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Le Goux, Legulphus.
De Joigny, Juniacus.
The transformations of many Dutch and German names are very amusing: Vander-Doez was turned into Douza, Moltzer into Mycillus, Schuler into Sabinus, Gastebled, or Outdebled, into Vatablus, and so on, with hundreds of others.
The confusion which arose from the Latinization of names, and from translating names into Latin and Greek —for many family denominations were turned into Greek equivalents—was beyond all description, and presented enigmas that required an (Edipus to solve them, as was remarked by Noel d'Argonne, who wrote a very amusing essay on the subject under the title of 'The Revolt of Latinized Names.' The common French names of La Porte and La Forest were rendered Janua or Januensis, and Sylvius; Du Bois was Nehemius; Pratus was equally the translation of Du Prat and Des Prez; A ngelus was the conversion both of L'Ange and Langel; Castcllanus of Du Chastel, Di Castello, Castellano, and several others. The name of Ricci, which is almost as common in Italy as that of Smith or Brown in England, was turned into Crinitus. By this transformatiou and falsification of patronymics, many a deserving man and many an honest family were deprived of their fame; for people in general were not able to trace any connexion between their friends and neighbours Monsieur Du Bois and Signor Ricci, and such names as Nehemius and Crinitus. When the change was voluntary and made by the authors themselves, it was not so bad, or at least those authors had only to blame their own folly; but it was a real hardship when, as it frequently happened, the names— the real family denominations under which they had gained distinction—were so travestied after their deaths by other writers, that there was no knowing them, and their identity became in consequence completely lost. Some of the old Bibliothecaires, or Librarians, committed great havoc in this way, and confounded the confusion the more from being seldom agreed among themselves. According to Noel d'Argonne, one of them would turn th<; name of the French historian, Du Chesne, into Quercetanus; then another would come and, scratching out Quercetanus, would write Duchesnius; and then a third, differing from them both, would prefer Chesnius. In the same way, the name of Castelio was made to hop, skip, and jump between Castalioneus, Castalio, and Castilonaeus.
A physician of Francis I., who gloried in the significant name of Sans-Malice, which d'Argonne calls " that beautiful name which is worthy of the terrestrial paradise," changed it into the Greek Akakia, which term Akakia one of his descendants again changed into Acathias. Christian names lawfully imposed by godfathers and godmothers, as the church ordains, were no more respected than family names. John Victor Rossi styled himself Janus Nicius Erythraeus. One of the popes conceived suspicions, and became at last seriously alarmed at hearing the unchristian Greek names assumed by the Roman academicians; to his ear they sounded like the names of traitors and conspirators.
In the Latinizations, a later age avoided much confusion by simply writing the termination us at the end of a name, with euphonic alterations of a simple kind, thus: Leibnitz, Leibnitius; Newton, Newtonus; Euler, Eulerus; Bernouilli, Bernoullius, &c. But there was a deal of skirmishing, and even some hard fighting, before the learned came to submit to this easy rule. Joseph Scaliger several times threw the terminations in us into confusion; with arms in his hands, he forced Rotanus and Vietus to call themselves Rota and Vieta, and if he had been permitted to pursue his conquests, by this time De Thou would be called De Tolla, and not Tbuanus; and Brisson, Brisso, and not Brissonius.
The Chancellor Fronteau, who was rough all over with Hebrew and Greek, which were as thickly set upon him as quills on the back of the porcupine, was all for the terminations in o, and hated with a more than a mortal hatred the terminations in us. "He is a terrible man," says d'Argonne, "he will admit of no reconciliation; he haughtily rejected the name of Frontellus, which was offered to him; he has also refused Frontalis, and has seized upon Fronto, in imitation of Cicero, Cato, and Scipio. The aid which he expects to derive from the analogy of an infinite number of similar names in o swells his courage and renders him intrepid."
The manner in which the articles became incorporated with the name appears in Du Cange, Ducangius; La Fin, Lafinius; De la Barde, Labardaeus. We are in one instance indebted to an older form. It would have been awkward to talk of a Des-Cartist, but the Latin Cartesius has supplied us with Cartesian. M. Lanoue is both Lanua, Nua, Noseus, and Lanovius, in different places.
The boisterously fastidious Joseph Scaliger was content that in most cases the de should be given by an anus, as Vassanus for de Vassan; but the mischief of it is, that very frequently both a de and the feminine article after it occur in foreign names, and it is difficult to render these together in Latin, which has no articles. The general usage has been to bring the article into the body of the word; but then there is often an awkwardness as to the de, which, being a very grand particle, and a sign and testimonial of nobility when placed before a man's name, people would not willingly see omitted. In an unlucky moment, Father Abraham, a Flemish Jesuit, called De la Cerda, Lacerdam. The proud Spaniard, thinking himself dishonoured and deprived of his rights by the suppression of those two magical letters the de, instantly fell upon the Jesuit with inextinguishable fury, and so battered and maimed him, that thenceforward the reverend father stood as a melancholy example to warn others how careful they should be in Latinizing the name of a Spanish Don.
The obscurity and confusion introduced by the practices we have been speaking of were not confined merely to the names of persons, but were extended to places as well, travestying and rendering unintelligible the names of countries, cities, towns, villages, rivers, and lakes, in a barbarous Latinity. This was so much the case with De Thou's voluminous and valuable history, that in the last English edition of the work it was considered absolutely necessary to give a re-translation of these names, or the colloquial and real names of places, for the Latin names that stood for them, and which for ages had been a complete puzzle to the large majority of readers.
Noel d'Argonne, who dramatizes his essay, and refers the settlement of the question to a senate of the learned, makes the meeting decide on the following imperative rules:—
That M. Du Cange shall be ordered to explain in the Supplement to his Glossary all the proper names which have been Latinized since the fall of the Roman empire.
That an express prohibition shall be laid on all authors, present and to come, under penalty of eternal obscurity and the ferula of grammarians, never more to Latinize the proper names of men, of titles, dignities, provinces, cities, mountains, seas, and rivers.
And, finally, That in order to smother every seed of war and quarrel, the lamentable and accursed invention of translating proper names from one language into another shall be banished for ever ad calcem Pancyroli de rebus inventis et perditis.
The names of offices, lands, &c., has given rise to some perplexity, which has been increased by laxity in the use of Christian names. Henry Brabantiu, William de Merbeck, and Thomas de Cantempre, are all one and the same person—no doubt the real prototype of Mrs. Malaprop's Cerberus. Jerome Cardan is also Hieronymus Castellioneus, and Johannes Roffensis may be either Bishop Fisher of Rochester or John Montague of Rochester. But Cerberus above mentioned has been beaten by a neck by Peter Bibliothecarius, alias Diaconus, alios Cassinensis, alias Ostiensis.
The transposition of letters, or anagrams, was some
times used for purposes of concealment, and very effectively done by leaving out or adding letters. Thus Messalinus would hardly be guessed to have come from Salmasius, or Cesare Leone Fruscadino from Francesco Maria de Luco Sereni. But Gustavus for Augustus, Lucianus and Alcuinus for Calvinus, Volcmarus Kirstenius for Macer Jurisconsultus, are good enough.
Some authors called their several chapters by the letters of their names; but Fordun placed at the head of his Scottish Chronicle three verses as follows, in which the first letters of each word together make up Johannes de Fordun:—
Incipies opus hoc Adonai: nomine nostri
Jean de Vauzelles announced his work by the motto Crainte de Di El vaut zele; and Pierre de Mesmes by the Italian Per me stesso son sasso, which literally in French is de moi-memeje suis Pierre, which he intended should be transposed as follows—Moi, je suis Pierre de Mesmes.
The substitution of initial letters instead of names and titles was common enough, and was borrowed from the practice of the Jews, but stripped of all point by the absence of the vowel, which is assumed or understood between the consonants of the Hebrew. Thus J. C. A. A. P. E. I. stood for Jean Cusson, Avocat au Parlement et Imprimeur, and F. J. F. C. R. S. T. P. A. P. C. for Frater Johannes Fronto, Canonicus Regularis, Sacra? Theologiae Professor, Academiae Parisiensis Cancellarius.
The lengthening of names in the following manner frequently took place: Guillet became Guillet de la Guilletiere, Thaumas became Thaumas de la Thaumassiere,* &c.
In closing this article, we observe that we can by no
* We may sometimes catch the incidents of modern novels in such apparently dry disquisitions as those of Baillet.