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Anglo-Saxon England

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Shield-of-Dardania
Reader

Postby Shield-of-Dardania » Thu September 8th, 2011, 10:55 am

What's a good, elegant heroic name for an early 11th century Saxon warrior? I need one for a Saxon adventurer in Byzantium who makes a cameo in my WIP. Appreciate any ideas.

I've looked up the Net but haven't decided on a suitable one yet. Aethelmar, Daegmund, and Earnwald sound quite bold and rugged.

I'm using Richard for the moment, but it sounds to me rather more Norman than Saxon.

Now that I'm at it, would Meredith, Katherine, Philippa and Isabelle be acceptable as Saxon female names? Isabelle sounds to me a bit Frenchy for a Saxon, but it has that elegant ring to it.

And would Arthur and Bryhann (if there is such a name) be acceptable as Saxon male names? I believe Alfred is a classic Saxon name, if I'm not mistaken.
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Thu September 8th, 2011, 11:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Thu September 8th, 2011, 6:04 pm

There's a list of Anglo-Saxon male and female names here at the Regia Anglorum website which might give you some ideas:
http://www.regia.org/members/names.htm

Also, most AS names were composed of compound words, so you can play around and create one yourself using a mix of words (eg the name Athelmar is a compound of the two Old English words æðel "noble" and mær "fame"). The RA article shows you how.

Arthur and variations on Brian are Celtic in origin, not AS, as is Meredith, and I feel that your other female names wouldn't become common usage among the ordinary English people until quite some years after the Norman Conquest.

Richard is Germanic in origin, but not AS, however the common Germanic element "ric" is an Old English word meaning variously strong, king, ruler or the power and qualities associated with such a person, and was often used as part of a compound AS name. eg Wulfric (meaning wolf power or wolf ruler)
Last edited by annis on Fri September 9th, 2011, 7:10 am, edited 10 times in total.

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Postby SGM » Thu September 8th, 2011, 10:43 pm

I always liked Alaric and thought it was Anglo-Saxon but it turns out to be Germanic. However, Anglo-Saxons spoke a Germanic language so maybe it doesn't discount it totally. I guess it depends on whether we are talking about early Anglo-Saxon or early Anglo-Saxon.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Fri September 9th, 2011, 7:13 am

The name does appear among the Anglo-Saxons, most commonly as the variant Alric (ruler of all)

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Postby SGM » Fri September 9th, 2011, 9:20 am

I know, I have come across it several times that's why I thought it was Anglo-Saxon and mentioned it. But, again, not my period of history and haven't dealt with it since school except with regard to the history of the English language which I have been reading on and off since I was a teenager. I really must find that Anthony Burgess book that started me off on it and made me discover that it is not a dry subject at all.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Shield-of-Dardania
Reader

Postby Shield-of-Dardania » Tue September 13th, 2011, 9:02 am

Thanks Annis, SGM.

Oh dear. I'm sort of already too far along the line in my story with those female names. Isabelle is my heroine. Philippa is her mother. Meredith is her grandmother and Katherine is Meredith's cousin.

I could make Philippa and Katherine have part-Norman ancestry, perhaps from pre-conquest Norman immigrants to England, since their names are Norman. Then make Meredith have part-Celtic descent.

BTW, they're nobility, so would those then-exotic names still not pass muster for them, in early 11th century?

Isabelle in her teen years, incidentally, will be actively involved as a groom-cum-trainer of some young Norman chargers, the destrier. Perhaps part-Norman ancestry would in a way give her a certain extra cultural connection.

@Annis: the site you gave lists Edith as a Saxon female name. I's just thinking, could Meredith be a compound of Mer & Edith?
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Wed September 14th, 2011, 9:53 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Shield-of-Dardania
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Postby Shield-of-Dardania » Mon September 19th, 2011, 12:30 am

And also, what would be a reasonable Saxon rendition of early 11th century England?

I've come across Angli Land, Engla Land, Engel Land etc. I'm sort of experimenting with Enghel Land for the moment. Would that sound like a believable name?
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Mon September 19th, 2011, 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Postby SGM » Mon September 19th, 2011, 8:14 pm

"Shield-of-Dardania" wrote:And also, what would be a reasonable Saxon rendition of early 11th century England?

I've come across Angli Land, Engla Land, Engel Land etc. I'm sort of experimenting with Enghel Land for the moment. Would that sound like a believable name?


Well, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the 11th century have references to Engla lande but the Peterborough Chronicle (also considered to be one of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles) of a century of so later uses Engleland.

I have no strong feelings about the rights or wrongs of the matter but I would say that I would find the latter easier to get my tongue round. But as they didn't even start trying to standardise spelling until the 14th century (I think), you can probably get away with whatever you want. Are you sure you want to be using the English word and not the Norman French one?

But do not take my word for this -- this is Old English and I found Middle English difficult enough when I had to read it -- and I haven't had to for a great many years.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Mon September 19th, 2011, 8:27 pm

If your novel is set pre-Norman Conquest, I'd go for an Old English version. Englaland (Ængla Land =the land of the Angles) elided over time into Engaland, is probably the most common version of the Anglo-Saxon name for the country. Of course, there would be nothing wrong with just saying "England" - from the readers' point of view the familiar version is often the best choice. The Anglo-Saxons called their language Englisc (pronounced "English"). We've called the language either Anglo-Saxon or Old English for many years, but I believe that the current trend is for both the Anglo-Saxon people and their language to be described as Englisc.
Last edited by annis on Tue September 20th, 2011, 6:33 am, edited 9 times in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Tue September 20th, 2011, 12:28 am

Posted by Shield-of Dardania
@Annis: the site you gave lists Edith as a Saxon female name. I's just thinking, could Meredith be a compound of Mer & Edith?


Sorry, didn't see this before :)

No, Meredith is specifically a Welsh name, I'm afraid, and most significantly, was only ever used as a masculine name until quite recently. Only round the 19th/20th centuries did it start being used as a name for females. In the period you're talking about the name was rendered Morgetuid or Margetiud, later Maredudd. Anglo-Norman scribes changed the double-d ending to "th" and around the fourteenth century it ended up as something more recognizably like Meredith.

Edith is an Anglo-Saxon compound name made up of the two words "ead", riches, blessed and "gyth", war. When put together as the name Eadgyth or sometimes Eadgytha, the central "g" was elided, so it was pronounced and eventually written as "Edith".
Last edited by annis on Tue September 20th, 2011, 6:29 am, edited 10 times in total.


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