Your Name in Cymrian

Names in the South of Cymria are straightforward enough. A few families carry on particular surnames – the Redguards being a prime example, and later on the Eagleborns as well. Most Southerners, however, have no hereditary surname. Instead, the tradition is to take the name of your father if you’re a man, or your mother if you’re a woman, though sometimes children are given the first names of their parents or grandparents, making the first name the one that passes down the family line. It means that much Southerner ancestry is difficult to trace, though in later years hereditary surnames have gradually become more common.

But if you want to know what your name would have been if you were a Cymrian Southerner, it’s simple enough. For example, if your name is Julia and your mother’s name was Violet, your full name would be Julia Violetsen. A man named David whose father’s name was Luke would be David Lukeson.

Meanwhile, in the North, matters are slightly more complicated. Unfortunately, after decades of Southern rule, many Northern traditions were lost – one of which was their original naming pattern. Like the Southerners their custom was to take the names of parents, albeit in their own language. For instance, Cadfael son of Caradoc would be referred to as Cadfael ap Caradoc, meaning “Cadfael of Caradoc”. Talaith, daughter of Gwenabwy, would be Talaith ferch Gwenabwy.

However, after the Southern conquest, this tradition died out and most Northerners took their surnames from their particular craft or station in life – hence names such as Arddryn Weaver, which was Arddryn Taranisaii’s original name. In doing this the Northerners were generally mimicking their Southern overlords, as many Southern commoners also used their jobs as surnames – though these weren’t necessarily passed on through families.

Arddryn Taranisaii and her heirs changed all of this. The name Taranisaii is not Northern, and its origins were mysterious for many years until the scholar Cadfael Taranisaii discovered its true roots – which, not being particularly flattering to the Taranisaii dynasty, went largely ignored. In any case, the truth is that Arddryn’s claim to have been descended from the legendary King Taranis was a lie, which she created to make herself seem more legitimate in the eyes of her followers when she made a bid to become the new ruler of the North. She invented the name Taranisaii herself, along with the fictitious history of her actually lowly and undistinguished family.

Arddryn’s claims may have been blatant lies, but the name of Taranisaii still stuck, and in the years after the creation of the Northern kingdom, other Northerners who had suddenly become wealthy and powerful began to adopt similar names – wanting to found important families of their own. Hence names such as Hafweni (“of the blood of Hafwen”) and Garnocai began to appear – many of them created from the first names of Arenadd’s more prominent supporters.

And that’s our imaginary history lesson for today. Why not see if you can take what you’ve read here and make a name for yourself?

~KJT, aka Katie Annesen, aka Katie ferch Anne, aka Katie Archivist-Author, aka Katie Taylorasii.

Neato text ornament here