This work is focused on the study of the semantic evolution of OE dryhtguma in theAnglo-Saxon literary tradition. An important finding that emerges from this survey isthe clear separation between its use in poetry, where it reveals the meaning of “follower”linked to the culture of the pre-Christian Germanic institution of comitatus, and its usein the glossaries of the period after the Christianization, where it indicates the Christianconcept of paranymphus, “friend of the bridegroom”. In particular, with the meaning ofparanymphus, it appears to indicate Saint John The Baptist in the Glosses to Aldhelm’sDe Virginitate. E.S. Dick, in his work AE Dryht und seine Sippe, has explained this newmeaning connecting it to the supposed vegetative value “growth, rebirth”, inherent inthe OE dryht. He has tied dryhtguma to marriage and baptism as symbols of renewal andthen to paranymphus, who is the central figure. The aim of this work is to reject what hasbeen proposed by Dick on this aspect and instead demonstrate that the choice of usingdryhtguma as interpretamentum of lat. paranymphus is the result of the work of reading,studying, copying and translating biblical texts by the first Anglo-Saxon churchmen,who were able to bend their language to the needs of the new Christianized culture.
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