Latinization of personal names

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The Latinization of personal names is a phenomenon that was particularly widespread among European scholars of the Middle Ages and the humanists of the Renaissance . In church registers (i.e. in church registers ), Latinized personal names were used in some areas until the early 19th century.

Even the ancient Romans had phonetic harmonized foreign names with Latin, partly through Etruscan mediation (eg "Odysseus → Ulixes").

For the medieval scholars and humanists of the Renaissance that was Latin , the lingua franca . Since non-Latin ("barbaric") names could only be used cumbersome in the academic discussion, which was mainly conducted in Latin, they were adapted to the lingua franca by means of Latinization . This applied both to names of European and non-European origins: the names of oriental scholars were Latinized to a particularly large extent in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (e.g. "Abū Alī al-Husain ibn Abdullāh ibn Sīnā → Avicenna"; also "K '" ung-fu-tzu ”is known in Europe almost exclusively by its Latinized name“ Confucius ”). By latinizing their own names, European scholars formed so-called humanist names .

The latinization of names was done in different ways:

Since Latin enjoyed greater prestige than the vernacular in the 16th century, almost every occidental scholar adopted a Latinized or Graecized name, occasionally both side by side. The prerequisite for the formation of such names was that there was no need to permanently fix or protect personal names, just as little as the spelling had been regulated. First names have been translated into the language of the respective speaker until very recently (e.g. Christopher Columbus , Maria Stuart ).

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Latinization of the name about the same amount came out of use, as the vernacular Latin as the lingua franca peeled off in teaching and learning. In the spiritual civil status system , which continues to be in Latin , especially that of the Roman Catholic Church , the Latinization of personal names persisted in some areas into the early 19th century.

See also