- May 1: Mathilda of Scotland died in 1118.
- May 2: Anne Boleyn was arrested for treason in 1536.
- May 3: Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, was born in 1415.
- May 4: John Wyclif and Jan Hus are condemned as heretics at the Council of Constance in 1415.
- May 5: Gerberga of Saxony died in 968/9 or 984.
- May 6: Dieric Bouts, Dutch painter, died in 1475.
- May 7: Remigius de Fécamp died in 1059.
- May 8: Pope Saint Benedict II died in 685.
- May 9: Hernando de Alarcón set sail for the Gulf of California in 1540.
- May 10: Emperor Claudius Gothicus was born in 210.
- May 11: Anne of Bohemia, queen consort of England, was born in 1366.
- May 12: Berengaria of Navarre was crowned queen of England in 1191.
- May 13: Julian of Norwich experienced her mystical visions in 1373.
- May 14: Simon de Montfort became de facto ruler of England in 1264.
- May 15: Mary Queen of Scots married her third husband, James, Earl of Bothwell, in 1567.
- May 16: Baldwin I was crowned Latin emperor of Constantinople in 1204.
- May 17: Anne of Denmark was crowned queen of Scotland in 1590.
- May 18: Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II of England in 1152.
- May 19: Saint Alcuin of York died in 804.
- May 20: Abraham Ortelius issued the first modern atlas in 1570.
- May 21: Albrecht Dürer was born in 1471.
- May 22: Saint Rita of Cascia died in 1457.
- May 23: Girolamo Savonarola was burned to death in 1498.
- May 24: Magnus Ladulås was crowned king of Sweden in 1276.
- May 25: Pope Boniface IV died in 615.
- May 26: Saint Augustine of Canterbury died in 604.
- May 27: Ludovico Sforza died in 1508.
- May 28: Caterina Sforza died in 1509.
- May 29: Philip VI was crowned king of France in 1328.
- May 30: Jerome of Prague was burned for heresy in 1416.
- May 31: Manuel I of Portugal was born in 1469.
Tag Archives: Berengaria
A short and busy month is drawing to a close, but we still have time for one more post on this month’s monthly topic!
We started off the month acknowledging the ubiquity of feminine forms of masculine names, many of which are dithematic (compound) names of Germanic or Scandinavian origin, where the feminine and masculine forms differ solely on the basis of their Latinate ending. One conclusion that we can draw from this is that in the construction of these names — which are drawn from pools of protothemes (first elements) and deuterothemes (second elements) — there is a significant overlapping in the pools of elements. In this post we look at the opposite phenomenon: Are there any themes that are uniquely used by men or uniquely used by women? Does it make a difference whether they are used as protothemes or deuterothemes? Can we draw any conclusion from the meaning of a theme to whether it’s likely to be used purely by women or purely by men? Let’s find out!
The Dictionary currently has a glossary of 300 elements which are found in dithematic names, the vast majority of which are Germanic in origin (the Slavic and Celtic themes make up a small percentage, and there are vanishingly few themes of Latin origin). In some cases, we simply don’t have enough examples of names involving particular themes to draw any conclusions about whether they were used solely for one gender or another, so what follows are merely observations rather than conclusions.
Old Saxon and Old High German bero ‘bear’ was used as a prototheme by both men and women, in names such as Bernard and Bernarde, Berengar and Berengaria, etc., but so far, our only examples of the name as a deuterotheme come from masculine names, such as Everbern, Gerbern (the same origin as Berengar, just with the themes reversed!), and Gisbern.
Despite numerous masculine names with Old High German or Old Icelandic brant ‘fire, brand’ as a deuterotheme (Aldebrand, Albrand, Gerbrand, Gumbrand, Herbrand, Hildebrand, Liutbrand, Theobrand, Ulbrand, Wilbrand, and Wulfbrand), we do not yet have any feminine name using this deuterotheme. The name Brenda is often derived from this element, but our single example of this name is from 14th C Italy, and a Germanic origin is not especially likely.
One of the clearest case of ‘gendered’ deuterothemes is the theme which is often spelled modernly -trude, as in the name Gertrude. This theme can derive from either Proto-Germanic *þrūþ ‘strength’ or Proto-Germanic *trut ‘maiden’, and in the case of feminine names, it is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to tell which is the origin. It was quite a popular deuterotheme in women’s names (Acletrude, Adaltrude, Agintrude, Aldetrude, Altrude, Amaltrude, Arntrude, Erchamtrude, Ermentrude, Falatrude, Framtrude, Gautrude, Giseltrude, Gertrude, Hildetrude, Ingaltrude, Ingitrude, Landetrude, Nadaltrude, Ratrude, Rectrude, Reintrude, Walantrude, Wandetrude, Weltrude, Wiseltrude, and Wulftrude), but is only ever found as a prototheme in men’s names, where the *þrūþ origin must be favored.
Having seen the popularity in feminine names of an element that may derive from the word for ‘maiden’, the next two gendered themes shouldn’t be surprising: Old Saxon, Old Dutch, Old Frisian wīf ‘wife, woman’ appears only in feminine names (our two so far are Bernewif, to appear in the next edition, and Hetelwif), and the same is true of Old English cwen ‘woman, wife; queen’ (which can be found in the name Queniva, to appear in the next edition). On the masculine side of things, Old English eorl, Old Saxon erl ‘earl, man’ appears only in masculine names (cf. Herluin), while Old High German karl, Old English ceorl was used as a standalone name rather than a part of compounds, and Old High German man, Old English mann ‘man’ is only found as deuterothemes only in masculine names. Interestingly, we have one example of the former used as a feminine prototheme, in the name Manswith.
How about other meanings? There may be themes which one might specifically associate with one gender over the other on the basis of their meaning, even if that meaning is not directly identical with a gender. We look at such examples now; they are rarer than one might think. The only theme which is specifically associated with a particular gender which has a meaning that is more often associated with women than men is Proto-Germanic *linþaz ‘gentle, sweet, mild’ (found in Aclinde, Adalinde, Belelinde, Erlinde, Frotlinde, Gautlinde, Gerlinde, Godelinde, Hadelinde, Idelinde, Madalinde, Richlinde, and Theodelinde). On the masculine side, Proto-Germanic *mērijaz ‘famous’ is well attested, but only in men’s names. On the other hand themes such as Old High German hold ‘comely, graceful’, which one might expect to be more closely tied to women’s names, have nearly equal numbers of men’s names as women’s names using this element, both as a prototheme and as a deuterotheme. Likewise, one might expect to find words for ‘war’, ‘battle’, or ‘warrior’, but Old High German gund, Old Icelandic gunnr, guðr ‘war, battle’ were used in names of both genders, while Old English hild, Old Icelandic hildr ‘battle’, and Old High German hiltja ‘battle’ is most commonly used as a prototheme in masculine names and as a deuterotheme in feminine names.
Thus, about as far as one can go in terms of determining gender on the basis of the meaning of one of the elements is that if one of the words specifically names a particular gender, and that word is used as a deuterotheme, then the gender of the name will match the gender picked out. But even slight extrapolations are not tenable: When these words are used as protothemes, there is no guarantee of a match. Further, while in rare cases there may be themes which are uniquely used by one gender only, where the meaning is something one would more commonly associate with that gender over the other, the meaning alone cannot be taken as a guide to gender.
- December 1: Anna Komnene was born in 1083.
- December 2: Gerard Mercator died in 1594.
- December 3: Berengar I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 915.
- December 4: Theobald II of Navarre died in 1270.
- December 5: Pope Julius II was born in 1443.
- December 6: Baldassare Castiglione was born in 1478.
- December 7: Saint Columba was born in 521.
- December 8: Mary Queen of Scots was born in 1542.
- December 9: Malcolm IV of Scotland died in 1165.
- December 10: Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa in 1510.
- December 11: Llywellyn, last sovereign Prince of Wales, died in battle in 1282.
- December 12: Stephen Báthory, king of Poland, died in 1586.
- December 13: Pope Celestine V resigns the papacy in 1294.
- December 14: James V of Scotland died in 1542.
- December 15: Basil II, emperor of the Byzantine Empire, died in 1025.
- December 16: Henry VI was crowned king of France in 1431.
- December 17: William I Longsword was assassinated in 942.
- December 18: Theodulf of Orleans died in 821.
- December 19: Agnes, Duchess of Burgundy, died in 1327.
- December 20: Margaret of Provence, queen of France, died in 1295.
- December 21: Pope Honorius II was elected in 1124.
- December 22: Stephen of Blois was crowned king of England in 1135.
- December 23: Berengaria of Navarre, Queen of England, died in 1230.
- December 24: Constance of Austria, queen of Poland, was born in 1588.
- December 25: Merry Christmas!
- December 26: Arthur III of Brittany died in 1458.
- December 27: German mathematician Johannes Kepler was born in 1571.
- December 28: Alaric II became king of the Visigoths in 484.
- December 29: Thomas Beckett was murdered in 1170.
- December 30: Vasily I of Moscow was born in 1371.
- December 31: Eleonora Gonzaga was born in 1493.