‘Old Frisian krocha: Setting Fire with a Coal Pan’

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The Brokmerbref and the Emsigo Compensation Tariff concerning arson provide a number of occurrences of the word krocha, otherwise unrecorded in Old Frisian, in the meaning ‘coal pan’. Yet the Modern Frisian dialect words denote different sorts of cooking pots either earthen or metal and apparently do not support the specialized meaning of the Old Frisian. Coal pans were quite common in medieval times, however, and the legal provisions under examination provide both homely and lively descriptions of arson, possibly based on actual cases. Medieval iconography of the devil as arsonist – portrayed with a coal pan in his hand – assists the interpretation of krocha, which goes back to Richthofen, and adds a further negative tinge to the crime of arson, harshly sanctioned by Old Frisian laws.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-302
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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