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An obscure word I have run across is "Foriaul". What is this?

enter image description here

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    This is not German! – Björn Friedrich Aug 6 '18 at 15:10
  • @BjörnFriedrich I have found the same word in old German books, I just don't have a scan of them. – Tyler Durden Aug 6 '18 at 15:14
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    Going out on several limbs here: this looks to be Dutch and the words (among them "Foriaul") set in different type seem to be names of Italian regions. I'd guess they mean Friuli: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friuli – Mac Aug 6 '18 at 15:16
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    Looks like old Dutch, indeed. And Foriaul is probably Friaul, indeed, as described here: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friaul – Rudy Velthuis Aug 6 '18 at 17:01
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    Downvoted for not providing a source or link. – user33621 Aug 6 '18 at 19:10
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The text is not in modern German, sure. But at first glance this short excerpt looks like it might be an older form of German like Middle High German, Early New High German, low German, or perhaps some early form of Dutch.

The word used in this text is in a different typeface than the majority of the text. That is a first indication that it is a word of foreign origin, as it was customary to write pure German words in fraktur, foreign words in antiqua.*

Looking at the text as it appears in the screenshot – a transcript would be nice; or a source link – we see several of these words appear:

Venetia, Lampardia, Treviser, Foriaul, Histria, Venetien, Christi.

Nearly a literal transcript can be found in: Marcus van Vaernewyck: "De historie van Belgis", D.J. Vanderhaeghen, Gent 1829. If it is this author's text, it is apparently as old as the other find below: Marcus van Vaernewijck, (Gent, 21 december 1516 - aldaar, 20 februari 1569) Text below looks like an update with modernised orthography and wording.

Niet te min heeft Venetien daer veel voordeel uyt getrokken, en deze oorlogen hebben grootelyks tot haere aengroeying gestrekt, ter oorzaek dat menigvuldige ryke en magtige familien uyt Italien en Lombardien derrewaerds kwamen gevlugt, om veyliger te zyn, mids deze stad, als eene maen of blaesbalg, aen alle zyden omringd is van de zee. Naer de verstooring van verscheyde omliggende steden, heeft dit land zynen eersten naem verloren, zoo dat het niet meer Venetien genoemd wierd, maer Lampardien en eensdeels Treviserpalen, ook Foriaul en eensdeels Ristrien, maer men bleef de stad nog altyd Venetien noemen. Zy is eerst 466 jaeren naer Christus geboorte herbouwd, en tot op dezen tyd merkelyk aengegroeyd, dagelyks met pragtige gestigten en paleyzen verheerlykt wordende; zoo dat zy in magt en rykdom sedert grootelyks toegenomen heeft.

Most of these are names of places or people on the Italian peninsula.

Foriaul is also used in German texts at the time. For example in the Die Schedelsche Weltchronik (deutsch):178 as a name for a region:

DIe hungern zohen erstlich durch teuetsche land vnd darnach durch galliam alle ding verwueestende. Nachfolgend machten sie inen die Bulgaros zinsper. Darnach erschwemmeten die wassergueße des vngezewmten barbarischen volcks vber die maß vil lewt vnd land. Sie zohen auch durch foriaul in welschs land vnd verhereten vnd verwueesteten alle ding mit prannd vnd rawb.

Which brings us to the meaning of this non-German word:

It is Friuli in English or Friaul in German. A location in now Northern Italy, previously under Habsburg control and before that Venetian. That matches the context of the text that mainly describes geography. For the time this word was in use in this form, the date of the Schedelsche Weltchronik is given as 1493. This coincides with Lampardia as a place name for Lombardy:

Der Landesname lautet mlat. Langobardia
ahd. Langbarton 'bei den Langobarden' = Italien
mhd. Lampardie, Lampartenlant

The modern equivalent of Foriaul is located here:

enter image description here

The name for the region is derived from the ancient Roman town Forum Iulii, now called Cividale del Friuli in Italian and Östrich in German.
Note that the text itself says that the region used to be called Histria, that means it probably included parts of the adjacent Istria, as shown in these two maps:

enter image description here enter image description here Source left: Herzogtum Friaul source right: Patria del Friuli

For completeness, the transcript of the screenshot reads:

… soo heeft dat landt den name verwisselt ende niet meer Venetia, maer Lampardia eensdeels Treviser pale. Item Foriaul, en eensdeels Histria gheheeten : maer de Stadt blyft naer't landt Venetien ghenoemt / ende is eerst na de gheboorte Christi vier hondert lbj iaren weder.

And finally, as commentator @R.Schmitz put it, assuming the text is indeed either old Dutch or the closely related Flemish and using the much younger transcript:

Ironically, the explanation of what it means is in the sentence itself. I only learned dutch as a second language, so no guarantees, but I also encountered no difficulties translating this. I kept the location names in the original because who knows if the english translations will mean exactly the same: "Following the destruction of several surrounding cities, this land lost its first name, so that it's not called Venetien anymore, but instead Lampardien and sometimes Treviserpalen, also Foriaul and sometimes Ristrien, but people always kept calling the city Venetien." – R. Schmitz


* "Pure German", as we saw, is not to be taken literal here, as it is apparently a Flemish text.

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    Ironically, the explanation of what it means is in the sentence itself. I only learned dutch as a second language, so no guarantees, but I also encountered no difficulties translating this. I kept the location names in dutch because who knows if the english translations will mean exactly the same. "Following the destruction of several surrounding cities, this land lost its first name, so that it's not called Venetien anymore, but instead Lampardien and sometimes Treviserpalen, also Foriaul and sometimes Ristrien, but people always kept calling the city Venetien." – R. Schmitz Aug 7 '18 at 12:21

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