Medieval Spanish Jewish Names of the 13th and 14th Centuries

Compiled and researched by Juliana de Luna, notes by Arval Benicoeur
(Julia Smith, and Josh Mittleman
© 1998 Julia Smith and Josh Mittleman, all rights reserved.

Last modified 7 July 1998

This article presents an on-going compilation of Iberian Jewish names from 13th and 14th century sources written in Castillian and Navarese.

Most of these names are men's names, as in most period sources, but the list gives a general picture of how Jewish names were put together. As you'll notice, most of these people are identified only by a given name. Some are given patronymic bynames (e.g. fijo de Salamon) which are probably either transliterations or translations of Hebrew names like ben Salamon. The form fijo de X is also common in contemporary Spanish names. Sometimes the patronymic is contracted, as in Aboçach, which represents ab Açach, i.e. "son of Isaac". This pattern is also found in Arabic names rendered in Spanish records. A names include locative bynames (e.g. Lebanaza "the Liebanan", de Samanigo). One man is bynamed Levi, the Jewish priestly caste, and others are identified by a family relationship.

Many of the given names are Spanish equivalents of Hebrew names: Iuceph for Yosef, Abran for Avram or Avraham, Essua for Yehoshua. Some may be actual translations of the original Hebrew meanings of names, or allegorical references. For example, Leon may be a rendering of Judah, since the lion was the symbol of the biblical tribe of Judah. Vivfilli represents Chaim, replacing the Latin word meaning "life" for the original Hebrew; the equivalent Vivellus, Vivelin in found among 14th century French Jews. Other names may have been adopted from the surrounding Christian or Muslim societies.

Names marked + are feminine, and names marked ? are ones which are not explicitly identified as Jews in the source, but which appear to be Jewish from form and context. The letter Ç, c-cedilla, is pronounced as an \s\.

Our thanks to Talan Gwynek (Brian M. Scott) for his comments.

In Castilla, 1219

+ Oro Sol
Iuc Lebanaza
Iuceph de Lebanza
? Iuceph Milano
? Juceph el guer
? Guerson
? Semuel
? Micael

In Navarra, 1350

Samuel Empesat
Judas Aboçach (ab Açach = son of Isaac)
Abram, su hermano (his brother)
Açach, su fijo (his son, Açach is another rendition of Isaac)
Menahem Laredi
Vivfilli et Juda, su fijo (his son)
Çaçon (another version of Isaac, a diminutive form)
+ Fermosa et Orçeti, su fija    (his daughters; Fermosa may be a variant of or error for Latin Formosa "beautiful, shapely")
Mosse de Samanigo
Açach de Samaynigo
Mosse, fijo de Çadia (son of Çadia)
Seynnor (modern Spanish Señor, Latin Senior, which was in use as a name. It was common among French Jews.)
Hayn (probably a variant of or error for Haym = Chiam)
Abran, fijo de Salamon (son of Salamon)
Cach Medelin (another form of Isaac)
Saloru et su fija (and his daughter)
Çach Maesto
Escachiza (probably Isaac combined with some byname)
Samuel Levi

In Navarra, 1366

    Juce, fijo de Acaç Cardeniel (son of Isaac Cardeniel)
Juda Cardeniel, su hermano (his brother)
Leon de Paris (of Paris)
Abraam de Niort
Samuel de Nabort
Açac de Manua
Açac d'Escapa
Çaçon, fijo de Jacob Cardeniel    (son of Jacob Cardeniel)
Çaçon Farach
Abraam Rabiça
Juce Govon
Juda Amatu
Aym Alaman (Aym is probably another transcription of Chiam.)
Aya Almanquas
Mosse Amatu
Çaçon Açaya
Abraam, fijo de Rabi Açac (son of Rabbi Açac = Isaac)
Juda Maquarel
Samuel Bonisac
Juda, fijo de Juce Cardeniel (son of Joseph Cardeniel)
Samuel Abroz
Çulema de Sos (possibly Suleman; Zulema is a Moslem masculine name)
Çulema el Franco (the Frank = Frenchman)
Salamon de Tones
Açac Binach


Menedez-Pidal, Ramon, Crestomatía del Español Medieval (Madrid: 1971).
Pérez, Carrasco, La Población de Navarra en el Siglo XIV, (Pamplona: University of Navarra, 1973).
Seror, Simon, Les Noms des Juifs de France au Moyen Age (Paris: Editions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1989).

Editted & published by Arval Benicoeur