Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Name-Caller! 30 Historically Accurate Medieval Names {WriterlyWednesday}

So, a while ago we covered medieval fantasy name ideas for characters. Fantasy is wonderful, and totally a fun genre to write, but if you are trying to create a historically accurate Middle Ages story, you don't need names which belong in Lord of the Rings. You need names which reflect the period the characters are from.

So today let's take a look at real, historically accurate medieval names.


1. Muriel/Muirgheal- (Proncouned MWIR-yal) This name was brought by the Normans to Brittany. It is the medieval English form of a Celtic name which was probably related to the Irish name Muirgel. Personally I *love* the name Muriel.

2. Aethelu - Derives from English, and means "noble". This is rather unique sounding.

3. Líadáin  - (Pronounced LEE-din, or, LEE-a-din) From what I've researched this can be reconciled as one of the few forms of my name, Leah. Since Leah is Hebrew in origin, it is difficult to convert to Irish but it can be compared to some Irish words phonetically and this is one of them. I like the spelling a whole lot personally. The word itself means "grey lady".  Léá is how the name Leah is written in Irish Bibles. Líoch is pronounced LEE-ukh, which could be another means of saying Leah in Irish. It means "beautiful."

4. Beatrice - Derives from Latin, and means "happy".

5. Siofra - (Pronounced SHEE-fra) A lovely Irish name which could be used in either masculine or feminine terms. Means "sprite, changeling, precocious child."

6. Cecily -  A name which derives from Latin, and means "blind". What a name meaning, right? Well, at least it SOUNDS pretty. Cecily.

7. Áinfean - (Pronounced AWN-f'yun) Another Irish name, which means "storm, fury, violence." Maybe this could be a good name for your fierce female antagonist!

8. Gormlaith  - (Pronounced GUR-um-la) Yet another Irish name. This reminds me of a name for a queen or  prominent female leader figure. It means "blue or illustrious princess".

9. Heloise - Derives from French and means "sun".

10. Margery - A form of Marjorie, a name which derives from English and means "pearl".

11. Reina - Derives from Spanish and means "queen"; also derives from Yiddish and means "pure" or "clean".

12. Rhoslyn - derives from Welsh and means "lovely rose" or "rose valley".

13.  AMÉE - Old French form of the name Aimee/Amy. I think this is an interesting means of spelling the name.

14. Cateline - Medieval French form of Katherine.

15. Uainionn (Pronounced OO-in-yin) Another unique Irish name, meaning "foam-white".


1. Ríordán (Pronounced REE-ur-dawn) An Irish name, meaning "royal poet". I really like this one.

2. Alistair - Derives from Gaelic, and means "defending men".

3. Rúadhán - (Pronounced ROO-awn) An Irish name, meaning "red haired." I rather like this one also.

4. Bennett -  This is a common name indeed, but it has ancient ties. It derives from Latin and means "blessed".

5. Gawain - This derives from Welsh and means "white hawk of battle". Very LOTR sounding even though it  didn't originate from a Tolkien book at all!

6. Milo - Derives from German and means "uncertain", perhaps, "peaceful"; also derives from Latin and means "soldier."

7. Constantine - A perfect Middle Ages name, which derives from Latin and means "steadfast".

8. Faolán  - (Pronounced FWAY-lawn) A masculine Irish name which is associated with wolves. 

9. Fearghus  (Pronounced FER-a-gus) Irish, meaning, "strength of a man". 

10. Theobald - Derives from German, and means "brave" or "bold".

11. Odo - Derives from German and means "wealth".

12. Bartholomew - This is a very common Middle Ages name, and one of its first appearances was in the Bible itself.  

13. Borislav  - This name can be traced back to having Bulgarian, Serbia, Croatian, Russian and Medieval Slavic roots. It means "fame in battle" from the Slavic element bor "battle" combined with slav "glory".

14.  Dmetrei  Old Slavic form of Dmitry or Dmitrie. 

15. Dragomir - Now, you may be thinking this sounds an awful lot like Boramir, or Faramir and perhaps it does. BUT it is a real, historical name! It means "precious and peaceful" from the Slavic element dorgu meaning "precious" combined with mir meaning "peace" or "world". It has Serbian, Croatian, Romanian and Medieval Slavic roots.


SO. There you are! I'll acknoledge that I put a lot of emphasis on Irish names in particular. Originally I didn't intend to do this but the more I researched name etymology in this language the more I decided I loved some of the names and needed to included them here. I've been sort of obsessing over what my name would be converted to in Irish. As I stated above, under Líadáin, it has been very difficult to determine how to do this and what exactly the results are. Liamhain is another feminine name which sounds similar to Leah, it is pronounced LEE-a-vin. I like the spelling better on Líadáin  but the meaning of it is "grey lady", and the meaning of Liamhain is "comely,beautiful", so...I don't know. :P Won't lie, the meaning of the latter sounds nicer than the former! Laoise is another which sounds phoenetically like my name, somewhat. it is pronounced LEE-sha, and means "radiant girl."

If you would like to know a general converted form/equivalent of your name, let me know in the comments! I love researching names and languages. Actually, I'm even considering dual enrolling in Spanish. But that's another topic for another day!

Hope y'all found this useful and beneficial!

(Also known as Green Tea Girl or just plain ol' Leah Kathryn ;P)