Masculine Names from Thirteenth Century Pisa

by Juliana de Luna (Julia Smith)

© 2002 by Julia Smith; all rights reserved.

In 1228, 4300 citizens of Pisa signed an agreement to maintain an alliance with Siena, Pistoia, and Poggibonsi. Their names were recorded in Latin, and the original stored in the state archives of Siena. Enric Salvatori transcribed this agreement as part of a larger project (the entire document is found at While the document itself is of historical interest, it is particularly useful for understanding medieval men's names in northern Italy in the 13th century.

This briefly analyzes the names as they occur in this source, looking at the relative frequency of names. All of the names are masculine. They are recorded in Latin; probable vernacular forms are given for common names.

The names in this treaty are remarkably diverse. The most common name accounts for only 4% of individuals. The top five names account for 17.2% of individuals; the top ten names for 28.7%. To compare, in England at roughly the same time (Nicolaa de Bracton, Anglo-Norman Names, the top ten names accounted for about 62% of individuals. In the 1427 Catasto of Florence (Ferrante la Volpe, Italian Names from Florence, 1427,, the top ten names accounted for 44.7% of men. There are 557 unique names, accounting for almost 13% of individuals.

Most men have a single byname, though almost 25% (1071) had no byname listed. The most common type of byname is occupational bynames, such as faber 'smith' or tavernarius 'tavern owner'. The second most common is patronymic bynames, in which the father's name is generally in the genitive (possessive) form, such as Guidi 'son of Guido' or Pieri 'son of Piero'. More rarely, descriptive bynames such as Rossus 'red' or Longus 'long, tall' are found. Finally, some men have locative bynames, which say where they were born or where they've lived, such as de Ponte 'of the bridge' or de Sancto Silvestro 'from Saint Silvester (a church or town).'

Men's given names by frequency
Men's given names alphabetically
Men's bynames by frequency
Men's bynames alphabetically

HTML editing by Kathy Van Stone
Last updated: 2 October, 2002