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English and Romanian Personal Names as Identity Indicators in Medieval Documents

Norbert A. Poruciuc


Published: 2014/12/01


The present article is meant to point out that the information carried by personal names can be significant not only for onomastic studies proper, but also for approaches to issues of social identity. This author will analyze three medieval documents, of the ones that appear to have required precise identification of historical individuals. The documents under discussion contain personal names either by themselves or as attended by additional designative elements – ranks and titles, descriptive nicknames, places of residence, names of crafts and trades – of which many were to be recorded as official surnames in more recent times. Each of the three analyzed documents (in Old English, Medieval Latin and Romanian, respectively) contains details that reveal the emergence of the bipartite naming system that is now dominant in Europe.

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