medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
From: "Ferzoco, G.P." <[log in to unmask]>
>The current Code of Canon Law says, "Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to
take care that a name is not given (to a child being baptized) which is
foreign to Christian sentiment." It is a beautiful
circumlocution, i'd say.
>practice to give a child a saint's name, even if it has to be a second or
third name.... For Christians this is certainly preferable over naming
children after relatives...
maybe in the Diocese of Lincoln (NB) in the 21st century, but certainly not in
the diocese of Chartres in the 11th-13th centuries, as a quick glance at the
index to the published necrologies will confirm.
much less earlier.
"Christian" [i.e., saints'] names were definitely not even in a majority, in
that place and time.
it was, as best i can make out, a period of transition in nomenclature, as in
so many other ways.
in the earlier period (cf. the polyptichs of the carolingian period, for
example) "germanic" ["frankish"] names predominated.
these were, typically, compound names made up of two or (sometimes) more
elements, and seem to have been part of the "namengut" of a family --the
"stock" of names which ran in that family, and from which, almost exclusively,
names were chosen for children.
i've seen instances in which there was a "mix and match" going on --when one
element of the name might belong to one parent's family's namengut, and the
other from the other's.
or a gender-appropriate ending could be grafted onto a root from the namengut
of either parent.
eg., for girl babies, -burga could be the end of a name which began with an
element shared by a parent or --more often, for the first child at least-- a
as time passed the "frankish" name elements were tamed considerably, though
they were still present in some form.
some of these names could be considered "Christian", by the nature of their
"Godfrey" springs to mind.
in the Latin charters i know from the Chartrain this is usually "Godfredus" or
sometimes "Godefredus", presumably (if one can trust what one sees on the web)
"From the Germanic name Godafrid, which meant 'peace of god' from Germanic god
'god' and frid 'peace'".
or something like that.
often times Godfredae were younger sons, destined for the clergy from birth.
the general custom in the Chartrain --and elsewhere in northern France-- was
to name the eldest son after his paternal grandfather.
this meant that, if the eldest son survived, we can see the same name crop up
in the same family in alternate generations.
a case in point is the Capetians.
at the beginning of the 12th c. the king is Louis (IV, "the Fat").
he has four sons, the eldest of whom is named Philip, after his daddy's daddy,
the second was named Louis, presumably after his daddy.
the third is Henry, named after his greatgrandfather (Henry I).
Prince Philip is killed in a riding "accident" in Paris in the 1120s --some
say the Devil did it, in the form of a Black Pig which frightened his horse,
causing it to fall and roll over on the boy.
his kid brother Louis (presumably intended for the clergy?) is jerked out of
St. Denis and becomes, for history, Louis VII.
the kid Henry, just a few years old, is put on the ecclesiatical track, with
the blessings of his uncle, Calixtus II.
a fourth son is born and named Philip, presumably to keep the name in the
family namengut, and he, too, becomes a Prince of the Church (as it were),
succeeding Henry as, among other things, "abbot of the royal abbeys".
Louis VII's eldest(?) is named Philip, who becomes August as Philip II, and
*his* son is named.... wait for it... Louis.
this is, as i say, a rather typical pattern, somewhat disturbed by the
ocassional death, but rigidly followed over generations.
exceptions to the Rule occur, however, as when the first son of Count
Stephen-Henry of Blois/Chartres (d. 1102) is called, not Theobald after S-H's
father, nor even Odo, after his greatgrandfather, but William, a name which
doesn't occur in the Blois/Chartres namengut at all.
the answer to this anomaly lies in the fact that Bill's mother was Adela of
England, daughter of --as her charters always inform us-- William, The Most
Glorious Kind of the English.
thus does Status Trump Namengut.
their second son was named Theobald, however, and Bill had some sort of
problem which kept him from becomming count, Ted followed his daddy, and the
name passed out of the family history.
best from here,
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