120, 143-148.

A visual examination of the sieve impression was done on the complete OLB and blank sheets. For fibre analysis, measurement of paper thickness, spot tests for rosin and starch as for XRF (X-ray fluorescence) tests the scraps were used. Consequently the visual and the instrumental examination may well have been performed on different sheets. Our initial assumption, based upon visual examination, was that all OLB pages are identical (same source, composition and properties) as well as all blank sheets. Though this assumption was shared by previous modern investigators, in the end we decided it could not be taken for granted. This was confirmed when we discovered that fibre analysis in two different OLB scraps showed different results. As a consequence of our initial assumption the scraps were at first used indiscriminately, which could not be corrected afterwards in all cases by lack of material. This is not equally important for all our research questions. It is for instance irrelevant for the analysis of the ageing treatment. For the rest the main consequence is that test results cannot be 'added up' unless explicitly stated that investigations were performed on the same scrap of paper.

Results of our observations and testing of the Oera Linda Boek paper

Figure 3: Microscopy of the fibres of the 'anonymous' scrap
(left),the 'letter' scrap (middle), and a scrap from one of
the blank sheets (right)
First of all we wanted to establish whether the OLB paper is really machine made. The nineteenth century experts make this observation but seem to base their opinion on the general appearance of the paper like its smoothness. We wanted to see the impression of the machine wire mesh and notice the fibre direction. Although the fibre direction could not be tested due to the generally bad condition of the paper, a laid pattern was observed on the light table and the impression of a wire mesh determined under raking light. On the basis of this combination we concluded that the paper was made on a Foudrinier machine equipped with an égoutteur as we expect that the cylinder mould machine would leave either a laid or a wove impression. The use of machine made paper in the Oera Linda Boek can be deduced independently from the presence of rosin size as proved by the Raspail test on two scraps of paper. Rosin (tub) sizing is exclusively adopted in machine made paper. The iodine test on the same scraps showed starch, a usual addition to rosin size. The paper fibres of two of the OLB scraps were examined microscopically, using Herzberg staining. Microscopic analysis of one scrap ('anonymous') showed that the paper consisted of long linen fibres (figure 3, left). A floroglucine test proved the absence of mechanical wood pulp. The length of the fibre (3 - 6 mm) indicated that the beating had not been very strong. The second scrap used for fibre analysis, the 'letter' scrap, showed a completely different fibre composition: chemical wood mixed with cotton (figure 3, middle).*8*

*8* A fibre analysis was also performed in 1873 on request of dr. Ottema, the first editor and a strong defender of the Oera Linda Boek. For this analysis some material from the last quire was used. As a result cotton fibre was found. It remains to be seen how reliable this result is, since the local apothecary, who actually did the test, is not known to have had any experience with the difficult art of fibre analysis.

Figure 4: XRF spectrum of the paper from the 'letter' scrap
(left), and a scrap from one of the blank sheets (right)
X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) was performed on the 'letter' scrap. This test is part of an ungoing series of tests, on which work is still in progress. The interpretation of the present research result is still a matter of debate. Our preliminary qualitative conclusion is that XRF indicates the absence of a significant (measurable) amount of aluminium in the paper (figure 4, left). If correct, this means that alum would be absent*9*, as well as china clay as a filler. If a filler is actually added, the most probable alternative is gypsum, CaSOq, though we cannot yet be certain that enough sulphur and calcium are present in the paper. No other serious candidates before 1869, when the whole of the Oera Linda Boek had actually been seen, are available. However, it is not unusual that a filler is lacking in early machine made Paper.

*9* In the late 1850s a non-acidic sizing is actually an anomaly; the rosin-starch combination found in the OLB paper is known from an earlier period (1840s) as an experimental sizing. See note 15.

Ageing treatment

Figure 5: Ink corrosion on one of
the pages of the Oera Linda Boek
The makers of the Oera Linda Boek made an effort to give the paper an old look. A yellow colouring material was used. Originally the OLB paper was white. This becomes evident when a tiny bit of fibre is scratched from the surface. The many wrinkles in the paper indicates that it was treated in an aqueous solution and dried under pressure afterwards. Our initial assumption that the colouring agent was a dilution of the ink used for writing was not confirmed. The writing ink is an iron-gall ink, as shown by the occurrence of ink corrosion (figure 5).

Both background colour and writing ink contain, according to XRF tests, iron but are not identical:
  • the ink contains arsenic and no sulphur;
  • the background colour contains sulphur and no arsenic.

The nature of the background colour is still unclear. It has been suggested that the writing was done before colouring the paper.*10* This does not seem to be correct. Presence of the colour underneath a letter which had flaked off the paper shows that the colour treatment was probably performed before the writing process (figure 2).

*10* H. Miedema, Codicologische beschrijving van het handschrift genoemd 'het Oera Linda Boek' te Leeuwarden, 1956. Typoscript, Tresoar, inv, nr.: OLB C SO.

Results of observation and testing of the blank paper

Under the microscope the scrap from one of the blank sheets showed chemical wood pulp and straw fibres clearly different from the linen fibres in the first batch of the Oera Linda Boek paper ('anonymous' scrap) but strongly resembling the fibre composition of the second batch, the 'letter' scrap as both contain chemical wood (figure 3).

An XRF test has been done on one of the blank paper scraps. The chemical composition of the blank scrap appears to be similar to the OLB 'letter' scrap (figure 4) - no alum, possibly gypsum — with the same restriction already mentioned that the interpretation of our XRF tests is still a matter of further research and discussion.

Figure 6: Blank sheet with laid pattern
Finally, when we investigated the laid pattern in situ on three of the blank sheets*11* and on pages 10 and 11 of the OLB, hardly any difference was found.

*11* The blank sheets can be retraced through the pattern of discoloration which we noted down.

While fibre analysis and, independently, XRF resulted in a clear resemblance between part of the OLB paper and the blank sheets, the thickness of the paper, measured with a micrometer, according to ISO 534 showed a difference which might suggest two sorts of paper. However we think that this suggestion is incorrect: the thickness of the OLB paper, i.e. its reaction to the pressure of the measuring instrument, may have changed by the treatment it received to give it an old appearance. It is obvious from visual inspection that the OLB paper is now in a different condition than theblank sheets (figure 6).

Preliminary conclusions

Identity and date of the Oera Linda paper

Figure 7: Advertisement in a maritime
reference book (1843) for 'naval
stationary' paper. Explicitly mentioned
as paper for one type of ships log is
'kardoespapier', a very sturdy paper
Although of (at least) two different kinds, the Oera Linda Boek is made on laid machine paper. Its earliest possible production date is in the 1830s because the égoutteur was not introduced before that time. Part of the OLB paper (batch 1) is made from linen. The absence of cotton mixed with the linen fibre is an indication that the paper was produced in the first half of the nineteenth century, as linen fabric generally contained cotton threads after the 1850s.*12* Though it is too early for a definite conclusion, our estimate for this type of paper is therefore in the earlier part of the time range proposed by the nineteenth century experts. Considering that linen was regarded as a better paper fibre than cotton, in combination with the restraint manner of beating, we must assume that this part of the paper in the Oera Linda Boek belonged to the best sorts of paper, possibly produced especially with a view of durability. In the navy organisation, where Cornelis over de Linden worked, the use of strong and durable paper for instance for logs and notebooks was common practice. Therefore, this type of the paper may have been easily available at Den Helder (figure 7).

*12* N.W.P. Rauwenhoff, Over de gebreken van vele papiersoorten [On the defects of many paper sorts], 1854, p. 436 en 458.

Another part of the OLB paper (batch 2) is made of chemical wood. This paper we identify as soda paper produced in England in 1866 or later. Three techniques existed for making wood cellulose: soda (natron), sulphite and sulphate pulping methods. The last two date after 1873. The soda method was developed in the United States from the middle of the eighteen fifties but a date for this part of the paper in the Oera Linda Boek after 1866, when the process was introduced in England, is much more likely.*13*

*13* The soda process was patented in the USA in 1854 and soda pulp was probably produced for the market in the region of Philadelphia since the late 1850s. The first major soda pulp plant was operational in 1866.
Just as later on in Europe, a strong prejudice at first existed against the new material. As the early output of soda pulp paper in relation to the total paper production must have been small and the USA is not known as a major paper exporter to the Netherlands, we feel that an American origin is unlikely for the OLB paper. In England, which was a paper exporter to the Netherlands, soda pulp production began in 1866. The soda technique was introduced in Germany only in 1872.
See: David C. Smith, History of papermaking in the United States, (1691-1969), 1970, p. 130-131; Dard Hunter, Paper making, The history of an ancient craft, p. 390-391, 1978 (1947); Carl Hofman. Handbuch der Papier-Fabrikation, II Band, 1897, p. 1391-1398, E. Kirchner, Das Papier, 1. Teil, Die Geschichte der Papierindustrie und Algemeines über Papier, p. 22. 1897; Wisso Weiss, Zeittafel der Papiergeschichte, 1983.
Collings and Millner paint a somewhat different picture. They state that soda pulp was used in Lydney Mills, England in the years 1856-1869. However for 'publication grades' made from straw, rag and chemical wood pulp, they provide us with 1868 as a date. Thomas Collings and Derek Milner, A new chronology of papermaking technology, in: The Paper Conservator, 1990.

The time difference between the OLB batches of paper is not inexplicable. Paper was a rather scarce and costly material till late in the nineteenth century and to save a Stock of paper for later use would have been a logical procedure.

The production date of the second baich of OLB paper did not leave the creators of the Oera Linda Boek much time for making the manuscript before its existence became known in June 1867. From this point on Jensma's line of reasoning that the Oera Linda Boek was partly made after 1867, when the first sheets were already circulating among scholars in Friesland, becomes relevant. It seems reasonable to suppose that this late part of the Oera Linda Boek is written on sheets from the batch of soda pulp paper. If so, it would be a confirmation of Jensma's reconstruction.

The comparison of the Oera Linda Boek paper with the blank sheets

The fibre composition of the scrap from one of the blank papers differs from the first batch of OLB paper but corresponds to the second batch in one specific aspect: both contain chemical wood. The blank sheets from Over de Linden's estate have of course as latest production date the year of his death 1874. Just as argued for the chemical wood containing OLB paper, the time limit indicate that the chemical wood found in the blank paper must also be soda pulp. In general, paper made from soda pulp can be considered as uncommon; in 1874 it was still produced in only a few mills.*14*

*14* In the USA the number of mills producing soda pulp as well as the total quantity of soda pulp production remained limited in comparison with the fabrication of sulphite pulp and ground wood. In Europe, apart from Britain, soda pulp production just started in the early 1870s. See also note 13.

According to our provisional interpretation of the XRF tests, the spectrum of the second batch of OLB paper is very similar to the spectrum of one of the blank sheets. The spectra indicate that some normally used substances in middle and later nineteenth century paper making seem to be absent in both papers: alum*15* and china clay as filler.*16*

*15* Absence of alum would be very unexpected. Both for gelatin and rosin (tub) sizing alum was routinely used. For the OLB paper we expect tub sizing, as was common (but not universal) for machine made paper. A spot test on one OLB scrap has shown the presence of rosin. A tub size without alum is only known to us from the early, experimental phase of this kind of sizing. As an example: a recipe book from the Dutch Van Gelder firm has a recipe for a tub size based On rosin and starch ('aardappelmeel'), which probably dates 1838 when the firm introduced tub sizing. This recipe is followed by a 'normal' one containing rosin and alum dated 1845. Van der Grijn en Kardinaal, Technische ontwikkelingen in de Nederlandse papierproductie in de eerste helft van de negentiende eeuw. [Technical developments in the Dutch paper production during the fist half of the nineteenth century], p. 112-113.
*16* We suggested as possibilities the presence of gypsum as a filler and the absence of any filler at all. Gypsum, if present in the OLB and/or blank paper, was a common filler in the first half of the nineteenth century. It was substituted in the 1850s by china clay, but continued to be used. Van der Boon Mesch found in 1845 gypsum in 9 out of 30 machine made papers. In his later investigations he discovered that trom the late 50s on gypsum was being replaced by 'eene of andere fijne kleisoort' [some kind of fine clay]. The investigation of Van der Boon Mesch also shows that machine made paper without filler was normal around 1850. In 1879 on the other hand it is stated that almost no machine made paper was produced without at least 15-20% filler. It is uncertain when it became common practice to load the majority of machine made papers. See Van der Boon Mesch, Over de oorzaken van de ondeugdzaamheid en spoedige vergankelijkheid van eenige papiersoorten [On the causes of the lack of durability and the easy perishability of some paper sorts], 1848, p. 18; A.H. Van der Boon Mesch, Over de oorzaken van de ondeugdzaambeid en spoedige vergankelijkheid van eenige papiersoorten, in: Tijdschrift ter Bevordering van Nijverheid, 1861, p. 299. This is the second printed and enhanced version of the report on the research by Van der Boon Mesch; Van der Grijn en Kardinaal, Technische ontwikkelingen, op. cit., p. 85-86.

Even though fibre analysis and XRF tests for the blank paper may not be added together into a single paper profile (since it is not certain that both were observed on the same paper scrap), it is obvious from the similarity of the two groups of paper and the atypical composition (soda pulp, no alum) that Over de Linden and the maker(s) of the Oera Linda Boek delved into the same stock of paper. Paper analysis thus reveals the involvement of Over de Linden in the production of the Oera Linda Boek.

Perhaps the blank papers are even left over from the Oera Linda Boek production. This will have to be learnt from our further paper investigations. So far, the role of the blank sheets remains rather mysterious. Some are prepared as OLB pages but not actually used. As if someone (Cornelis over de Linden?) had decided to add more pages to the Oera Linda Boek but dropped the idea.*17*

*17* This is the interpretation of the historian Murk de Jong in Het geheim van het Oera Linda Boek [The secret of the Oera Linda Boek], 1927. p. 354-365.

Figure 8: Composition of the portraits of (left to right) François
HaverSchmidt, Eelco Verwijs and Cornelis over de Linden

Our work on the Oera Linda Boek paper is still in progress and hopefully we can eventually use our future findings to reveal more of the fascinating mystification that the three men depicted underneath have created (figure 8).


Jacob van Sluis, Tresoar, Frysk Histoarysk en Letterkundich Sintrum, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.
Georgine Calkoen, Proost en Brandt Laboratory, Diemen, the Netherlands.
Peter Hallebeek, Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Goffe Jensma, University of Amsterdam, KNAW-Fryske Akademy, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

Table 1 profile of the Oera Linda Boek paper
Fibre Linen; long fibre, 3 — 6 mm.
No ground wood (floroglucine test)
Chemical wood in combination with cotton
Filler Not tested Absent or small amount?
If present probably gypsum

Table 2 comparison Oera Linda Boek paper and blank sheets (includes Table 3 of original)
Fibre Batch 1 : Linen; 3 - 6mm ('anonymous' scrap)
Batch 2: Chemical wood and cotton ('letter' scrap)
Chemical wood and straw
XRF spectrum No alum, possibly gypsum (‘letter’ scrap) No alum, possibly gypsum*
Laid pattern Average distance between chain lines: 2.8 cm; laid lines: 17 per 33 mm Average distance between chain lines: 2.8 cm (3 sheets measured); laid lines: 17 per 33 mm
Paper thickness 0.130 mm (average of 4 scraps among which the ‘letter’ scrap) 0.114 mm (1 measurement on a single scrap)**
* possibly tested on another scrap than the one used for fibre analysis
** possibly observed on another scrap than the scraps used for XRF and fibre analysis

08 December 2019

1741 ~ Jan Overlende, clerq vd procureur generaal

for context (1746 and 1783) and more examples of 1746 autograph, see earlier post

Source Tresoar archives 14, inv.nr. 1944 Criminele Sententies Hof van Friesland 27-4-1741 case dossier "Jeltje Johannes" [translation may follow later]:

Jan Overlende clerq van de procureur generaal deser landschappen oud 21 jaren [geciteerd geedight en gevraeght] verklaarde dat hij getuige op saterdag den 21 jan: 1741 op order van de procureur generaal in geselschap [van] Albertus Sprenger* en Fredrich Zwets voor tegenwoordig als gardenier wonende bij den heer ontvanger generaal Andringa tot Sweins, is gegaan na de plaats van Johannes Wetzens, leggende omtrent Ro??ille om te sien of sij aldaar een nieuwgeboren kint konden vinden dat op 't Hornleger begrawen was, dat sij doen op de Zingel aan 't eende van de gragt op de kant van de wal in een gat dat vol water was, een klein kint hebben gevonden, 't gene aan mij procureur generaal tot Franequer hebben gebragt. [persisteerde nae praelectie actum] 24 jan: 1741
[w.g] J O Lende

Aldus geinformeert bij mij procureur generaal
deser landschappen actum ut supra
J. v. Beucker**

* otr. 27-5, tr. 12-6-1740 Leeuwarden Gertje Faber (beide won. L) => Jeltje, dp 1742 L; Julius, dp 1744 L
** Johannes Johannes van Beucker, geb. 22-11-1680 L, ovl. 1-6-1742 L begr. Witmarsum; geh. 30-4-1713 Menaldum (beide won L) Margriet Matthias van Vierssen (1684-1728) => Johan Arnold van Beucker (1716-1781); geh. 28-1-1742 L Johanna Geertruyd van Beucker (1719-1784)

= = =

Jan Overlinde clercq van de heere procureur gnl deser landschappe, wonaghtigh binnen Leeuwarden, oud in 't 22ste jaer, geciteerd geedight ende gevraeght als vooren verclaerde op alle gebilletteerde [artikelen] sigh dien te neffens te gedragen, tot de praep: informi in pos: wet no. 7 overgeleght verbleef daer nae voorlesinge als de opreghte waerheijt sijnde nogh bij, met recognitie van sijn hand daer onder staende, konde van de interrogaten anders niet seggen als alleen, dat terwijl het water uijt het gat gehoosd wierde, alwaer het kint in was, een vreemd mans persoon bij haer was gekomen, die geseght wierde daer dighte bij te wonen welke vroegh wat de getuijge cum soc: daer soghten, dogh was op die vraegh niets geantwoort waer mede sloot en persisteerde nae praelectie actum ut supra
[w.g. J O Lende]

= = =

Note on JO's birth year.

According to these 1741 accounts, he would have been born ca. between march 1719 and January 1720.

However, when he died in January 1794 he was thought to be 78 years old, which would mean he was born between Jan. 1715 and Jan. 1716.

The 1741 source is more probably the accurate one.

===== to be discussed later