- April 1: Eleanor of Aquitaine died in 1204.
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- April 6: Raphael, the Italian painter, died in 1520.
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- April 11: Stephen IV of Hungary died in 1165.
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- April 13: Paul the Deacon, monk and historian, died in 799.
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- April 16: Adelaide del Vasto, queen consort of Jerusalem, died in 1118.
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- April 19: Pope Leo IX died in 1054.
- April 20: Pope Boniface VIII founded Sapienza Universita Roma in 1303.
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- April 23: Dagobert III was crowned king of the Franks in 711.
- April 24: William the Silent was born in 1533.
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- April 28: Edward IV of England was born in 1442.
- April 29: Saint Catherine of Siena died in 1380.
- April 30: Amalasuntha, queen of the Ostrogoths, died in 534/535.
Tag Archives: Paul
We’re in the home stretch with the Biblical names! In this our final post on this sub-topic of our monthly topic, we look at the New Testament men’s names of Greek and Roman origin.
Names of Greek origin
The first batch we can set aside as being unable to tell us anything unique about Protestant naming practices for the same reason we set aside the names of the four evangelists in the previous post: The names of the apostles. Among the apostle names of Greek origin we have we have Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Simon, all of which were popular throughout the Middle Ages across Europe; for similar reasons, the name of the first martyr, Stephen, was also a continual favorite.
So, what New Testament names of Greek origin seem to have gained a new popularity in the 16th C?
Cleopas: The name of the disciple who encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus, this name was rarely used in England in the 16th C.
Epaphras (entry still being written): The name of a disciple from Colossae, we have one example of this name from the Protestant Church at Caen in the 16th C.
Theophilus: The name of the person to whom the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were addressed, we also have a single example of the name from Caen in the 16th C.
Timothy: The name of the recipient of two epistles by Paul, Withycombe and Bardsley differ on the use of this name in England; Withycombe notes that the name didn’t come into use until after the Reformation, while Bardsley includes Timothy in the list of Biblical names in use before the Reformation (p. 36). Further research will allow us to arbitrate this question, but in the meantime, we certainly have clear evidence for the use of the name in 16th C England and 16th C French.
Curiously, we don’t (yet) have examples of any of these four names in Dutch Protestant contexts.
Names of Roman origin
In this class of names we have Paul, which like the names of the disciples and Stephen, was used throughout medieval Europe. It was never as popular, though, in England, until the 16th C, though it doesn’t show us quite the same spike in usage that some of the other names we’ve discussed have had.
Which leaves us with Crescent, the name of a minor character, of which we one example from 16th C England.
From this we can see that, yes, amongst the Biblical names that first came into use among Protestants in the second half of the 16th C, there was a special predilection for names of Hebrew origin, but the fad for Biblical names was not exclusive to the Hebraic ones, especially amongst the women’s names. Any minor character was fair game — and we have no doubt that as we continue to collect data, we’ll find both more examples of the names we’ve covered in this series, and new examples of obscure Biblical names.
Though we’ve come to the end of the Biblical names, we are not quite done with this series. There is one final class of names which have a right to be called distinctly Protestant names, which we will devote our final postin this series to: Virtue names!
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)!