GUIDELINES for ANCIENT POEMS
Envision yourself in the year 30 AD, You are standing on the shore of the Mississippi near where Memphis, TN will be. For this discussion, you will be using a language that will be created many centuries later. That language is English.
A boat slides into shore. The Captain of the boat walks up to you. He says, "I have a message for you."
"MA ry HAD a MIGH ty LAMB.
MAN tle AS white AS snow."
"The syllables ring clear. I have already heard of Jesus, born of Mary. Are you telling me he is now becoming mighty for all to see and he still reflects purity?"
How do you, in America, know that the Captain is delivering a valid message of current events from the east end of the Mediterranean?
He delivered a message in the self validating Drottkvaett format. You heard the strong-weak syllables and then listened for an alliteration and a rhyme in each line of syllables. The second line had an alliteration to indicate that it was the even line to follow the odd line, which has the same alliterations. The "AS" syllables create an additional alliteration in the second line to "tighten" the validation.
"Mighty" and "Mantle" signify the rise to importance in public. "White as snow" signified the purity. "Lamb" is a paraphrase of Jesus. You learned before that "lamb" was like a young deer. The people in the Mediterranean, wherever that is, use the word "lamb" to mean "Jesus."
The Captain may have composed the stanza during the two months he was at sea, but the skill of stanza maker shows through. The stanza was more likely made by your old trading partner in Sidon. The Captain would have memorized the stanza and will repeat it for all other trading partners on the Mississippi. Probably some members of his crew know the same stanza by memory in case the Captain cannot deliver the message. The Captain, and members of his crew, may not understand what the message means.
The Drottkvaett format for stanzas and sea travel enabled the Atlantic ocean people to be in contact with secure messages, which were usually used for trading. The normal time delay from one side of the Atlantic to the other may have been two to six months. That effective sea borne communication continued up to the 18th century. There is a recorded episode where the Americans told the Europeans, who had boots on the ground in America, that they were at war with each other.
The more effective paradigm is:
The sea peoples connected the Atlantic lands within months.
A common trading language existed along the coasts on both sides of the Atlantic.
There was the same common language along the shores of the Mississippi and the Mediterranean because there were natural connections for sea traffic.
The Drottkvaett was used for secure communications within many dialects of the common language. The process is language independent, but sender and receiver have to know each others paraphrasing.
" " = Aliteration ' ' = rhyme
S w S w S w
Bri 'ma' kyg '"va"' "vidh" 'aa'
'"vin"' "a 'k" 'hrein' "aa" bu ui
dau fr "by" van '"ba"' "sa"
*thak *? viik 'ja' ho 'la'
"veik: 'inn' "vidh: "aa" 'vin' "a 'k"
** ?thar ii?
When the waves were calm
in the land they left,
the pure people
lived together there
in strong hollow houses
with thick roofs.
* This pair of syllables breaks the pattern. A receiver months and miles away [we qualify] would know something is missing or not right. Depending on the rest of the half stanza, the we might be able to fill in the missing information.
** This stanza is shattered. Any information gleaned from the pieces is suspect.
There are five complete lines. The Drottkvaett format would predict five alliterations and five rhymes. One line is corrupted so the key alliteration is missing. The stanza information is only 90% valid. There is an indication that there were originally more lines to the stanza.