Medieval France. An Encyclopedia

(Darren Dugan) #1

Thus, Perceval (Conte du Graal) will be found under CHRÉTIEN DE TROYES and the
Gesta Francorum under AIMOIN DE FLEURY. The form of the individual’s name
chosen to alphabetize has frequently proven problematic. At the conception of the
project, it was the editors’ intention to use the modern French form for all proper nouns,
but it quickly became clear that both scholars and the general public would be
disoriented, and perhaps shocked, to have to look under GUILLAUME LE BÂTARD for
the familiar William the Conqueror, or PIERRE LE CHANTRE for Peter the Chanter.
The compromise reached was that we would seek to include that form of the name most
familiar to scholars in historical disciplines and to the general public. Thus, all kings of
France and England, dukes of Burgundy, and many members of the royal families are
found under their Englished form (Charles the Bad, Philip the Bold, Henry II); most
theologians and philosophers are anglicized (Philip the Chancellor, William of
Champeaux, Thierry of Chartres); while all vernacular authors are found under the usual
French form of their name (Marie de France, Thomas d’Angleterre, Peire Cardenal). In
all cases, however, the user should try the following equivalencies when the name is not
where initially sought: Gautier=Walter; Guillaume/ Guilhem=William; Jean=John;
Matthieu=Matthew; Philippe=Philip; Pierre/Peire=Peter.
A further complicating factor was whether to alphabetize under the given name or the
cognomen. As the article PERSONAL NAMES makes clear, cognomens began to be
used only in the 11th century and were generally loconyms common to all people living
in a given place, changing as the person changed residence. The personal name remained
the individual’s chief identification. But, by the 14th century, family names as we know
them slowly began to become fixed, so that cognomens vied with personal names in
providing identification. Furthermore, many individuals from this period are more readily
identified by their cognomens than their personal names (Villon, Deschamps,
Ockeghem). So it was decided that individuals whose primary period of activity preceded
the 14th century were to be identified by their personal names (Peter of Blois, Renaut de
Beaujeu, William of Sens), whereas those who were active principally or wholly in the
14th and 15th centuries are to be found under their cognomens (La Marche, Olivier de;
Ockham, William of; Ferrières, Henri de). A few exceptions were made, always with the
intention of providing the most accessible and familiar entry (Bernard Gui, Christine de
Pizan, René d’Anjou), and usually where the cognomen is still clearly a loconym. The
user is encouraged to seek first under the given name, since fully 90 percent of the
individuals found herein are so alphabetized, and secondarily under the cognomen.
In the case of anonymous literary works like the Chanson de Roland or Roman de
Sidrac, we have taken the “Chanson de” or “Roman de” as a generic indicator, rather
than as a part of the title; these works are listed as ROLAND, CHANSON DE and
SIDRAC, ROMAN DE. French cities are listed under their French spellings, which in only
a few cases differ from their English forms (Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg).
The volume includes maps, genealogies, and illustrations to add a visual dimension
that will help clarify individual topics and inform the reader. The index at the end of the
encyclopedia is intended to guide users to topics that either lack their own entry or are
cited repeatedly throughout the volume. The bibliographies appended to the entries are
not intended to be exhaustive but instead provide key reference materials that will enable
the student and scholar to move quickly and confidently into the matter at hand. They are

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