Mystery Monday: Phyofius

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 looks like it should be easily identifiable as a classical name revived in Renaissance Italy — it has the look of a Latinized name of probably Greek origin (so many Phs…). But if that’s true, we haven’t been able to determine what the root Greek name is!

Phyofius

We have two examples, in slightly different spellings, from early 14th C Veneto, and so far we haven’t found any other instance of the name, even considering other variant spellings. There’s nothing like it in the LGPN or Liddell and Scott. So we’re rather clueless.

Do you have any thoughts? Other examples of the name? Please share in the comments!

5 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

5 responses to “Mystery Monday: Phyofius

  1. Diego

    The name appears as Phyossio on p. 173 of the same volume:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=xIY5JvYf0z4C&pg=PA173

    In another collection it is written Ziofio p. 436 (along with Phyofio p. 434):
    https://books.google.com/books?id=khvVG7gaLKAC&pg=PA436

    And in yet another there are gen. variants Feosii (pp. 211, 219, 254), Feofii (227, 228, 250, 255, 256), Feofi (244), Phioffi (258), Fiofii (260, 261):
    https://books.google.com/books?id=xYA5AQAAMAAJ

    All these refer to the same person. This Fiofius Maurocenus must be the same nobleman sent as an ambassador to Persia in 1300 (see http://www.jstor.org/stable/25802634 p. 609.)

    The alternation between f/s/z might indicate that the sounds were not too clear to begin with, i.e. maybe a foreign sound, although most members of the Maurocenus family bear traditional names (Michael, Rogerius, Dominicus, Franciscus etc.)

  2. Diego

    The name appears as Phyossio on p. 173 of the same volume:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=xIY5JvYf0z4C&pg=PA173

    In another collection it is written Ziofio p. 436 (along with Phyofio p. 434):
    https://books.google.com/books?id=khvVG7gaLKAC&pg=PA436

    And in yet another there are gen. variants Feosii (pp. 211, 219, 254), Feofii (227, 228, 250, 255, 256), Feofi (244), Phioffi (258), Fiofii (260, 261):
    https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=xYA5AQAAMAAJ

    The alternation between f/s/z might indicate that the sounds were not too clear to begin with, i.e. maybe a foreign sound. All these refer to the same person. This Fiofius Maurocenus must be the same nobleman sent as an ambassador to Persia in 1300 (see http://www.jstor.org/stable/25802634 p. 609)

    • Brian M. Scott

      I’d guess that these are attempts to represent the voiceless fricative [θ] of Greek Θεόφιλος; cf. Russian Фёдор from Θεόδωρος.

  3. Brian M. Scott

    A snippet view from Manlio Cortelazzo, L’influsso linguistico greco a Venezia, 1970, p. liv, probably answers the question:

    40. esempi di f solo in nomi propri: Fiophilo per Teofilo in Maggior Consiglio I 159 (a. 1228), spesso ripetuto: Fiofius Mauroceno, ib. 292, accanto a Tiofilus Mauroceno, ib. 289, già riconosciuto dall’Olivieri Cognomi 137;

    The Fiofius variant is found here in 1305 (Fiofius Mauroceno and Fiofius Maurocenus), and the Fiophilo example is here and here.

  4. This name is identified as a variant of Teofilo, mostly from the career of the late 13th/early 14th century man who bore it, Teofilo Morosini.
    “Le prénom [Teofilo] s’y présente souvent sous la forme Fiofius, Phiophius.”
    Two links to the same biographical description in different publications:
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7ePandJIniIC&lpg=PA575&ots=DKmbTD5nOC&dq=%22phiophius%22&pg=PA575#v=onepage&q=%22phiophius%22&f=false
    https://www.persee.fr/doc/rebyz_0766-5598_1966_num_24_1_1373

    Same man in 1305:
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=V_KqOCfBblUC&lpg=PA324&ots=u45gf4yPQj&dq=%22fiofius%22&pg=PA324#v=onepage&q=%22fiofius%22&f=false

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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.