Mystery Monday: Nemfidius

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 masculine name from 11th C France, recorded in Latin. The Latin form of the name makes it tempting to render the second half of it as relating to Latin fidius ‘more faithful’; but that leaves us without any way of explaining nem, which makes it rather wishful thinking.


Do you have any thoughts about the origin of the name? Any other examples of it? Please share in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

4 responses to “Mystery Monday: Nemfidius

  1. Jörg Knappen

    Nemfidius of Provence (ca. 700) is the pertinent namesake here. He was a Merowingian so let’s try a Germanic explanation of his name: I suggest a derivation from Nanth-frid ‘brave, daring’ + ‘peace’ with loss of the th of nanth and the loss of r of frid and following assimilation of sounds.

    The same name elements with reversed order give raise to the name Ferdinand.

    • Jörg Knappen

      I hadn’t Nymphidius in my mind, but I must admit that Nymphidius is a better match than Nanthfrid both in terms of phonological distance and popularity in the region and time of interest.

  2. Diego Segui

    This may be just the Roman name Nymphidius, of Greek origin, well attested in Provence up to the 7th century. See CIL XII.487 (year 489, Massiliae): “HIC REQUIESCET IN P[ACE] NYMFIDIUS EXPRA[EFECTUS?]”; then there is one Nymfidius governor of Arles (c. 618) in the Life of St. Rusticula (MGH Rerum Merov. IV 344); etc.

  3. Brian M. Scott

    Egon Felder, Die personennamen auf dem merowingischen Münzen der Bibliothèque nationale de France, München, 2003, p. 273, identifies the name with Greco-Latin Nymphidius:

    Die Varianten NEMFIDIVS, NIMFIDIVS mit griech.-lat. Nymphidius, griech. Νυφίδιος (griech. νυφίδιος ‘zur Braut gehörig’) zu verbinden, ist problemlos. Die bei den folgenden Belegen häufige Schreibung mit E statt I für y ist auffallend. Sie kann wohl als Indiz für den Zusammenfall von nebentonigem (< i) und ę gewertet werden. Im Gegensatz dazu steht die konstante I-Schreibung in der zweiten (haupttonigen) Silbe, die sich als Reflex eines Umlauts erklärt.

    Der NEMFIDIVS der folgenden Belege ist sicher identisch mit dem provenzalischen Patrizier Nemfidius. Weitere auf merowingischen Denaren bezeugte Patrizier sind ANTENOR (s. dort) und wohl auch ANSEDERT (s. unter ANS- bzw. -DERT).

    This is the same Nemfidius mentioned by Jörg Knappen. The associated name Antenor ~ Antener is also Greek, and Felder identifies a number of other names as Greek or Greco-Latin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.