Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Unusual medieval names and nicknames

Little-known panel in the Bayeux Tapestry!
© 2014 Christy K Robinson

For several years, I’ve collected interesting descriptive names of medieval personages. Many, but not all, are ancestors. Others I picked up in reading about them. In the hundreds of years and countless generations before surnames became popular in the 1200s, it was necessary to distinguish one Charles or Robert from another. It looks as if the French culture was much more nickname-oriented than other areas of Europe and Asia. It would be fun to know if the nicknamed ones knew about their descriptors, and how one hairy man came to deserve his name more than some other bearded, pelted man. 

This is not every medieval epithet or nickname, but as I come across them, I’ll add to this list. In the meantime, enjoy!

Wilfred the Hairy, Count of Barcelona (etc.), died 897.

Christy the Author, or Christy the Editornado,
with distant ancestor Yaroslav the Wise,
Prince of Novgorod and Kiev, in St. Sophia church in Kiev.
The bust was sculpted forensically based on Yaroslav's remains.
Photos are rarely permitted, but I was given permission--I think
the Ukrainian officials were impressed that an American
knew a bit about their ancient history.
Charles the Bald, King of France 

Charles Martel the Hammer, 676-741 

Clovis the Riparian

Sigebert the Lame, King of Cologne, died 509

Louis the Stammerer, King of France

Louis VI the Fat, King of France

Eystein the Fart

Alfred the Great

Carloman the Great (Charlemagne)

William I the Bastard / William the Conqueror

Charles III the Simple, King of France, 879-929

Robert the Strong, Duke of Neustria

Fulk the Rude

Geoffrey le Bel (the Handsome)

Hugh Lusignan le Brun (the Brown)
Ivan the Terrible was not an ancestor!

Edward I, Longshanks, King of England

Walter d’Espec / Walter the Woodpecker 1066-1153

Louis the Pious / Louis the Debonnaire, King of France

Robert the Pious, King of France

Louis IV d’Outre-Mer (Exile), King of France, 920-954

Yaroslav the Wise, Prince of Novgorod and Kiev, 980-1054

Edward the Elder, King of England

Edmund Ironside, King of England

Lambert I The Bearded Count of Mons and Louvain, 950-1015

Malcom II the Destroyer or Avenger, King of Scots
Strange name: Elena Rotenhering de la Pole
b. 1287 at Hull, Yorkshire.

Malcolm III Canmore (Longneck or Big Head), King of Scots

Géza I Magnus King of  Hungary, 1040-1077

Béla II The Blind of Hungary

Simon le Scrope (the Crab)

Louis VIII the Lion, King of France, 1197-1226

Philip III the Bold, King of France, 1245-1285

Philip IV le Bel/the Fair, King of France, 1268-1314

William I the Lion, King of Scotland 1165-1214

William Longespee (Long-Sword), son of Henry II

Hugh de Moray, Lord of Duffus, 1162-1214

Hamo Dentatus de Creully, Hamo the Toothy (maybe bucktoothed) 1050-1107 

Roger de Bully, Norman landowner in Nottinghamshire 1028-1098

Reverend Richard P. Goodenough married the daughter of Archbishop of York
Garcia IV the Tremulous, King of Pamplona, Count of Aragon d. 1000


Adam le Fuckere, William le Fuckere, and Jordan le Cok. Oh, dear.
Apparently, the F-word is a very, very old word. Hat tip to historian Kathryn Warner (Edward II blog) for this image.

Christy K Robinson is the author of five-star nonfiction and fiction historical books, as well as author of Rooting for Ancestors and William and Mary Barrett Dyer websites. You will find her books at http://bit.ly/RobinsonAuthor.

·          We Shall Be Changed (2010)
·          Mary Dyer Illuminated (2013)
·          Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This (2014)
·          The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport (2014)
·          Effigy Hunter (2015)
·          Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)


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