Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources
August 3, 2015 3:15 PM   Subscribe

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources aims to document all given names recorded in European sources written between 600 and 1600.
posted by escabeche (36 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
Amblard! Wulftrude!
posted by escabeche at 3:16 PM on August 3, 2015


I like this, but what I really want is an exhaustive medieval/renaissance polyglot gazetteer. You know, place names in all their differing linguistic garb.
posted by BWA at 3:31 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Needs more Welsh names.
posted by popcassady at 3:37 PM on August 3, 2015


Yeah, I was just gonna say, there's not a whole lot of Scottish ones there.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:38 PM on August 3, 2015


Finally, I can learn about the rich heritage and history invoked by the name Stephen!
posted by sparklemotion at 3:41 PM on August 3, 2015


I am totally sending this to my pregnant friend for naming inspiration. Why not name your offspring Budislav or Cherubina?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:45 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


No Abraham, no Glückel, no Isaac, no Miriam ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:48 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Now that I look more generally - no distinctively Romani or Hungarian names either. I don't think there are any Polish ones ... the site has a very limited perspective on what is a "European" name.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:59 PM on August 3, 2015


I'm definitely seeing some Polish names - Zbigniew for one.

Incidentally, I have fallen in love with the last name on the list, which is "Zwentibold".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:01 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, it's not finished. Barely started, by the looks of it.

It's a great idea though, and I will be eagerly awaiting its completion.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:01 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a work in progress, Joe in Australia. They're not claiming to be done.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:02 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, they say a couple of places in the blog that you can put in a request for a name and they'll try to focus on that one. So if you've got a name you want to see, go ahead and ask for it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:03 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Frodo!
posted by francesca too at 4:06 PM on August 3, 2015


Bastard, Ratbert, Vitalis....what a gang!
posted by mermayd at 4:08 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now that I look more generally - no distinctively Romani or Hungarian names either. I don't think there are any Polish ones ... the site has a very limited perspective on what is a "European" name.

From the About page:
The Dictionary aims to contain all given (fore, Christian) names recorded in European sources written between 600 and 1600, minus the names of historical/non-contemporary people, and names occurring only in fictional literature or poetry. Development of the Dictionary is planned in two phases:

First phase: Sources from Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Iberia, Italy, France, Germany, Hungary
Second phase: Sources from Eastern Europe (Romania, Greece, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, etc.)
What's new?

We published the first edition in 2015, containing over 20,000 citations of more than 1,000 different names from Portugal, Spain, Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Malta.
So that explains Poland -- the second phase is yet to come.

As for your more general comment, one might suppose that the fault here is not with the site's creators, but in the sources they are relying upon. IOW, the folks who wrote and preserved the texts in use are likely to be the ones doing the including and excluding.
posted by notyou at 4:15 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


BRB naming my next DnD character.
posted by BrashTech at 4:41 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Isn't Winebert the Elbonian vinter in Dilbert
posted by XMLicious at 4:41 PM on August 3, 2015


Incidentally, I have fallen in love with the last name on the list, which is "Zwentibold".

I agree. I've already renamed this dude Zwentibold - still need a name for his knight, though.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:50 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is Game of Thrones fanfic gold!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:52 PM on August 3, 2015


Jordana, that's a nice name you never hear.
posted by The Whelk at 5:08 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like this, but what I really want is an exhaustive medieval/renaissance polyglot gazetteer. You know, place names in all their differing linguistic garb.

Do you know about Graesse's Orbis Latinus? That gets you some of the way there.

(NB that the Columbia link is a digitization of the 1909 edition; if you want the full experience, you have to track down a print copy.)
posted by mr_deerheart at 5:28 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, look, proof of The Tiffany Problem*

*Tiffany is a perfectly acceptable Middle Ages name but if you're writing historical fiction no one will buy it cause it sounds anchronistic to a modern reader
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on August 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


This is a great reference, if still in progress. (Disclaimer: I know at least one of the people involved in its production.) It also nicely complements my MA thesis, which was about Middle English surnames. ;) There is still a lot to add and I can't wait to see how it grows from here.
posted by litlnemo at 6:25 PM on August 3, 2015


I'm surprised that "James" is not on the list. There were many kings with that name.
posted by foobaz at 6:34 PM on August 3, 2015


I'm surprised that "James" is not on the list. There were many kings with that name.

There are many monarchs' names missing. Take the Wessex line, for example: Whither Ceolwulf? Cynegils? Cenwalh? Seaxburh? Æscwine? Centwine? Cædwalla? Ine? Æthelheard? Cuthræd? Cynewulf? Beorhtric? Egbert? Æthelwulf? Æthelbald? Æthelberht? Ælfweard? Æthelstan? Eadred? Eadwig? Æthelred? Sweyn? Cnut? Harthacnut?

(Before you go giving your baby one or several of these elegant noble monikers, a warning: One of them is a girl's name. But not that one, thnak god.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:19 PM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Please tell middle-to-high-earning American new parents about this. You would not believe how many little Ians and Owens and Maeves and Euans and Catrionas and Ronans and Connors and Declans and Kierans and Siobhans there are running around or being pushed in strollers in my neighborhood. Someone should tell them there's a whole continent full of European countries with traditional non-English names: you're not restricted to Ireland, Scotland Wales. It's completely ridiculous.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:09 PM on August 3, 2015


Someone should tell them there's a whole continent full of European countries with traditional non-English names: you're not restricted to Ireland, Scotland Wales.

They're all the people who got married in kilts 10-15 years ago (she says, her husband having worn a kilt to the wedding in 2000). If we had kids, they'd probably be named something like that.
posted by immlass at 9:57 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have just turned this list into the seed set for a markov chain... Never shall I want for D&D character names again.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:35 PM on August 3, 2015


I'm surprised that "James" is not on the list.

It is! ("James" is a form of "Jacob", hence "Jacobean".)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:18 AM on August 4, 2015


Wahey, my neighbour's name is there! (Angharad, in case you are wondering.)
posted by kariebookish at 3:24 AM on August 4, 2015


My fave, Pagan, is there. My ancestor Pagan de Honeywood is pleased.
posted by Biblio at 5:54 AM on August 4, 2015


Angharad, as in the Chronicles of Prydain.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:25 AM on August 4, 2015


Of course, I looked up my own name first...

The name of a 2nd C pope and saint, a 3rd C Roman emperor, five 3rd C saints, three 4th C saints, a 5th C saint, a 10th C Byzantine emperor, an 11th C pope, two 12th C popes, a 12th C king of Scotland, a 13th C pope, two 13th C kings of Scotland, a 13th C prince of Novgorod and Kiev and saint, a 15th C antipope, a 15th C saint, two 15th C kings of Georgia, a 15th c prince of Wallachia, a 15th C grand duke of Luthania, a 15th-16th C pope, and a 16th C prince of Moldavia.

... 1,000 internet points if you can guess it from that. (The answer is on my profile page).

This could make a fun game!
posted by Acey at 9:09 AM on August 4, 2015


It's a bit confusing that they collapse all of the variants of the names under whatever they've decided that the standard English version is, so you get stuff like their listing for Alexis, where the actual names cited are Alessij and Alexi (and the most notable historical figures with that base name are named Alexius [or Alexios if you transliterate that way]). That said, I do appreciate that they did something about the obviously related names so it's not unbearably cluttered and useless. I guess it would just be ice if it was signposted a little better.
posted by Copronymus at 11:14 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hope everyone in this thread already knows about http://www.behindthename.com/? I tried Cynewulf, Zwentibold, and Glukel, and the were all there (albeit in the "user submitted names" category for the first two, lacking of some detail.)

For more "normal" names it's a fantastic resource showing whence they derive and cross referencing with other versions.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:54 PM on August 4, 2015


And the forums on The Baby Name Wizard site include occasional discussion of names like this (and awesome names in general) including at least one Real Medievalist. Combine that with the stats geekery of the blog and it's a great resource for name nerds.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:28 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


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