- July 1: Feast day of Saint Aaron.
- July 2: Elizabeth Tudor was born in 1492.
- July 3: Hugh Capet was crowned king of the Franks in 987.
- July 4: Saint Ulrich of Augsburg died in 974.
- July 5: Joan of the Tower, queen consort of Scotland, was born in 1321.
- July 6: Richard the Lion-Heart ascended the throne of England in 1189.
- July 7: Madeleine of Valois died in 1537.
- July 8: Saint Grimbald died in 903.
- July 9: Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg was born in 1511.
- July 10: Emperor Hadrian died in 138.
- July 11: Martin Frobisher sights Greenland in 1576.
- July 12: Hartmann Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle is printed in 1493.
- July 13: Alexander III is crowned king of the Scots.
- July 14: Louis VIII became king of France in 1223.
- July 15: Saint Bonaventure died in 1274.
- July 16: Saint Clare of Assisi was born in 1194.
- July 17: Count Baldwin VI of Flanders died in 1070.
- July 18: Godfrey de Bouillon, crusader knight, died in 1100.
- July 19: Philipa of Lancaster died in 1415.
- July 20: Claude, queen of France, died in 1524.
- July 21: Feast day of Saint Victor of Marseilles.
- July 22: William Wallace is defeated at the Battle of Falkirk.
- July 23: Saint Bridget of Sweden died in 1373.
- July 24: Mathilda of Tuscany died in 1115.
- July 25: Casimir I the Restorer was born in 1016.
- July 26: Pope Celestine died in 432.
- July 27: Conrad II of Italy died in 1101.
- July 28: Rodrigo de Bastedas, conquistador and explorer, died in 1527.
- July 29: Olaf II of Norway died in 1030.
- July 30: Italian painter Giorgio Vasari was born in 1511.
- July 31: Ignatius of Loyola died in 1556.
Tag Archives: Louis
- 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.
- March 1: Louis the Pious was restored as Holy Roman Emperor in 834.
- March 2: Dirk VI becomes count of Holland in 1121.
- March 3: Dutch theologian Gijsbert Voet was born in 1589.
- March 4: Saint Adrian of Nicomedia was martyred in 306.
- March 5: David II of Scotland was born in 1324.
- March 6: Ferdinand Magellan arrives in Guam in 1521.
- March 7: Emperor Constantine declares Sunday a day of rest i n321.
- March 8: Urraca of León and Castile died in 1126.
- March 9: Saint Frances of Rome died in 1440.
- March 10: Agnes Blannbekin, Austrian mystic, died in 1315.
- March 11: Marie de France, Countess of Champagne, died in 1198.
- March 12: Cesare Borgia died in 1507.
- March 13: The bones of St Nicephorus were interred in Constantinople in 874.
- March 14: Catherine Cornaro, queen of Cyprus, sold Cyrpus to Venice in 1489.
- March 15: On this day in 44BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March.
- March 16: On this day in 1485, Anne Neville, queen consort of England, died.
- March 17: The feast of Saint Patrick.
- March 18: Edward the Martyr, king of the English, died in 978.
- March 19: Alexander III of Scotland died in 1286.
- March 20: Cecily of York, daughter of Edward IV, was born in 1469.
- March 21: St. Angela Merici was born in 1474.
- March 22: Ferdinand II commissioned Amerigo Vespucci in 1508.
- March 23: Margaret d’Anjou was born in 1430.
- March 24: Harun al-Rashid died in 809.
- March 25: Blanche of Lancaster was born in 1345.
- March 26: Conrad II was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1027.
- March 27: Rachel Akerman, Austrian poet, was born in 1522.
- March 28: Saint Theresa of Ávila was born in 1515.
- March 29: Arthur I of Brittany was born in 1187.
- March 30: Saint Quirinus of Neuss died in 116.
- March 31: Francis I of France died in 1547.
In our previous post, we surveyed the percentage of diminutive and hypocoristic forms in the Dictionary’s dataset sorted according to modern countries, and one stand-out surprise was Estonia: Over 40% of our citations are nicknames of some form! Why is it that diminutives and hypocoristics were so popular in medieval Estonia?
Well, we aren’t exactly in a position to answer the why, but we can look at the what — what are the types of nickname patterns that we see, do they differ between men and women, can we say anything interesting about these patterns vs. those in nearby countries? That’s what we will explore in this post.
First, the feminine names: Only two of the nicknames belong to women, and both come from a Middle Low German contexts. The first is, in the vocabulary we introduced, a hypocoristic, formed by taking a name and truncating it to make a pet form. The example is Barbar, from Barbara. This same diminutive also shows up in Latvia, again in MLG contexts. The second is a diminutive, formed by adding the Low German diminutive suffix -ke, to the root name Anne, to result in the form Anneke. As with Barbar, Anneke also shows up in Latvia at roughly the same time.
This leaves over 600 diminutive forms left, of which nearly 10% — 53 — are Hans, a German hypocoristic of Johannes, one of the standard Latin forms of John, and if we add variants such as Hannes, Han, Hanß, etc., the number rises significantly. From about the middle of the 12th C on, John quickly became far and away the most popular man’s name throughout Europe. In German dialects, Hans, Hanns, Hannes, etc., were often as much more popular than Johannes or Johan than these names were than the next most popular.
So, one answer to the ‘why’ is: Because Low German was a standard documentary language in late medieval Estonia, and the most popular masculine name in late medieval Low German contexts was a diminutive, so that is why there are so many diminutives in medieval Estonia. (This, however, doesn’t address the other why question, which is why the nickname forms were more common than full forms!)
Hans makes up just under 10% of the masculine nicknames; a large percentage of the remainder are covered by just a handful of other names: Cord, Kord, Kort, a Low German hypocoristic of Conrad; Hintze, Hennyng, Hennynck, Heine, from Henry; Cleys, Clauwes, Claues, Claes, Cleys, Clawes, and numerous other hypocoristics of Nicholas; Ludike and Ludeke, from Louis; and Wynyke, a diminutive of any of various names beginning with wini ‘friend’. Other less common names also give rise to hypocoristics, such as Bastian, from Sebastian; Brosius, from Ambrose; and Aßmuß from Erasmus.
So much for the ordinary, every day nicknames, your Estonian Tom, Dick, and Harry, if you will. Let’s explore some of the unusual ones!
- Nicknames of Constantine: Coest, Kosst.
- Nicknames of Habakukk: Habbo, Köke, Kock.
- Nickname of Hubert: Hoppe.
- Nicknames of Jacob: Jaeck, Jack, Jacho, Kowpy, koup.
- Nickname of Joachim: Jachi.
- Nicknames of Joseph: Jessa, Seppo.
One thing of note is that many of these unusual hypocoristics derive from Biblical names.
We’ll close by looking at one name which, across Europe, is one of the most prolific spawner of nicknames: Theodoric. In Estonia alone, the name rivals John in popularity, and we have seventeen different nickname forms — most of which are diminutives of hypocoristics: Tideke, Tideken, Tideman, Tidike, Tijdeke, Tijdeman, Tijdike, Tile, Tous, Tydedeynk, Tydek, Tydeke, Tydeken, Tydeman, Tydike, Tydiken, Tyman.
This will not be the last time we see Theodoric when exploring this month’s topic!
What is fascinating about diminutive suffixes is how you can trace linguistic contact and language relationships through diminutive forms. We saw that in our previous post, with the similarity between German and Dutch diminutives, and we will see it again when we look at the French diminutives -el and -in. In this post, we look at Slavic diminutives — suffixes used in Poland, the Ukraine, and the Czech Republic — which share a clear relationship with Low German -ke(n). We concentrate on the two most common suffix types: -ko and -ek for men and -ka and -ek(a) for women.
As with the German suffixes, these show up in Latin contexts at least as early as the 13th C. [1,2] But unlike some of the German diminutive forms, which for the most part were rarer than the root names, Slavic diminutives often eclipsed the root name in popularity — for example, in the Czech Republic, diminutive forms of Judith far outstrip the full form.
In what is now modern-day Czech Republic, the suffix -ka was often spelled -ca (especially in Latin contexts where k was often avoided) or with an added sibilant, either before or after the \k\, resulting in -zca, -zka, -kza, etc. Examples of this include Anka (from Anne) and Elsca, Elzca, and Elzka (from Elizabeth). Often, this suffix was added not to the full form of the name, but to a hypocoristic from — as in the forms of Elizabeth just noted. In particular, native Slavic names were often truncated before the diminutive suffix was added, as we see in the names Sdynka, Zdincza, Zdinka (from Zdeslava) and Budka, Budcza (from Budislava). As a result, it can be often difficult to identify what the root name is, which is the case with many of the masculine examples we currently have. Given their linguistic and geographic context, masculine names such as Boczko, Czenko, Daszko, Luczko, Parcko, Raczko, Steczko, and Wyrsko are almost all certainly diminutives, though as of yet we haven’t yet confidently identified the root names.
Our data from Poland, at this point, is still relatively limited, but even amongst the handful of diminutive forms that we have, we can see the influence of the Slavic construction in forms such as Ludeko (from Louis), another example of which we find in Lübeck a few years later. What we tend to see more in our limited Polish data is similarity with German suffixes, in particular one which we didn’t discuss in our previous post: -el. When we discuss German masculine diminutive suffixes, we’ll return to this!
Finally, let’s look at Ukraine. As with Poland, our data from the Ukraine is still quite limited, and yet, even amongst that limited data we have a surprisingly large percentage of diminutive forms (making up nearly 7%!) . We see both the -(z)ko and -ek suffixes in this data, as witnessed by Iaczko (from Jacob), Iwanko (from John), and Muszyk (root name not yet identified), on the masculine side, and Marsucha (from Mary) on the feminine side.
One must be leery of drawing any strong conclusions from the limited data that we’ve gathered so far. Nevertheless, even in this small data set we have ample illustration of the variety of ways in which diminutives could be formed, and evidence of their popularity.
 Artsikhovskii, A. V., et al. Novgorodskie gramoty na bereste, Vols I-VII. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1953-78, no. 348.
 Moroshkin, Mikhail. Slavianskii imenoslov ili sobranie slavianskikh lichnykh imen. Saint Petersburg: n.p., 1867, p. 124.
 Compare that with, say, England or Spain, where diminutives make up 3%, or Sweden, where it is 4%.
Earlier this month over on Twitter, we started an #OnThisDay series, which every day highlights an individual associated with an important medieval event and gives a link to the relevant Dictionary entry for that person’s given name. Here’s a summary of the September onomastic calendar:
- September 22: Anne of Cleves, future wife of Henry VIII, was born in 1515.
- September 23: Yolande of Valois was born in 1434.
- September 24: Ralph de Stafford was born in 1301.
- September 25: Louis III of Naples was born in 1403.
- September 26: William II of England was crowned king in 1087.
- September 27: Ermentrude, queen of the Franks, was born in 823.
- September 28: Gertrude, queen of Hungary, was murdered in 1213.
- September 29: Margaret, queen of Scots, was born in 1240.
- September 30: Yaroslav II, grand prince of Vladimir, died in 1246.
We’ll do a similar summary at the end of each month.
Last week we investigated the ‘most popular’ medieval names for women, including a long discursus on why the scare quotes. All the same caveats hold when we turn to look at the men’s names: Without access to systematic data that counts individuals only once and provides the same level of coverage in every place and time, there is no way to say definitively what the most popular medieval given names were.
Unsurprisingly, the list of men’s names that I review on a daily basis because I can pretty much guarantee some editorial assistant has added new citations of is longer than the list of women’s name. And many of the names on it will strike few as surprising (though I personally find it interesting how they cluster into pairs or triples in terms of the letter they start with, and how weighted towards the end of the alphabet they are):
These names have remained enduringly popular, with all of them showing up in, e.g., the top 100 of the Top Names Over the Last 100 Years in the US (John: 2; Robert, 3; William, 5; Richard: 7; Charles, 9; Thomas, 10; Paul: 17; Jacob: 34; Henry: 52; Peter: 55; Walter, 57; Roger, 66; Philip, ; 94note that since this counts individual variant spellings, rather than combining all variants together, this list separates Jacob from James, which comes in at no. 1).
But others on the list may be more surprising — names that have fallen out of common use, or which while still familiar nowadays may not strike one as especially typical of the Middle Ages. These names are:
Of these, the two that I found the most surprising — the ones I hadn’t really realized were as popular as they are until we started compiling such a huge corpus — are Louis and Theodoric. Louis, from its early Latinized form Hludowicus to its modern forms such as Louis, Lewis, Lodovico, Ludwig, and Luis, was an amazingly productive name, showing up in all cultures touched by the Carolingian empire, and, later, France (there being more medieval French kings named Louis than any other name). The popularity of Theodoric can be traced back to Theoderic the Great, ruler of the Ostrogoths at the fall of the western Roman empire. His deeds entered legend, and his name spread across Europe, spawing many variants and diminutives: In fact, more distinct spellings of this name are recorded than any other name we have catalogued so far (and that includes John!). In French, it became T(h)ierry; in Dutch, Derek and Dirk; in High German, Dietrich; in Low German, Diderik. The range of diminutive forms includes examples that a non-expert would scoff at as related: Who would think that Thidemann, Dytlin, Dietz, Tile, Tous, Tijdeke, and Thierrion are all nicknames of the same name?
All of these entries are already quite diverse in the citations they include, but will only become more so in the future. Mark your calendars, we are one week away from the publication of the next edition (our final one of 2015)!