Tuesday, June 12, 2007


One of the most frustrating problems associated with the compilation of medieval biographies, or biographies in general, is the abundance and variations of names.

Take for example:

  • Adelaide - also referred as: Adelheid, Adela, Adlais, Adelaise, Adeliza, Alice, Alys, Alix.
  • Blanche - Blanca
  • Hugh - Hugues
  • Constance - Constantia
  • Beatrice - Beatrix
  • James - Jacques, Jaoa
  • Henry - Henri, Enrique, Heindrich, Heindrick
Take into account all variations of the name depending on which country your source comes from, and I think you get my meaning.

Then, add to that the confusion over place names. Take for example Adelaide of Poitou - also known as Adelaide of Aquitaine (and all versions of her first name as listed above). Also, consider Alice Capet - aka: Alice of France (and again, numerous versions of her first name).

So, before you sit down and think you have a dozen different people whose lives all mirror each other, with a little more probing you may actually turn out to have just the one. Research and cross-referencing is essential.


cardinal_wolsey said...

Do you favour Katherine or Catherine of Aragon (or both!)?

Melisende said...

I have favoured:
Catherine of Aragon, Katherine Howard, Katherine Parr.

But then is it: Catherine, Katherine, Katharine, Caterin, Caterina, Catarina, Catrin, Yekatarina.

Might be easier just to stick with plain "Kate".