Quiz: What's Your Medieval Name?
Medieval names may bring to mind images of towering castles, dashing knights, and beautiful princesses. The Middle Ages, spanning from 500-1400 AD, were also a time filled with immense poverty and endless wars across Europe. This era's distinct art style can also be pretty humorous with its, well, "interpretive" proportions.
Many of the names common throughout Europe in these years haven't stood the test of time, such as Leofwine, Warwick, Hermelinda, and Modwenna. Others have had their periods of popularity over the years but are in limbo today, such as Agatha, Bess, Gilbert, and Edmund.
Take our quiz to find your own medieval name. Then check out some of our favorite picks of names used in the Middle Ages that we would love to see back in nurseries today.
Rare Medieval Names
This sweet, feminine name was common in the 12th and 13th centuries, but has rarely been heard since. Amabel, meaning "loveable", was overtaken in popularity early on by her descendants Mabel and Annabel. Today Amabel feels much more fresh and distinctive while fitting in other "bel" names that have taken off.
"Em-" names are hot for both baby girls and boys, from Emmett to Emerson to Emilia. If you love that sound but want a name that will stand out, Emeric may be for you. Emeric is derived from Emmerich — an old Germanic name — and means "power". Could be a fun way to honor an Uncle Eric.
In Medieval times, Gwenllian was a Welsh princess noted for her bravery and beauty. Sometimes referred to as the Welsh Boudica, Gwenllian resisted invasion by English and Norman forces. This gorgeous name stands out more than Gwendolyn or Gwyneth but still leads to the loveable nickname Gwen.
Isolde was the fabled lover of the hero Tristan in Celtic legend as seen through Arthurian romance tales and a Wagnerian opera. Isolde was a beautiful Irish princess who demonstrated undying love. Pronounced "ee-ZOLD-uh", and with the powerful meaning "ice ruler", Isolde is a fresh alternative to Isabel that would be perfect for a winter baby.
More unusual than Justin and more overtly masculine than Justice, Justus is a sweet-spot name sitting just below the Top 1000. Saint Justus of Canterbury was born in the early Middle Ages, and was instrumental in the conversion of Anglo-Saxons to Roman Christians — he would eventually become the 4th archbishop of Canterbury.
Maude has that lacy, antique vibe that is beginning to appeal to parents once again. Traditionally a nickname for German Matilda meaning "battle-mighty", Maude was used throughout the Middle Ages but hasn't charted in the US since 1950. Today Maude feels both delicate and strong, and is ready for revival.
This ancient name would make a unique alternative to the popular Owen or Oscar. Oswin is of Old English origin with the meaning "God's friend", and was used throughout the Middle Ages. The adorable and current nicknames Oz or Ozzy make this name all the more appealing.
Peregrine was the name of several early saints who lived in the Middle Ages, including St. Peregrine Laziosi who is the patron saint of those fighting cancer, AIDS, and other life-threatening illnesses — a dashing name that would be full of meaning to honor a loved one who has fought one of these diseases. If Peregrine is a bit too grand for you, the simplified Perrin is another dashing medieval name we love.
This Dutch and Scandinavian variation of classic Alexander dates back all the way to Medieval times. Saunder would fit in perfectly with classmates Sawyer, Walker, and of course Xander. With its cool, sauntering sound and trendy "-er" ending, it's a surprise Saunder is as rare and unheard of as it is.
Sybil has been used as a given name in Christian countries since the Middle Ages. Once a term for a prophetess by the Ancient Greeks, Sybil's pagan origins were overlooked by Christian parents who fell for the distinct but delicate sound and divine connections. Sybil hasn't charted in the US since the 1960s, and would be an offbeat and stylish vintage choice today.