TIL: Medieval Names

11 April 2024

As a medievalist and as someone who’s written an article about medieval names, I thought myself pretty well versed in the various ways people referred to each other throughout the European Middle Ages, whether in Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or pagan communities.

I was wrong.

You know how people have the habit of referring to their pets as a “good boy” (imagine the appropriate saccharine tone)? Or how Terry Pratchett named one of the swamp dragons in Guards! Guards! Goodboy Bindle Featherstone of Quirm as a bit of a joke?

Well. Goodboy is not just for dogs and dragons anymore.

A fully grown man, getting ready to be married and everything (okay, well, Middle Ages, and I don’t actually know how old he was, so he could’ve just been a teenager), was named, I kid you not, Bonenfaunt. For those who don’t know French, that’s Good Child.

The Middle Ages. It may be officially over, but it’s still the gift that keeps on giving.