Questions tagged [names]

Questions related to the history of terms used for identification, for people, places, things, concepts, times or ages, events, professions, systems, sciences, or any other real or imaginary items which have been or can be identified with identifying terminology.

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69
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1answer
11k views

Which culture used no personal names?

The blog post Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names – With Examples claims that: There was an isolated culture in which no one had names – they referred to everyone in relative terms, such ...
41
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2answers
6k views

When did the Roman Empire fall according to contemporaries?

The Roman Empire divided itself into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire headquartered in Constantinople and the Western Roman Empire headquartered in Rome. The city of Rome itself fell in the year ...
23
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2answers
3k views

Why is North-Korean communist leader Kim Il-sung called Kim Ir Sen in some languages?

Looking on Wikipedia I see that in many of the languages of the former communist countries, namely East European, the North Korean leader Kim Il Sung (or Song) (1912-1994) is called Kim Ir Sen. (I am ...
20
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1answer
1k views

Why did the term “Byzantine Empire” enter common usage instead of “Eastern Roman Empire” or “Roman Empire”

Why did the term "Byzantine Empire" enter common usage instead of "Eastern Roman Empire" or "Roman Empire"? (or Imperium Graecorum?) Wikipedia says that the term Byzantine wasn't used until 1557, and ...
18
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2answers
2k views

What was the Hundred Years' War called at the time?

Similar to this question — What was the Seven Years War called at first? — but for yet a different war. According to Wikipedia, the Hundred Years' War is divided by historians into three smaller "...
16
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2answers
4k views

What is meaning of 4 letter abbreviations in Roman names like Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus?

I am reading about Titus Flavius Sabinus (consul AD 47) and cannot find meaning of T. f. T. n. in his full name as written in Wikipedia, "Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus." All I have found is a ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Why is Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf often refered to by his given name “Conrad”?

I am reading various books and material about the Great War, and in the vast majority of cases, important figures are always referred to by their family names. I.e. Clemenceau, Pointcarré, von ...
13
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7answers
7k views

What happened to all the notable Roman families?

What happened to the numerous (patrician) families of Rome? Like the Gens Julia for example. There are no ancestors today leading back to them like for example the famous Medici family from ...
12
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4answers
1k views

When did people stop translating their names when moving from one country to another?

I was interested in the process of people changing their names from one language to another. Most monarchs have a different given name in different languages. However, this phenomenon also applied to ...
10
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1answer
440 views

Why are doughnuts toroidal?

I study maths and torii come up a bit, and same goes for physics with tokamak fusion reactors, for instance. In popular science talks, sometimes people say "torus" but most people are familiar with ...
9
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4answers
925 views

Why was William III of England referred to as the British-Batavian Nassau?

While reading through the book Medallic illustrations of the history of Great Britain and Ireland to the death of George II vol. I, I came across this interesting description. My question is why ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Why is the name “Tecumseh” used for US Navy ships?

It is common practice to name warships after historical heroes of a nation. The US Navy had four vessel named USS Tecumseh Two of them were tugboats, but the other two were a then-cutting-edge ...
9
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2answers
405 views

Why did Constantius Chlorus decide to become a Flavius?

I have noticed that virtually all Roman emperors after Constantine were called Flavius Something. A quick lookup in wikipedia confirms this and even more: During the later period of the Empire, the ...
8
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1answer
6k views

How were Chinese Dynasties named?

What were the rules or conventions for choosing the name of a new dynasty chosen? Was there a single method for naming all of the Chinese dynasties?
8
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1answer
342 views

Why is Papadopoulos such a common surname in Greece?

Papadopoulos is the most common Greek surname. It means "son of a priest". The female version is Papadopoulou. I wonder why. As far as I know, priests don't marry and are celibate, meaning they can'...
7
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1answer
1k views

Were the names in Les Miserables ever common?

Victor Hugo used a variety of unusual names in Les Miserables. Lets look at some of the major characters. Jean (Valjean) - One of the historically most common masculine surnames Javert Cosette - Her ...
7
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1answer
415 views

Was “The war to end all wars” viewed as cynically during WW1 as it is today?

I was watching Wonder Woman and noticed that it had been shifted from her typical origin story of being found by a WW2 fighter pilot to being found by a WW1 spy. Chris Pine called WW1 the war to end ...
7
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0answers
213 views

Why does Hungary not follow the “usual Western naming system”? [closed]

In the "usual western system" (I'm not sure if there's a more formal name for this), we have given names first, then family names last. In contrast, in the "eastern system", the order is reversed. ...
6
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1answer
157 views

Were surname upgrades a well known practice in the Spanish Empire?

People everywhere have names, and some seek to change their name. Spanish speaking people in particular generally have two surnames, paternal and maternal, in that order. Whether the maternal one ...
6
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2answers
368 views

Confusion re the naming of Roman freedman

I have just been reading this which is admittedly very old, and there is a statement which has me totally confused. ... the master might disregard the regular form and give the freedman any name ...
5
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2answers
469 views

Is there any idea of why Cao Cao's parents would give him a nearly identical name to the family name?

I've been doing a lot of reading up about the three kingdoms warlord era of China, and Cao Cao stuck out to me as an interesting name. After some research I found that the words in Chinese are ...
5
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1answer
185 views

Giving a child to Thor

In Chapter 7 of Eyrbyggja saga we are told how Thorolf, the first gođi of Thorsness pledged his chield to Thor: Thorolf Most-beard married in his old age, and had to wife her who is called Unn; ...
5
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1answer
217 views

Where is or was the place called Apapis?

I've been trying to find out more about the origins of my rare surname Apap (from Gozo in Malta) and have been reading about its origin through military men with the surname De Apapis. The first ...
5
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2answers
251 views

What was the name of the father of Mesha, king of Moab?

In English translations of the Mesha Stele, the opening words are "I am Mesha son of Chemosh-melekh, king of Moab the Dibonite". However, the truth is that the actual text of the Stele (rendered in ...
5
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0answers
356 views

When was the name of the Mexican war changed to Mexican-American war?

I learned recently (by having an answer marked wrong in Pub Quiz) that the conflict which was called the Mexican War when I was in school is now called the Mexican-American War. My question: When, ...
5
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1answer
267 views

Was the Apostle the first Peter?

Is there an attested use of the Greek word "petros" (meaning 'stone') as a given name, before it was given to Peter the Apostle? Note: The name Jesus gave to Peter was most likely 'Kepha,' since ...
4
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1answer
389 views

What is known about the origins of the “western given-name-first-surname-last system”?

I refer to the custom or "system" of having one's given name first and family name/surname last. I believe this is widely used in the west, with the exception of Hungary (and perhaps a few other ...
4
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4answers
545 views

Is the name of “Diocletian” just a coincidence?

Ok, so apparently the splitting of Rome into two sections was the fault of a guy named "Diocletian". His first order was to split the empire into two. Is it just a coincidence that his name begins ...
4
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1answer
281 views

What type of name did the common Mayans use?

We know that most of the lord (ajaw) used to have names related to the sun, the earth or important animals. See for example the rulers of Copan. Do we have any idea if it was the same for every ...
4
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1answer
101 views

What was Captain Vozdvit's real name?

The Russian-American Company and the Russian Imperial Navy, deeply connected shipbuilding and seafaring organizations, both employed lots of foreign captains. In Richard A. Pierce's translation, K.T. ...
4
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2answers
735 views

Why was Anne of Austria so called?

She was a Spanish princess by birth. So why is she called "of Austria"? Is it because her mother was an Austrian princess? But presumably, it should be the person's place of birth that gives them ...
4
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0answers
453 views

In what period were signature rubrics used?

A rubric is a flourish embellishing a signature; it's both decorative and a security feature. At least with regard to European languages, signatures are still used but rubrics were, as far as I can ...
3
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4answers
453 views

Is there an historical name, or an example “character” from history, that encompases a sycophant?

I'm trying to see if there's a noun for a type of person that exemplifies a sycophant, and particular if there's a good example of such a person from history. In Lord of The Rings, Gruma Wormtongue ...
3
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2answers
322 views

Why is Matgenus, king of Tyre, sometimes called Mattan?

In Josephus' Against Apion (1:18) he writes in the name of Menander the Ephesian that Matgenus was one of the Tyrian kings, but I have seen other sources (like Wikipedia, et al.) refer to this king as ...
3
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1answer
215 views

How popular was the name Imhotep?

How popular was the name Imhotep in Ancient Egypt, and what other great personages bore this name? His name is said to mean "the one who comes in peace", and there are similar names like Amenhotep, ...
3
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1answer
215 views

Male Persian names in the Sasanian Empire

I am writing a short story about two non-noble men traveling through the Lut desert from Herat (back in the time called Harēv) to the city of Kerman (Back in the time called Veh-Ardashir - not to be ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Historically, was the War of 1812 ever called by another name?

In the wildly popular Youtube chanel Crash Course, the narrator states that the War of 1812 bears that title only because of the historians' "great imagination" and mentions three humorous names that ...
3
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1answer
281 views

History of eponymous cities

Alexander the Great founded many Alexandrias. Following his example, the Diadochi and the Epigoni did the same: Antigonia, Demetria, Lysimachia, Seleucia, Antiochia, Cassandreia... This trend seems ...
3
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1answer
683 views

Why is it called the War of Knives?

I recently learned about the War of Knives, but one thing I haven't been able to figure out is why its actually called the War of Knives. The war happened well after guns were in popular use, and both ...
3
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0answers
139 views

Why were so very similar names chosen for the European Council and Council of the European Union?

There are two official EU institutions which have very similar names but do very different things: The European Council, which is a strategic body comprised of the heads of state or government of the ...
3
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0answers
365 views

Was the name “War of the League of Augsburg” or “War of the Grand Alliance” used within the Alliance?

The recent question "Has anyone ever named a war after their own country or faction?" led me to mention that The War of the Grand Alliance (also known as "The War of the League of Augsburg" or "The ...
2
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2answers
367 views

How do numbered names work in history?

How do numbered names work, e.g. the "II" in William II? How come there are several people named William II? How come William II is also William III and William IV? What is the official name of this ...
2
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1answer
616 views

Two ships named “Mary Celeste” — concidence or not?

I know about the famous Mary Celeste ship which was found with no one on board in 1872. Sank in 1885. Let's nickname it "the Ghost ship". Today, while watching some National Geographic movie about ...
2
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4answers
230 views

Which is more correct, Carlos I or Carlos V?

I asked this in the Spanish StackExchange and they send me here. One very well known emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) is known as Charles V (or in Spanish: Carlos V), but it is also known as ...
2
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1answer
216 views

What is/was the correct pronunciation of Byzantine? [closed]

When I first came across the Byzantine Empire in books I assumed that it was pronounced as it was spelled (i.e. bih-zan-tin or baɪ zən tɪn in IPA). However I have since heard many people, including ...
1
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1answer
134 views

What is the difference between the Nobel Banquet and the Nobel Anniversary Dinner?

On December 10, 1945, the Nobel Banquet took place in Sweden and the "5th Annual Nobel Anniversary Dinner" took place in New York City. I understand that the Nobel Prizes are always presented in ...
1
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2answers
280 views

How were foreign names written in runes?

Are there any example of runic writing of a foreign name? Maybe journals or histories from famous warriors, travelers or foes? If so, how they do it with the runes? Basically I'm trying to find ...
0
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1answer
257 views

What is the longest name chain?

I’m talking about when a family names a son after their father, and that son names a son after himself, and so on. For example, the King Louis’ (although they weren’t always a son, but they were ...
0
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2answers
297 views

How common are the following activities historically? [closed]

In present day India the ruling party has started to rename the cities by claiming to take them to their origins. It has been discussed here, here and here. Primarily the cities with Muslim Names for ...
0
votes
1answer
320 views

Why are there so many Hungarian family names that have a pejorative tone? [closed]

I've never thought about this much since I grew up with it, but my wife is a foreigner and she thinks Hungarian family names are the weirdest thing ever. Common family names include (the Hungarian ...