On the Names of the Kingdoms

by Daunt Iago ab Adam, Compaignon du Lorer
(Michael Case, yagowe{AT}gmail.com)
copyright 2020, all rights reserved

For my roll of arms, I decided that the kingdom names should be written in a way that fit with Anglo-Norman spelling so they didn’t look out of place. It was an interesting thought experiment with many different ways it could be approached. I ended up using a combination of three main processes:

  1. For name elements that have an obvious English meaning I translated them to Anglo-Norman equivalents.
  2. For name elements in other languages or whose meaning is unclear I made my best guess as to how an Anglo-Norman speaker would spell the element.
  3. For name elements which could have evolved into an Anglo-Norman form I made my best guess as to what changes may have happened. This is most obvious with my changes to Æthelmearc; my line of thinking was “If an kingdom with this Old English name had once existed, what would it be called by the 13th century?”

West – left as is. ‘West’ is the same in Anglo-Norman.

East – translated it directly to the Anglo-Norman ‘Est’.

Middle – translated it directly to the Anglo-Norman ‘Mi’.

Atenveldt – rendered phonetically into Anglo-Norman as ‘Aitenvelt’.

Meridies – change to ‘Meridie’. The ‘ie’ ending was fairly common for Anglo-Norman place names (Syria/Sirie, Arabia/Arabie, Armenia/Armenie), so I just dropped the final ‘s’ to make it conform to that pattern.

Caid – no real change. I added a diaeresis (‘Caïd’) in the “transliteration” to indicate the vowels should be pronounced separately, but it is not included in the calligraphed version.

Ansteorra – rendered phonetically into Anglo-Norman as ‘Ansteore’.

Atlantia – changed to ‘Atlantie’. The Anglo-Norman Dictionary gives ‘Athlant’ for ‘Atlantic’ (under the header ‘occean’), and the t/th switch is quite common, so ‘Atlant-‘ is reasonable for the start of the name. For the switch from ‘ia’ to ‘ie’, see the examples given for Meridies above.

An Tir – rendered phonetically into Anglo-Norman as ‘Anteir’.

Calontir – rendered phonetically into Anglo-Norman as ‘Calonteir’.

Trimaris – changed to ‘Trimarie’. For the switch from ‘ia’ to ‘ie’, see the examples given for Meridies above.

Outlands – translated it to Anglo-Norman as ‘Outreterre’, based on the models of ‘outremer’ / ‘overseas’ and ‘Engleterre’/’England’.

Drachenwald – translated ‘Drachen-‘ to the Anglo-Norman ‘Dragon-‘, on the assumption that the meaning of that element would be transparent. Transliterated the ending to ‘walt’ (changing to ‘waud’ or remaining as ‘wald’ would perhaps be a more likely change, but the Anglo-Norman Dictionary does give ‘bald, balt’ all as alternate spellings of the word ‘baud’=’happy’), giving ‘Dragonwalt’.

Artemisia – The Anglo-Norman Dictionary gives ‘artemeise’ for the plant artemisia. That, combined with the ‘ia’>’ie’ change discussed under Meridies, gives ‘Artemeisie’.

Æthelmearc – Personal names using the ‘Æthel-‘ protheme tended to ‘Al-‘ well before 13th C (see, for example Alard or Alwin in the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources). That, combined with transliterating the ending, gives ‘Almark’.

Ealdormere – rendered roughly phonetically into Anglo-Norman as ‘Aldormer’.

Lochac – One of the earliest copies of ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ (MS français 1116 f. 75r) gives the spelling ‘locac’. Names ending in a /k/ sound in the Falkirk Roll are often spelled with a ‘k’ (eg. ‘Patrik’), which gives the spelling ‘Locak’.

Northshield – translated it to Anglo-Norman as ‘Norescu’, based on the Anglo-Norman Dictionary’s ‘Norgales’ for ‘North Wales’, and ‘escu’ for ‘shield’.

Gleann Abhann – rendered phonetically into Anglo-Norman as ‘Glenavene’.

Avacal – Added an ‘e’ for no real reason – it just looked better – to give ‘Avacale’.

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