Languedoc Names circa 1300

by Arval Benicoeur (Josh Mittleman)

© 19 Sept 1998 by Josh Mittleman; all rights reserved.


This article is an index to names appearing in a collection of guild statutes from the city of Toulouse in 1270 to 1322. My source is a critical edition of these documents, Early Gild Records of Toulouse by Sister Mary Ambrose Mulholland (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941). The statutes mention 892 people, mostly craftsmen and merchants of the city, but including various nobility of the region as well.

Toulouse, the political capital of Languedoc, was the wealthy seat of the powerful and influential Counts of Toulouse. Located on the Garonne River, with trade routes to the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Rhone, and over the Pyrenees to Spain, it was a natural center for the early growth of industry and consequently of industrial guilds. Its wool and weaving trades were particularly influential; Toulouse wool was prized in Lombardy, England, and at the Champagne Fairs. The guild statutes contain regulations for the conduct of the business of the various guilds, including considerable technical detail; as such, they may be of significant interest to those researching medieval crafts. Mulholland's introduction includes a summary of the salient features of the text, providing an extremely interesting picture of medieval city life.

The documents comprise a register of guild statutes, in Latin, apparently compiled by a single scribe shortly after the date of the last of the statutes. The collection includes statutes of the fullers, weavers, and dyers; manufacturers of liquid measures; cutlers; dressers of skins; wine merchants; dice-makers; bridle-makers; dealers in second-hand clothes; rope-makers; pastry-makers; lumber merchants; butchers; tile-makers; oil merchants; wax merchants; dealers in small-weight merchandise (e.g. herbs); candle-makers; carpenters and sawyers; and finishers of cloth.

The text is Latin; all the names have been Latinized and many are abbreviated. Mulholland extended the abbreviations, using the most common spelling found in the text for each name. However, she retains variant spellings when they appear in the text. Mulholland provides an index of persons named in the text; I have used it to identify people mentioned twice and to distinguish people sharing the same name; but I have scanned the text myself to collect variant spellings. The scribe did not capitalize proper names; Mulholland has provided capitalization, distinguishing epithets and surnames from simple occupational descriptives. I have bowed to her expertise.

I have attempted to provide likely vernacular forms for each Latin given name. These forms are drawn primarily from the following sources. The source for any particular name is indicated by the source abbreviations which follows it; when the name is my speculation, I have marked it [?].

Where these sources provided no guidance, I consulted these other references, which deal with French in addition to (or, some cases, rather than) Occitan names. The names must be viewed with some suspicion, since French and Occitan forms of names differed significantly in this period. However, there was enough overlap that the French form might have been in use in Toulouse.

I have listed all the variant forms that I feel are likely to have been used in Toulouse in our period, roughly in order of freqeuncy. When diminutive forms are recorded, I list those after a semi-colon.

In Occitan as in Old French, given names have two grammatical cases: nominative (used in the subject of a sentence and in direct address) and oblique (used in nearly all other contexts). Although it might seem more natural to list names in the nominative case, as is universally done in Latin, it is more useful to index Old French and Occitan names in the oblique case. This is the form that usually survived to the later Middle Ages. By 1300, the oblique case was already supplanting the nominative in many circumstances. A more detailed discussion of the grammar of Old French names is available in E. Einhorn, Old French: A Concise Handbook (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974).

Given Names

Each name is listed with the number of times it occurs in the sample. A notation like 19/17 means that the name occurs 19 times, 17 times in the most common form and 2 in variant forms. Variants forms are listed after the most common form, indented.

Feminine names

Only one woman is named in the text: Sibilia uxor Poncii Retonditoris maioris "Sibilia wife of Ponç". Sibilia is also a possible vernacular form of the name, as it appears in [C].

Most Common Masculine Names

The name stock was very concentrated in this sample: The seven most common masculine names in the sample are shared by a remarkable 76% of the individuals named, 691 of the 891 men.

Latin Name Count Vernacular equivalents
Petrus 156 Peire, Peyre [R,C], Per, Pei, Pey [C], Pere [M]; Perrin [R], Peron [M], Peirol, Peironet [C]
Guillelmus 127/122 Guillelm, Guillem [C,M], Guilhem, Guilhelme, Guillen, Guilleme [C],
    Willelmus    5 Guilhelm(e), Guilheume, Guilelme [R], Willelm [M]; Guilhamo, Guilhelmet [R]
Bernardus 107 Bernart, Bernat [R,C], Bernardo [C]
Ramundus, Ramund 104 Raimon, Raymon [C,M], Ramon [C]; Raimondet [C], Ramundet [R]
Arnaldus 83 Arnaut [R,C], Arnau, Arnalt, Arnaldo, Arnaudo [C]; Arnaudon [C]
Johannes 73/72 Johan, Joan [R,C], Jehan [M]
    Johanetus     1 Joanet [C]
Poncius 41 Pons [C,M], Ponz, Ponç [C]; Ponset [C,M]

  • Alphabetical List of Masculine Given Names
  • Raw Data

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