Two case studies in massive cross-cultural onomastic corpora (1)

Yesterday we went down to Sheffield for the very interesting In the Name of History conference organised by James Chetwood. One of the themes of the day was what type of information historians can get from names that they can’t (easily/necessarily) get from other types of sources.

Medieval personal names encode unique data about cultural context that is often available in no other source. This information could function at the individual scale, such as when a tax role from Paris has a l’Anglais and a l’Escot, or a census from Rome has a fiorentina and a todescha. In a documentary context where the only information we are given is a name and either a taxation amount or a number of people in a household, quite often names encode information that would be in no other way accessible.

Names can also provide evidence of local phenomenon at a micro scale, at the level of cities or parishes, where the influence of local saint or dignitaries can sometimes be seen.

Finally, names can also provide cross-cultural information at a macro scale, such as how languages change and develop, how linguistic fads move, how (and when and where) names and naming pattern propagate. This macro scale can only be studied through massive cross-cultural onomastic corpora.

In our talk, we sketched two case studies of the type of things that can be seen from such a cross-cultural corpus, drawn from the data we’ve collected for the Dictionary (both published and unpublished citations): (1) Protestant naming practices in the late 16th C, and (2) the eclipse of Germanic names over the course of the 12th C.

We’ve discussed Protestant names before on the blog, but our point today was to use this data to argue against a conclusion which may seem appropriate when considering the English data alone, but which, in the presence of relevant contemporary French and Dutch data, is no longer warranted.

C. W. Bardsley in his Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature draws a distinction between Puritan names/naming practices and the effect of the Reformation more generally. He says:

We must at once draw a line between the Reformation and Puritanism. Previous to the Reformation, so far as the Church was concerned, there had been to a certain extent a system of nomenclature. The Reformation abrogated that system, but did not intentionally adopt a new one. Puritanism deliberately supplied a well-weighed and revised scheme (pp. 42-43).

If you look at English data — particularly after 1600 — it is certainly true that the Puritans adopted some distinctive names and naming types (“Praisegod”, “Fly-Fornication”, etc.) However, as our previous blog posts have shown, there is a distinctively Protestant trend in given names that can be identified if the French, Dutch, and English data is all analysed together. This cross-cultural analysis is required: Some of the trends that are visible across all three contexts would be merely a handful of isolated incidents if only one cultural context were considered. For example, if we consider New Testament masculine names exclude the names of the apostles, each of the three cultures have only a handful of examples. But when we compare the name lists from each, we see that there is a significant amount of overlap — while no name occurs in all three contexts, almost half occur in two, and not always the same two.
New Testament masculine names
From this, it is clear that these individual examples are all a part of a wider trend.

The case is similar when we look to virtue names. Virtue names are in many respects a quintessentially English phenomenon — almost all of the examples of virtue names used before 1600 occur in English contexts and also occur ONLY in English contexts. However, not all of them do, and there are some names which are best classified as virtue names which occur outside of England. Again, on their own, these handful of names would not be enough to provide any evidence for a wider pattern or trend. However, when we view all of the virtue names together, they do:
Virtue names
Memorantia and Opportune are both found in Protestant contexts, and are extremely atypical names for the wider Dutch and French naming pools in the 16th C (or earlier). They are best understood as being examples of a Protestant-wide trend towards virtue names, forcing us to look beyond the narrow scope of Puritanism.

This is but one case-study of the sorts of trends that you can only witness if you look at a broad set of data. We’ll cover another case-study in a future post!

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Mystery Monday: Hadolowald

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.

Since we’ve been revisiting Germanic themes recently, how about a round of “guess the prototheme”? The deuterotheme here is easy — Old Saxon wald, Old High German walt ‘power, authority’, but anyone want to hazard a guess at what the prototheme is? Leave your best guess in the comments!
Hadolowald

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Revisiting our hypotheses about dithematic Germanic names

About a year ago we discussed dithematic Germanic names in the Polyptyque d’Irminon, and part of our discussion included a list of names that we hadn’t yet found but we would not be surprised if we would find in future work. We thought it would be fun to revisit those hypothesized names and see how many of them we have since found examples of, both in the Polyptyque and elsewhere.

  • Adalbodus: One example in 9th C Germany
  • Adalbrandus: No examples yet.
  • Adalmundus: One example in 10th C England, one in 7th C France, and one in 10th C Italy.
  • Adalwaldus/Adaloaldus/Aloaldus: Numerous examples in 10th-12th C England, one from the Polyptyque, and one in 12th C Scotland
  • Adalwardus/Adaloardus: No examples yet.
  • Amalboldus: No examples yet.
  • Amalgarius: Two examples in 7th C France
  • Amalgaria: No examples yet.
  • Amalgis: No examples yet.
  • Amalgundus: No examples yet.
  • Amalindis: No examples yet.
  • Amaloinus: No examples yet.
  • Amalradus: No examples yet.
  • Anshilde/Ansoildis: No examples yet.
  • Bernefridus: One example in 12th C Germany.
  • Ebrefridus: No examples yet.
  • Eckfridus: Two examples from 11th C Spain.
  • Ermenbodus: No examples yet.
  • Ermelindis: No examples yet.
  • Ermenoinus: No examples yet.
  • Ermenradus: Numerous examples in 12th C Switzerland.
  • Framenildis: No examples yet.
  • Gisalfridus: One instance in 9th C France (available in the next edition)
  • Godildis/Godalildis: No examples yet.
  • Grimbertus: One example in 14th C France (!)
  • Lantboldus: One example in 8th C Austria.
  • Leutbrandus: One example in 10th C Austria, one in 10th C France, two in 9th C Germany, and one in 11th C Italy.
  • Leutgildis: No examples yet.
  • Madalgrimus: No examples yet.
  • Madalgundus: No examples yet.
  • Magenboldus: One example in 11th C Germany.
  • Nadalboldus: No examples yet.
  • Raganbodus: four examples in 14th C Czech Republic, one in 7th C Germany, one in 12th C Germany, two in 13th C Germany, four in 13th C Latvia, and two in 14th C Latvia.
  • Ragangarius: one in 11th C Belgium, seven in 12th C France, and one in 10th C Germany.
  • Ragangrimus: No examples yet.
  • Ricboldus: No examples yet.
  • Segoulfus: No examples yet.
  • Siclegardis: No examples yet.
  • Siclegaudus: No examples yet.
  • Siclindis: No examples yet.
  • Sigericus: two in 10th C England.
  • Sigmarus: No examples yet.
  • Sigmundus: one in 10th C Germany, four in 14th C Germany, one in 16th C Italy, one in 16th C Poland, three in 14th C Sweden.
  • Teutbrandus: two in 12th C Austria, two in 10th C France
  • Teutgildis: No examples yet.
  • Teuthelmus: No examples yet.
  • Teutmundus: No examples yet.
  • Teutsindis: No examples yet.
  • Teutoulfus: one in 13th C England, one in the Polyptyque, five in 9th C Germany, two in 10th C Germany.
  • Winetrudis: No examples yet.
  • Winegundus: No examples yet.
  • Winehardus: No examples yet.
  • Winehelmus: No examples yet.
  • Winildis/Winoildis: No examples yet.
  • Winelindis: No examples yet.

Out of 55 hypothesized names, we’ve found 18 (32.7%), albeit only two in the Polyptyque — but this is more likely an artefact of the sources we’ve been focusing on in the last year. There are still more Polyptyque names to be transcribed!

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The DMNES at ICOS 2017

We’ve been having a wonderful week here in Debrecen so far for the International Congress on Onomastic Sciences. On Monday editorial assistant Dr. Mariann Slíz presented on the translation of personal names in Latin, German, and Czech charters in medieval Hungary, and on Tuesday our editor, Dr. Sara L. Uckelman, presented the Dictionary in a special symposium on International Onomastic Cooperations and Projects, coming away with many expressions of interest and offers of collaboration. (We may have found a way to fill that Lithuania-sized gap in our coverage…)

We’ve been actively tweeting the sessions and plenary talks we’ve been at (with 5-8 parallel sessions it’s been great to follow the tweeters in talks we can’t be at!), and you can catch up on all the fun at #ICOS2017. We have compiled a bit of a report for the presentations by our staff members. Start here for a summary of Dr. Slíz’s talk:

And for the DMNES presentation by Dr. Uckelman (which, naturally, I couldn’t tweet), we’ve Storified all the relevant tweet discussion and photos: The DMNES at ICOS 2017.

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Publication of Edition 2017, no. 1.

Well, the last year has been busier than we wanted (with, sadly, entirely non-DMNES related projects), but despite this busyness, we are delighted to announce the publication of Edition 2017, No. 1, just in time for ICOS 2017.

We have significantly deepened our coverage of Austria, Brittany, Hungary, Italy, and Sweden, and extended our reach to Croatia. The new edition contains 54515 citations (5653 more than the previous edition) distributed over 2322 entries (214 new entries since our previous edition). These new entries are the following:

Men’s names

Adalhelm
Adalhoh
Adalmar
Agapetus
Agerbert
Agino
Aodh
Arthuiu
Asa
Baldo
Bernwald
Bernwin
Blaise
Bran
Cadhoiarn
Cadwobri
Content
Conwal
Cumdelu
Dadbert
Dobeslav
Ecco
Eckrich
Engelfrid
Engelher
Engelrich
Engelschalk
Faber
Gainard
Gandulf
Gangwolf
Gaudiosus
Gentile
Gerhoh
Gerich
Giolla Íosa
Gratioso
Gundulf
Gwynhoiarn
Hademar
Hesso
Hezelo
Hildeman
Hohold
Jason
John-Baptist
John-Louis
John-Mark
John-Thomas
Julius Caesar
Lucan
Madalger
Maenwobri
Malachi
Master
Ratbald
Rathard
Rathelm
Ratimir
Reinhoh
Rhyshoiarn
Sabin
Sigerich
Tasso
Theodwald
Thorbiorn
Thorgil
Uno
Valerian
Victorius
Waldgaud
Waldo
Walthad
Wanegar
Wendelfrid
Wolfgang
Zenobius

Women’s names
Aclewalda
Altadonna
Altafons
Angelica
Anima
Aurelia
Bonabella
Conrade
Caspera
Donagnesia
Eda
Ediva
Emily
Feliciana
Gentle
Gerbalda
Gersinde
Hildeberta
Hildenibia
Hildewalde
Jaca
Kale
Madalgaria
Madalhilde
Madaltrude
Mariantonia
Mary-Joan
Mathurine
Maximiliana
Meintrude
Michal
Precious
Ratberga
Ratberta
Reinberga
Reinwar
Richberga
Rosamund
Rustica
Susan
Swanhilde
Valeriana
Walda
Wilhilde

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Some very special Biblical forms of names

York Gospels

York Gospels, York Minster, © Sara L. Uckelman, 2017

One of the long-term adjunct projects of the Dictionary is to look at how various names are spelled in the earliest vernacular translations of the Bible, because these translations had a significant influence on how the names were spelled when they were used in common currency. Because there are so many Biblical names and so many vernacular translations produced before 1600, added the citations to the relevant entries is an on-going process; we can generally add the Middle English forms from the Wycliffite translation of 1395 right at the start because there is a handy online searchable version of it available. For other Biblical names, we are slowly working through the alphabet adding for (cf., e.g., Aaron, which has forms from the Wycliffite Bible, the Geneva Bible of 1560, and in the next edition will have citations from the Sagrados Escrituras of 1569).

The vast majority of the time, the DMNES editors do data collection for the Dictionary via printed editions; we simply do not have the time, volunteer power, or money to work solely with manuscripts. But every once in awhile, we do get to have an encounter with a manuscript that has names in it, and last weekend on a trip to York, our editor-in-chief had a manuscript encounter which involved both early Bibles and names. In the undercroft of York minster, the York Gospels are on display. The Minster’s website says of the Gospels:

The York Gospels were brought to York in around 1020 by Archbishop Wulfstan and the 1,000 year old text is still used in services today. The Anglo-Saxon book is one of the most valuable in York Minster’s collection and is one of the few surviving items from the Saxon Minster, the location for which is unknown today.

It contains four Gospels rather than the whole bible and is filled with elaborate illustrations as well as a letter from King Canute dated around 1019. It’s believed its original pages were written in Canterbury in around 990AD, with additional pages added to the manuscript by the Dean and Chapter after they arrived in York.

The Gospels are currently on display in the cathedral’s Revealing York Minster in the Undercroft attraction. The book is stored behind glass but visitors can turn virtual pages of the book to take a closer look at some of the illuminated pages using touch screen displays adjacent to the case.

Often when a manuscript Bible is on display, a page with a fancy illuminated initial, or a whole-page picture, are chosen; these are the eye-catching ones that display the true beauty and skill of medieval artwork. But the York Gospel has a rather plain and simple spread on display, something that might seem boring or ordinary to the average viewer.

But to the onomast?

The page that’s on display contains part of the genealogy of Jesus, and thus it gives us first-hand knowledge of how scribes rendered these names in Latin in the 10th C.

What could be more beautiful?

…who was of Aram, who was of Efrom, who was of Phares, who was of Iudea, who was of Iacob, who was of Isaac, who was of Abraha, who was of Thare, who was of Nachor, who was of Seruch, who was of Ragau, who was of Phaleg, who was of Eber, who was of Sala, who was of Cainan, who was of Arfaxat, who was of Sem, who was of Noe, who was of Lamech, who was of Matusale, who was of Enoh, who was of Iared, who was of Malalehel, who was of Chainan, who was of Enos, who was of Seth, who was of Adam, who was of God.

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Mystery Monday: Gutusius

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 is yet another delving into the Italian names we have not yet identified, this time a masculine name from 14th-century Rome.
Gutusius
Have you any thoughts about its origin (likely Germanic)? Seen any other examples of the name? Please share in the comments!

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