Women's Names in Old English: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Women's Names in Old English

1st Edition

By Elisabeth Okasha


150 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138251984
pub: 2016-11-28
SAVE ~$11.99
Hardback: 9781409400103
pub: 2011-05-13
SAVE ~$33.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315233499
pub: 2016-12-05
from $29.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


This monograph provides an in-depth study into the issue of vernacular names in Old English documents. Specifically, it challenges the generally accepted notion that the sex of an individual is definitively indicated by the grammatical gender of their name. In the case of di-thematic names, the grammatical gender in question is that of the second element of the name. Thus di-thematic names have been taken as belonging to women if their second element is grammatically feminine. However, as there are no surviving Anglo-Saxon texts which explain the principles of vernacular nomenclature, or any contemporary list of Old English personal names, it is by no means sure that this assumption is correct. While modern scholars have generally felt no difficulty in distinguishing male from female names, this book asks how far the Anglo-Saxons themselves recognised this distinction, and in so doing critically examines and tests the general principle that grammatical gender is a certain indicator of biological sex. Anyone with an interest in Old English manuscripts or early medieval history will find this book both thought provoking and a useful reference tool for better understanding the Anglo-Saxon world.


'Okasha’s book provides a starting place for further research and is structured for ease of reference. … research within the perimeter of her stated purpose has been thorough and methodical. She has laid out the results in concise prose and left open the gate for further study of women’s names in Old English.' Speculum

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Preface; Introduction; The material; Analysis and classification of the material; Discussion of di-thematic names; Analysis and discussion of mono-thematic names; Some implications; Vernacular names in Old English poetry; General discussion; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Concordances.

About the Author

Dr Elisabeth Okasha, Acting Director, Language Centre, University College Cork, Ireland

About the Series

Studies in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland

Studies in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland
Studies in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland illuminates the history of Britain and Ireland from the start of the fifth century to the establishment of French-speaking aristocracies in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, for historians, archaeologists, philologists, literary, visual and cultural scholars. It explores the origins of British society, of communities, and political, administrative and ecclesiastical institutions. It was in the early middle ages that the English, Welsh, Scots and Irish defined and distinguished themselves in language, customs and territory and the successive conquests and settlements lent distinctive Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and Norman elements to the British ethnic mix. Royal dynasties were established and the landscape took a form that can still be recognised today; it was then too that Christian churches were established with lasting results for our cultural, moral, legal and intellectual horizons. Studies in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland reveals these roots and makes them accessible to a wide readership of scholars, students and lay people.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
REFERENCE / Genealogy & Heraldry