The word 'onomastic' is taken from the Greek for 'pertaining to a name'. An Onomastikon was a list of proper names of subjects (including nature, cities and professions) used in ancient times, but the term 'onomastics' is now used for the study of names.
Although the author, an English Literature graduate, has always had an interest in names, 'The Onomastikon' is not the product of an academic study. It was originally intended to provide a few useful names for rôle-players who needed a name from a particular historical background. People who furnished characters with the Biblical names Ann or Tom when playing Saxon peasants in a world where Christianity was unknown did seem to imply that it was needed! Saxon, Norman, Arthurian and Medieval English names were the core of the original list but they were steadily added to and with the establishment of a web site this has continued.
For European countries, meanings are not usually included as space is limited. When the English equivalent of a name is given, the origin and meaning can be found in the English First Name Variants section. For names from other sources, I have included any meanings I have found but in many cases I haven't yet discovered any.
With the addition of so many foreign and historical sections it became necessary to provide some form of background to give an indication of the various influences upon that particular country or people. These are not yet completed but will be added to the documents as they are written.
A suggestion that a pronunciation guide should be included has already been received and this is being attended to where possible. It is hoped to include as many countries or races as possible and in the course of research it is likely that many of the existing entries will be extended. Tolkien is the only 'fantasy' author whose character names have been included as it is likely that they would be useful for MERP, but I have begun a 'Literary' section for authors whose work seems to have influenced the usage of certain names or who have invented new ones that have become popular.
The Onomastikon is not intended to be representative - all names and alternative spellings found for a particular country are included whether they are rare or not. The author has no specialist knowledge and is not able to give detailed information about individual names. Although every effort is made to be accurate, some mistaken attributions could have occurred as a result of nationals of one country having moved from another. For example, although Dallaglio, Mazrocis and Le Tissier can be found amongst the ranks of British sportsmen, their surnames originate from Italy, Latvia and France.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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