The Chant on the Dog's Grave
|Date:||Monday, February 19, 2001, 22:29|
Corrections to my previous post in this thread :
For "Slaves" read "Slavs" no insult intended, genuine typo -- sorry!
(sounds like 1066 And All That, 'for sausages read hostages ...')
The Saprutum word "dabratam" shouldn't have been translated as
'inscription' as no writing need be involved. It means something
composed out of words, "citation" is the nearest English equivalent I
can think of, so fixated are we on writing these days!
Thinking about this, it's surely possible that the song antedates
writing (or at least widespread literacy) as it might originally have
referred not to a written epitaph, but to a poem or oration recited
over the grave (cf. the end of Beowulf for example). In a relatively
non-literate society, a well composed elegy can echo down the
generations and endure far beyond the legible lifetime of a mere
So could the Dog's Grave have begun as a spoof on the sort of poems
composed in praise of fallen heros? Someone perhaps who died raiding
cattle (meat) from the neighbouring clann?
Partly tongue-ino-cheek, but many a true word is spoken in jest.