The Naming Patterns of the Inhabitants of Frankish Acre
By Iris Shagrir
Crusades, Vol.4 (2005)
Introduction: The anthroponymic method and analyses that have been developed and used in medieval studies in recent decades perceive the personal name as one of the means by which a social group may express itself. These methods enable researchers to trace socio-cultural evolutions within groups and to explore the differences between them. Using evidence from name-giving patterns from the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem and from crusader Acre in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, I will attempt to examine whether there were any special characteristics of the naming patterns of the inhabitants of Acre, both in comparison with the rest of the Latin kingdom, and in comparison with Italian maritime towns in the thirteenth century. I will also attempt to verify whether a so-called “urban anthroponymy”, a phenomenon described in European contemporary studies, can be identified in thirteenth century Acre. I will first present briefly the basic terminology and the main findings on the naming patterns of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. I will then examine the findings from a sample of people specifically identified as inhabitants of Acre, and compare these findings with Franks from the rest of the Latin kingdom. A third section attempts to compare Acre and the Italian maritime cities in the thirteenth century, mainly Venice and Genoa, and intends to identify an “urban phenomenon” in the naming patterns in Acre.