The Historical Influences
The data conforms to known systems of progression for other areas of
Europe. As time progresses the wide variety of names decreases while the
use of by-names increases. The number of people bearing the same name
increases over time, producing the need for more elaborate systems of
designation. The use of more elaborate systems decreases the need for the
variety of given names. Both of these factors can be seen at work through
the course of the four centuries spanned by the data at hand. We see in the
10th century sampling, an overwhelming majority (92.92%) of
given names alone, followed by small numbers of names composed of a given
name plus a patronymic or given names plus toponymic by-names. In the
second group of names from 11th century, given names alone are
still in the majority (61.36%), but patronymic bynames are have increased
to 37.53% of the total. By the end of the 13th century, from
which the third sample of data is taken, the most common name construction
pattern is that of given name plus patronymic by-name, comprising 41.42% of
the time. A given name by itself occurs in 35.85% of the cases. The third
most common construction was the most elaborate: given name plus patronymic
plus toponymic by-name, in 12.68% of the cases. As we see, the average
number of citations per name increases while the percentage of names using
by-names (and the complexity of the construction of those by-names)
The most striking anomaly in the data is the large number of names of
Arabic origin within the first set of data. This is however consistent with
historical evidence. These people would likely have been part of the
Mozarabic migrations that began in the eighth century after the invasion of
the Moors. This migration reached its height in the late ninth and early
tenth centuries, after the difficulties surrounding the Martyrs' Movement
in Cordoba. In the 850s, a number of Christians specifically sought their
own deaths by committing acts of civil disobedience and blasphemy against
Islam. In reaction, the Moslem overlords of Andalusia stiffened the
observation of laws regulating the behavior of non-Moslem members of their
society. As a result of this decreased freedom, many of the Christians of
Andalusia who had previously become Arabized, though not necessarily
Islamicized, moved to the Christian lands in the North of the
peninsula. These Mozarabs, as they are called, would have taken their names
with them to their new lands. However, as the data also relates, these
people would have given their children names that allowed them to fit in
with the surrounding Christian population. Hence, the number of Arabic
names rapidly declines in the area after the migrations have ceased in the
eleventh century - by which time considerable portions of the peninsula had
Another interesting phenomenon that is visible in this data is the gradual "Romanization" of the main body of the population. As the data presents, the proportion of Latin and Christian names steadily increased through the period while the number of Germanic names decreased. This is a result of a number of things, most prominently the relationship of the Spanish people with the Catholic Church. At the time of the Visigothic invasion of the peninsula, the ruling class of the Visigoths was Christian, but Aryan. The general Visigothic population was then a combination of Aryan and pagan. However, as they settled down in the peninsula, they became more and more Catholic in their theology. The archbishop of Toledo was the primate of the Spanish church at the time of the Arabic invasion in 711 CE. >From that time on, there began to be more and more of a difference between the Iberian Christians' practices and those supported by the Pope in Rome. The practices of the Christians who looked to Toledo became known as the Visigothic rite or the Mozarabic rite. The Mozarabic rite celebrated a number of local saints, mostly Germanic, who were not accepted by the Roman church with its Latin rite. In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Roman church with the assistance of the Carolinian emperors began to exercise more power in the Iberian church. By the end of the eleventh century, many places had begun to experience a number of reforms initiated by the Roman church. These reforms included a revision of the holy calendar, and many of the Germanic saints were no longer celebrated. Latin rite saints replaced them, and the people of Iberia began to look to Rome for their authority, rather than into the Visigothic past that they had previously revered.
In addition to the linguistic origin of the names in the pool, this
phenomenon may be seen in the endings that occur on the names. In the first
two lists many masculine names appear with a -a ending and many feminine
names occur with a -o ending, a grammatical characteristic of Gothic, the
Germanic language spoken in Spain. Over time, these names became
increasingly rare, as is demonstrated by the fact that the only name with
an -a ending in the 3rd group of names, dating from circa 1300
is Garcia. The names in the later lists show the Latinized endings -a for
feminine names and -us or -o for masculine names.
In conclusion, the development of naming practices in Iberia during the Middle Ages is fairly consistent with the advancement of culture and technology on the European continent as a whole. There are, however, certain factors that are unique to Spanish history. These factors reveal themselves in the name pool and the naming practices of the people in ways one might not expect.
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The Names, First Group
The Names, Second Group
The Names, Third Group
The Historical Influences
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