Mystery Monday: Mislie

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.

It took us awhile to pick today’s M-name, since there were a number of incomplete entries in the M’s that turned out to be easy to complete; so instead of finding a good mystery and writing up a post about it, we spent an hour or so finishing up entries (which is, after all, the main goal of writing up the mysteries, so we can’t complain too much!)

Today’s mystery comes from 13th C Germany, and is very strange:


Context makes it quite clear that it’s a masculine name, but it’s clearly a name the Latin scribe had difficulty with, because they didn’t even try to Latinize it, or add an appropriate nominative case ending.

We don’t recognise it at all, and have no guesses. If you have any clues to solve this mystery, please share them in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

4 responses to “Mystery Monday: Mislie

  1. Diego

    This is given as “Michael episcopus Cuiavie” in other transcriptions of the same document, e.g.:

    The fact that he is said to be bishop of Kuyavia makes the identification clear. See many mentions of him between 1222 and 1250 here:

    Whether “Mislie” is some kind of local form of “Michael” or just an error is beyond me.

  2. Jörg Knappen

    Where in Germany did you encounter this name? Dialectal clues can help a lot in this case.

    One hypothesis would identify this name as a byname or nickname meaning Mäuslein “little mouse”. To be plausible, the name should be recorded in a dialect region where the following features are prevalent (a) u is not diphthongised to au (b) unrounding of ü to i happens and (c) the ending -lin (non-diphthongised -lein) is shortened to li. This would direct us to the Southwest of the German linguistic area (Alsace, Switzerland, or Baden-Württemberg).

  3. Brian M. Scott

    The document is from Crusswitz, which seems to be Kruszwica in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland. The witness in question is Mislie episcopus Cuiavie, bishop of Cujavien. Cujavien turns out to be Włocławek (German Leslau), in the same voivodeship; the region around it is Kuyavia.

    According to the Supplement to August Potthast, Wegweiser durch die Geschichtswerke des Europäischen Mittelalters von 375-1500, p. 305, the bishop of Cujavien in 1230 was Michael Godziemba; this appears to be confirmed in the JSTOR preview of Karol Radonski, ‘A Polish Diocese’, Blackfriars, Vol. 25, No. 292 (JULY, 1944), pp. 249-254. It seems likely, therefore, that Mislie is some kind of error for Michael. This appears to be confirmed in Max Perlbach, Die ältesten preußischen Urkunden. Kritisch untersucht, p.4, in the footnote 16 that starts on p. 3 and lists several other errors.

  4. Jörg Knappen

    In addition to my previous comment: The surnames Müslin, Mäusel, Meusel, and Maisel are all extant in Germany.

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