- April 1: Eleanor of Aquitaine died in 1204.
- April 2: Baldwin I of Jerusalem died in 1118.
- April 3: Edward the Confessor was crowned king of England in 1042.
- April 4: Francis Drake was knight for circumnavigating the world in 1581.
- April 5: Isabella of Hainault, queen of France, was born in 1170.
- April 6: Raphael, the Italian painter, died in 1520.
- April 7: Empress Mathilda becomes Lady of the English in 1141.
- April 8: Barbara of Hesse, Duchess of Württemberg-Mömpelgard, was born in 1536.
- April 9: Lorenzo dei Medici died in 1492.
- April 10: Gabrielle d’Estrées, mistress of Henry IV of France, died in 1599.
- April 11: Stephen IV of Hungary died in 1165.
- April 12: Antonio de Sangallo, Italian architect, was born in 1485.
- April 13: Paul the Deacon, monk and historian, died in 799.
- April 14: Abraham Ortelius, cartographer, was born in 1527.
- April 15: Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452.
- April 16: Adelaide del Vasto, queen consort of Jerusalem, died in 1118.
- April 17: Bernard, king of the Lombards, died in 818.
- April 18: Lucrezia Borgia was born in 1480.
- April 19: Pope Leo IX died in 1054.
- April 20: Pope Boniface VIII founded Sapienza Universita Roma in 1303.
- April 21: Saint Anselm of Canterbury died in 1109.
- April 22: Our editor in chief, Sara Uckelman, was born.
- April 23: Dagobert III was crowned king of the Franks in 711.
- April 24: William the Silent was born in 1533.
- April 25: Sancho IV the Brave, king of Castille, died in 1295.
- April 26: Simonetta Vespucci died in 1476.
- April 27: Ferdinand Magellan died in 1521.
- 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: Raphael
An Onomastic Calendar: April
Filed under dictionary entries
Protestant names: New Testament influences on men’s names (part 1)
The month is nearing the end, but what we have to say about Protestant influences on naming practices in the second half of the 16th C certainly isn’t! The list of men’s names drawn from the New Testament is long enough that we may not get through all of it in one post, but let’s give it a go and see how far we can get. As we did with the woman’s names, we’ll organize these according to linguistic origin — Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and Other — with the exception of two groups of four names.
If there’s one group of Biblical names whose popularity was thoroughly entrenched in Christian Europe from a relatively early date, it’s the names of the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Two of the names are Hebrew in origin, one is Greek, and one is Roman: And all four were enduringly popular. It is hard to say, given our current data, when their popularity dates from, specifically, but there is clear evidence that there was a sea-change in naming practices across Europe in the 12th C: At the beginning of the century, secular Germanic names are still numerous throughout much of continental Europe, while by the end, John in all its variants is clearly beginning to be favored; this century marks the beginning of ascent to the position of “most popular name”, a position it dominated in pretty much every western Christian culture from then until the late 20th C. The names of the other evangelists were never as popular — in comparison, Luke was relatively rare — but the names were equally embraced by Protestants, Catholics, and Puritans alike.
The other group of four names is mark out by the conspicuous absence of one of them: Of the names traditionally given to the four archangels, only Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael ever made it into common use (all three were used throughout Europe, but only Michael can be said to have been popular). In the more than two decades that I have been researching names, I have not yet found a pre-1600 person named Uriel. (Which is not to say we won’t still, in our research: If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s to never say never. If you hunt long enough, you’ll find pretty much any name.)
Names of Hebrew origin
Ananias: In our previous post we noted that Ananias was so closely associated with Puritanism in England that it became a cant term, and we also pointed out that both Ananias and his wife Sapphira are surprising choices of people to name your child after. So it is especially interesting that the one example of this name that we have so far isn’t even from English contexts, much less Puritan. Instead, our single example is French.
Joachim: This name was both the apocryphal name of the father of Mary as well as the name of a number of minor Old Testament characters, so it could be classified as either a NT or an OT name. Evidence that it was the father of Mary more than the Old Testament characters that influenced the use of this name comes from the surprising lack of examples of this name in the three Protestant contexts that we are particularly interested in. We have no English examples, and only one each in Dutch and French contexts. This name was markedly loss popular than a lot of other otherwise obscure Old Testament names.
Nathaniel: The name of one of the disciples, we find it in 16th C Dutch and English contexts, but it was rare elsewhere and elsewhen (interestingly, hearkening back to our discussion of nicknames, there are a number of 16th C diminutive forms of it in 16th C Estonia). A curious fact about the name: The earlier spelling of the name was Nathanael, more clearly reflecting the Hebrew form, but it was later altered to match the spelling of Daniel.
Tobias: Not strictly speaking a New Testament name, this was the name of the main character in the apocryphal Book of Tobit. The name was rare in England before the Reformation, and we have no French examples, but in the 16th C, it was a moderately popular Dutch name (and continues to be so today).
Zacchaeus: The data we have for this name is singularly curious: A single 16th C citation from England, a single 12th C citation from Germany, two 13th C examples from Italy, and a 13th C example from Poland. Quite why this name was used when and where it was — rare, but dispersed — we wouldn’t even want to hypothesize. However, its English usage does provide some confirmation: It was not used before the 16th C, and became quite common in the 17th, according to Withycombe. 
Names of other origin
All the names we consider under this heading are Aramaic, and two of them were originally nicknames.
Bartholomew: The patronymic by which the discipline Nathanael was better known. It is instructive to compare the use of this name with Nathaniel above: While Nathaniel suddenly became significantly more popular in the 16th C, Bartholomew was perennially popular throughout Europe. While it is always extremely tricky to speculate about intentions behind the choice of names, one might be tempted to say that Nathaniel could be seen as a Protestant alternative to the popular Bartholomew.
Thomas: Another nickname, meaning ‘twin’, Thomas is one of the few names that can rival John in popularity, in certain data sets at certain times and places, and even when it wasn’t more popular than John, it remains one of the solid choices for a man’s name throughout most of Europe in the Middle Ages.
Thaddeus: This name doesn’t fit any of the patterns we’ve seen so far: It’s the name of an apostle, but it was never popular; it was rare pre-Reformation, but does not seem to have become any more popular afterwards. This is another name where only more data collection will allow us to have a better understanding of when, where, and why it was used.
This gets us through about half the list, so we’ll pick up the names of Greek and Roman origin in the next post!
 Withycombe, E.G., The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd. ed. (Oxford University Press, 1977).
Filed under dictionary entries, monthly topic