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Greek Personal Names in Merovingian and Carolingian Gaul: A Brief Survey

Greek Personal Names in Merovingian and Carolingian Gaul: A Brief Survey

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Title: Greek Personal Names in Merovingian and Carolingian Gaul: A Brief Survey
Author: Schorr, Andreas
Abstract: Ever since ancient times, even before the Roman conquest, there were people and groups in Gaul speaking
Greek, so that in the towns of Roman Gaul the Greek communities later became motive factors of
Christianisation. It comes as no surprise that many names with a Greek etymology are to be found in Gaul
during the Merovingian and Carolingian eras: Eulalius, Euphronius, Eusebius and Eustasius are just a few
examples among many.
This paper intends to investigate whether it is possible to determine places in which the tradition of
Greek personal names, for example as a result of veneration of saints, was prevalent.
Knowledge of Greek having declined almost to extinction in Gaul by the end of the late Roman period,
linguistic adaptations of names into the nascent Romance language become apparent, such as Evanzelia,
Elarius, Nicesius, and Estefanus.
In view of the tendency for proper names of Romance or Romanic origin, including those with a Greek
etymology, to be replaced by Germanic names as the Franks increased their dominance from north to south,
these declined, while at the same time we see a neologistic creativity in dealing with the various traditions
of naming manifested in hybrid names. Examples of these hybrid names with originally Greek elements
are: Christehildis and Christengaudus.
However, such name formations remained the exception, while on the other hand a number of names
of Greek origin could retain and maintain their position within the treasury of French personal names due to
their assimilation and their correspondence with saints’ names.
Subject: Merovingian and Carolingian Naming
Personal Names in Gaul
Greek Personal Names
Type: Article
Rights: The following articles are © 2009 with the individual authors. They are made available free of charge from this page as a service to the community under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivative Works license version 3.0. For full details go to http://creativecommons.org.licenses/ny-nd.3.0
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/4030
Published: York University
Citation: Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences
ISBN: 978-1-55014-521-2
Date: 2009

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