Mystery Monday: Gibwulach

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s name is a di- or trithematic Germanic name, where we’re relatively confident about the identification of the prototheme. If you have any thoughts about the second (or possibly second and third) themes, we’d love to hear them!


Filed under mystery monday

4 responses to “Mystery Monday: Gibwulach

  1. You probably won’t be surprised with the following suggestion from me, but I’d hazard it stands for OHG . John Insley (‘The Continental Evidence: OHG wal(a)h, OSax walh’, Journal of the English Place-Name Society, 12 (1980), 50-53) cites hypocoristic (and I can only assume attested) OHG personal names including Walaho and Walacho, plus a Walecho from the 12th century part of the Durham Liber Vitae. The -u- could be either a scribal error or misidentification on the part of the editor of the source text. Perhaps the original ms has been digitised to enable this to be checked?

  2. Brian M. Scott

    He’s hardly my favorite source, but Förstemann, col. 454, has three examples, Gebuvalah, Gibwulach, and Gybwulach, all a. 699, and all from Traditiones possessionesque Wizenburgenses, Spirae 1842. This reference turns out to be available at here. On pp. 197 and 214 I find gybuuulacho (abl.), on p. 244, gibuuulacho (abl.), and on p. 231, gebuualacho (abl.). All are from documents dated to the fifth year of the reign of Childebert (presumably Childebert III), so I expect that they all refer to the same person, and that this person is the one in your source as well. The last citation pretty well confirms that we’re dealing with the deuterotheme from PGmc. *walhaz ‘foreigner’, a borrowing of the Celtic-Latin ethnonyn Volcae (ON Valir (pl.) ‘inhabitants of Northern France’, OE wealh ‘foreigner, slave, Celt’, OHG Walaha (pl.) ‘speakers of Latin/Romance languages’).

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