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Shooting From The Hip
Observations From The Outside
I Wanna Know Your Name 
20th-Aug-2008 02:05 pm
Book of Knowledge
I just discovered that my mundane first name is actually Old English in origin. I always knew what it meant, based upon what I had read in those books of baby names -- I just had never seen it broken down into it's original components which comprise my name. That was pretty cool!

My SCA name tends to be pretty uncommon, which is strange because it was the name of an acutal Anglo-Saxon king. Every time I look up the "meaning" behind the name, it usually says that it is a derivative of Aesc, meaning "ash tree". This usually confuses me because -ric means "power, ruler" in Old English. (Godric = "god's power"; Leofric = "friendly ruler"; Aelfric = "elf ruler") So how does Oeric mean "ash tree"?

The answer is found in a combination of lazy people who don't bother to research further and the lack of records dating back to that time.

Oeric was the birth name of a 5th century king, son of Hengest (or grandson, depending on whose geneology you follow). Oeric's surname was Oisc. The kings of Kent that followed were called oiscingas [the descendants of Oisc]. Somewhere along the line, Oeric is given the nickname of Aesc — and thus the confusion begins. Aesc and Oisc are used interchangeably, even to the descendants being called aescingas instead of oiscingas. But nowhere is there a connection made between the name Oeric and Aesc. They are not used interchangeably, and yet there are many reference sources that give Aesc the higher priority and Oeric a derivative of it, which isn't the case. That would be like saying that George was the derivative of his nickname Shrub. It doesn't work that way.

One notation I found regards Oeric's grandson, Eormenric. It mentions that Gregory of Tours recorded that the marriage of Æthelberht I took place during the reign of his father, who the geneologies name as Eormenric. According to this, it is said that Eormenric can be regarded as the first historical King of Kent, but that his reign cannot be dated. It also says that his name is in the correct form for a member of the dynasty since both Eormen- and -ric occur again, as subsequent kings (Eormenred, Eadric, and Ælfric).

If the part about -ric is true, then to me it would indicate that Oeric would be the correct name. Of course, that breaks typical Anglo-Saxon naming convention since "OE" doesn't mean anything — as so far as I've found. It would conclude that Oeric simply means "ruler".
20th-Aug-2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Are you planning on submitting this as an A&S research paper, as per the challenge?
20th-Aug-2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
I hadn't considered it. I was just putting down rambling thoughts that were in my mind when I discovered the piece of information about the nickname while I was feeling a little braind-dead at work.
20th-Aug-2008 08:38 pm (UTC) - name info
very cool. I think you should put it in the newsletter and invite others to do such name research too :-)
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