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(s) we are not actually sure are variants of the same name or if they are distinct. On the one hand, in early 12th C France we have a number of examples (referring to the same woman) of the name Dameta. On the other hand, in Spain a few centuries later we have two examples of the name Damiata in distinct geographical contexts (Aragon and Valencia) as well as the possible diminutive form Miata.
Now, the latter form certainly brings to mind the important Egyptian city known medievally as both Damiata and Damietta. It’s unlikely that the personal name is taken directly from the place name (the pattern of naming children directly after cities or locations is a relatively modern pattern!), but is there possibly a connection between the two? Is Miata a pet form of Damiata or a different name? Is Dameta a variant, or entirely independent? Does the name appear anywhere else? (It’d be really cool to find it in Italy.) If you have any thoughts or further examples, please share them with us in the comments!