Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Atgxtg

Arthurian Name Dictionary

Recommended Posts

Christoper Bruce's excellent Arthurian Names Dictionary has been made available as part of a website with the author' permission. It has entries on many , many characters and is an invaluable resource for tracking down obscure characters, stories, or for finding the origin of of a particular person or story, or identify characters by their alternate names. It also has tons of little tidbits and rabbit holes to follow that can provide the germ of all sorts of adventures.I can't praise it highly enough, and plan to buy a cop of the book to add to my Arthurian library.

The Dictionary can be found at: http://www.zendonaldson.com/twilight/camelot/bruce_dictionary/index.htm which also has other stuff on King Arthur and Charlemagne  that could be of use to Pendragon GMs.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fun with names!

"Vortigern" in in Old Welsh/Cymru is "Guorthegern," meaning "Great King." "*Arto-rīg" in Brythonic means, "Bear King." "Ard Rí" in Goidelic (which was widely spoken in West & Northwestern Britain in the 5th Century), means "High King." Neither "Arthur" nor "Vortigern" are likely to have been personal names, but rather tiles or cognomen. Might a leader among the Britons at Badon have carried such a title? Seems reasonable. (Gildas, born the year of Badon, does not name principal combattants in his account of the battle.) 

Later historians and fabulists mix earlier chronicles and (often syncretic) oral lore in languages at centuries of remove from original accounts. Unfamiliar once-titles in archaic tongues get interpreted as proper names, family trees and deeds get shuffled around to flatter current monarchs by proxy, fashionable romantic drama is inserted, etc. -  eventually bringing us:

A tale wherein the wicked High King Vortigern and his noble yet tragically doomed son Vortimer rising in rebellion after his father's fraught marriage to the latter's step-mother casts the realm into chaos.

A tale wherein the wicked noble yet tragically doomed High King Vortigern Arthur and his noble yet tragically doomed wicked son Vortimer Mordred rising in rebellion after his father's fraught marriage to the latter's step-mother casts the realm into chaos.

At such far remove, these tales could very easily describe the same people and events, descending from the tales told by those who reviled them on the one hand, on those who revered them on the other.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, JonL said:

which was widely spoken in West & Northwestern Britain in the 5th Century

I would not described it as "widely spoken", it was limited to "pseudo-Viking" remnant settlements in northern Wales and a region in what is now the far Northwest. Sorry to be pedantic but as an student of Irish and a linguist of Celtic I'd like to be clear about these things.

Map of the pre-AS language areas of Britain, Old Irish in green

image.png.06396bbe208a7fa36c74d8c2131f1a75.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JonL said:

"Ard Rí" in Goidelic (which was widely spoken in West & Northwestern Britain in the 5th Century), means "High King."

Yes to the other stuff. Ard Rî is unlikely to fall into the same mix, as the Irish settlers in Dyfed were from an earlier period (360's), and indications are such that by the 5th century the area had already reverted back to Brythonic (probably could be considered Cambric by this time). Those in Dál Riata were Gaels, but that part of the North doesn't factor into the legends until much later. Most northern stories originate in the Hen Ogledd, which can firmly be placed in the Brythonic camp (Cumbric by this point??).

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I would not described it as "widely spoken", it was limited to "pseudo-Viking" remnant settlements in northern Wales and a region in what is now the far Northwest. Sorry to be pedantic but as an student of Irish and a linguist of Celtic I'd like to be clear about these things.

You forget about the settlers of Dyfed. Goidelic was quickly overcome, but they are what JonL is talking about.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, SDLeary said:

Dyfed

... did I not mention the remnants of the pseudo-Viking invasions of Wales? Votekworix and his kin didn't last here more than maybe one hundred years all total

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

... did I not mention the remnants of the pseudo-Viking invasions of Wales? Votekworix and his kin didn't last here more than maybe one hundred years all total

AH! Thats what you meant by pseudo-Viking. The several hundred years difference in the terminology threw me off! :)

SDLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JonL said:

Fun with names!

"Vortigern" in in Old Welsh/Cymru is "Guorthegern," meaning "Great King." "*Arto-rīg" in Brythonic means, "Bear King." "Ard Rí" in Goidelic (which was widely spoken in West & Northwestern Britain in the 5th Century), means "High King." Neither "Arthur" nor "Vortigern" are likely to have been personal names, but rather tiles or cognomen. Might a leader among the Britons at Badon have carried such a title? Seems reasonable. (Gildas, born the year of Badon, does not name principal combattants in his account of the battle.) 

Yes, but Arthur is likely to have come from the Roman name Artorius, and that Uther came out of a mis-translation. Arthur map Uter (forgive t he spelling) meant "Arthur the terrible", commenting of his formidable battle prowess. But map is also a Welsh word used to denote Son on, similar to how Mac or Mc is still used todaty, and so the phase was mistranslated as Arthur son of Uther. 

 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

Later historians and fabulists mix earlier chronicles and (often syncretic) oral lore in languages at centuries of remove from original accounts. Unfamiliar once-titles in archaic tongues get interpreted as proper names, family trees and deeds get shuffled around to flatter current monarchs by proxy, fashionable romantic drama is inserted, etc. -  eventually bringing us:

Yes, although just what the original version of all this is still shrouded in mystery, as the story wasn't not written down until over a century and had no doubt been altered a few times before being recorded. It also didn't help that those who did record the tale usually had an axe to grind and would alter things to b etter fit with their narrative or to link it to other figures. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

AH! Thats what you meant by pseudo-Viking. The several hundred years difference in the terminology threw me off!

In the Faroes, they used to talk of the terrible Irish who came from the sea in their longboats, destroying and stealing the cattle and food and raping all the women.

It's all relative.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I would not described it as "widely spoken", it was limited to "pseudo-Viking" remnant settlements in northern Wales and a region in what is now the far Northwest. Sorry to be pedantic but as an student of Irish and a linguist of Celtic I'd like to be clear about these things.

Map of the pre-AS language areas of Britain, Old Irish in green

image.png.06396bbe208a7fa36c74d8c2131f1a75.png

It's always a delight to have an expert weigh in, thanks. How do the Ogham inscription sites in Cambria fit into this picture?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JonL said:

It's always a delight to have an expert weigh in, thanks. How do the Ogham inscription sites in Cambria fit into this picture?

can you clarify?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, JonL said:

It's always a delight to have an expert weigh in, thanks. How do the Ogham inscription sites in Cambria fit into this picture?

From roughly the same period, the 4thC. Not only was there settlement on the West coast of Britain by small groups of Irish, but the Great Conspiracy happened near the end of this. As far as settlers go, there were never enough to leave a great impact, though as you point out a lasting one with Ogham stones scattered about.

The Scotti/Cruithine were very mobile at this time.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...