15th Century Italian Men's Names
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15th Century Italian Men's Names

By Brian Scott (Talan Gwynek)

In University Records and Life in the Middle Ages, trans. and with an intro. and notes by Lynn Thorndyke (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1975), selection 138 is a list of the promoters and examiners of Matheus de Capitaniis de Busti when he received the doctorate of arts in 1438 and the doctorate of medicine in 1441 from the university of Pavia. Thorndyke says that for the most part he's left the names in the Latin of his source, a collection published in 1789. I've no reason to doubt that this reproduces the Latin of the original. I have simply omitted the three names that appear to have been Englished, as well as any locatives that use the English preposition 'of'.

Bartholomeus de Maglanis
Johannes de Concorezio
Apollinaris de Cremona
Antonius de Bernardigio
Franciscus Pelacanus
Santinus Folpertus = Santinus de Folpertis
Girardus Bernerius
Johannes Martinus
Johannes Nicola de Bennis
Jacobus de Rippa
Henricus Marzarius
Johannes de Piro
Petrus de Clericis
Luchinus Balbus
Johannes de Pescina
Paganinus Zerbus
Pantaleo de Vercelis
Johannes Antonius de Castronovo
Henricus de S. Alosio
Francischinus Acerbus
Girardus Bernerius
Apollinaris Offredus
Antonius de Bernaregio
Tebaldus Madius de Salis
Antonius Marsarius de Castronovo
Sirus de Rubeis
Johannes Matheus Ferrarius
Antonius de Terzago
Antonius de Gambaloto
Nichola de Bennis (= Johannes Nicola de Bennis?)

Selection 159 from the same source is a salary list of doctors and scholars who lectured at the university of Ferrara between the Feast of St. Luke in October, 1473, and the same Feast a year later. If the names have been normalized, it can only be *very* lightly, given the obvious dialect features. Those are most noticeable in the use of z and x. Zanfrancesco is evidently a variant of Gianfrancesco, Zohane is clearly a 'John' variant, and Zirondi is probably a form of Girondi. This substitution is especially common in Venice and Emilia-Romagna. d'Arzenta is for d'Argenta; the substitution of z for g is characteristic of Emilia-Romagna, where the name may—as I suspect is the case here—be toponymic. Nigrixolla appears to be a variant of Negrisola from Venice of Emilia-Romagna, and Piaxenza is Piacenza. From this it appears that Pexaro may be Pesaro.

It's noticeable that da is the normal locative pronoun, but see also the names Ruberto di Girardin da Lendenara and Nicolò de Girardin de Lendenara: here we see normal Italian usage in the first name and substitution of de for *both* prepositions in the second. In de Bertolin, de Vi(n)cenzi, de Gilino, and de Marcho Galeotto the preposition is probably patronymic, but de Piamonti is probably a locative 'of Piemonte'. If the final a can be trusted, de Argentina is probably metronymic. The name di Paxiti is clearly patronymic; the source is a diminutive of the name Pace, from Latin pax 'peace'. The name di Zirondi is more difficult to interpret. In this dialect Zirondi should be from Gironde, the name of a French province. It appears that either di is being used here with locative sense, or this is a patronymic based on a byname.

The names dai Liuti and dai Carri might be translated 'from/at/by the lutes' and 'from/at/by the carts'. Fucilla (25) says that the latter appears early in the form quel(lo) dai/dei carri 'he of the carts', more of a pure description than a true byname. At any rate, these names appear to be originally occupational in function, for a lute-maker and a carter. The name del Avvogaro is harder to interpret. An av(v)ogaro was a lawyer or attorney, but the term could also refer to a high mercantile official or to the mayor of a commune. I suspect that the byname was patronymic, but it could also have been topographical. I can't completely explain dal Sagrà. A sagrato is a churchyard, however, and I can easily believe that sagrà is an older dialect form; if so, this is a straightforward topographical locative.

Bolognin is probably just an ethnic term for someone from Bologna, but Fucilla mentions that it was also the name of a coin. Zambotto may be patronymic. Fucilla gives Iacopotto as a diminutive of Iacopo 'Jacob', and the derived surname Pottino implies the existence of the pet form Potto. Gian (Iaco)potto, or in this dialect Zan (Iaco)potto, could well assimilate to Zambotto. Sandeo could perhaps be a contraction of what would be santo Dio 'blessed God' in modern Italian, possibly deriving from a favorite oath.

Most of the forenames are recognizable. Filin may be Fileno. Boetio clearly represents the name of the Latin scholar Boetius. Hellia is a variant of Elio. Orazio is a standard form that may not be familiar: it's from Horatius. Piedrobon is a double name, Pietro Bono. Corradin is a diminutive of the Italian borrowing of Conrad. Palmerin is a diminutive of Palm(i)ero, an original byname for a pilgrim ('palmer') used as a forename from the 12th c.

Giacomo de Argentina
Alberto Trotto
Filin Sandeo
Domenego de Bertolin
Ludovico Pauluzo
Antonio dai Liuti
Antonio de Vincenzi
Antonio da Quieto d'Arzenta
Augustin di Bonfrancischi
Zohane Maria Riminaldo
Ludovigo Bolognin
Alberto de Vicenzi
Zohane Sadoletto
Boetio di Silvestri
Federigo da Lugo
Cosma di Paxiti
Alphonso de Marcho Galeotto
Hellia Bruza
Zohane Andrea Torexella
Lodovigo da Valenza
Nicolò da Pexaro
Zohane Andrea d'Arzenta
Michiel Costanzo
Ruberto di Girardin da Lendenara
Zohane da Ferrara
Orazio di Zirondi
Francesco Benzo
Girolamo da Castello
Girolamo di Zirondi
Girolimo Nigrixollo
Zanfrancesco Sandeo
Mattio del Brun
Zacharia Zambotto
Baptista d'Arzenta
Ludovigo dai Carri
Nicolò de Girardin de Lendenara
Antonio Benintendi
Antonio da Faenza
Bortolomio da Roma
Zohane da Parma
Piedrobon del Avvogaro
Nicolò da Lonigo da Vincenza
Jacomo de Piamonti
Palmerin da Piaxenza
Antonello dal Sagrà
Zohanbaptista da Canan
Corradin de Gilino
Francesco Camazarin
Lucha da Ragusa
Ludovigo Carbun
Baptista Guarin
Baptista del Bello [who was a bell-ringer]