[Heralds] German/Norse name for Destiny

Jodi McMaster jodimc at texas.net
Thu May 3 19:58:42 PDT 2001

Richard Culver wrote:

>    Yes we are, but people in the SCA need to realize, and I mean more so the
> unstudied, the elder people were much more metaphorical.  So the
> translations are literal to the extent they represent really solid cultural
> metaphors.

Excuse me?  I hope you aren't trying to imply that Sunnifa and her
sources were representing "unstudied" opinions.  It is the
well-researched, studied opinion of the majority of long-time
onomasticians that the view you're advocating is pretty much wrong as to
given names.  Names used in the naming pool were just names--that's
pretty much the point.  To quote the Academy of S. Gabriel:

Choosing a name by its meaning is a minefield. Most names derive from
very ancient roots which had no apparent meaning to anyone by the Middle
Ages. Consider the name <Thomas>, for example. It derives from an
Aramaic      root that meant "twin", but one would hardly expect a man
named <Thomas> today to be a twin. That was equally true in the medieval
world. There are some exceptions, names that were created late enough
that their        meanings would have been apparent to people in your
period; but even these names quickly lost their "meaning" and were just
used as names. It's obvious to us, for example, that the name <Heather>
is identical to the word <heather>, but we don't expect a woman named
<Heather> to be grey-green and bushy.

We can certainly tell you the etymological roots of most names, but it's
a mistake to think that they would have had any significance to the
people who used those names in the Middle Ages.


Bynames, on the other hand, may or may not have been used literally: the
tall, the blond, the fisherman...whatever.  Some may have been used
satirically, like the nickname "Curly" often used for a bald man earlier
this century.

AElfwyn aet Gyrwum
mka Jodi McMaster

AElfwyn's Attic

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