Patrick Leigh Fermor on German Dialects.

Joel at Far Outliers is posting a series of excerpts from Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube, which I really must get around to reading (I love his books on Greece, Mani and Roumeli — see this post), and a couple of recent posts provide glimpses of German dialects in the mid-1930s. From Hitching a Ride in Swabia, 1934:

The driver opened the door and reached down a helping hand, with the words “Spring hinein!” When I was beside him in the steamy cabin he said “Du bist ein Schneemann!”—a snowman. So I was. We clanked on. Pointing to the flakes that clogged the windscreen as fast as the wipers wiped, he said, “Schlimm, niet?” Evil, what? He dug out a bottle of schnapps and I took a long swig. Travellers’ joy! “Wohin gehst Du?” I told him. (I think it was somewhere about this point on the journey that I began to notice the change in this question: “Where are you going?” In the north, in Low Germany, everyone had said “Wohin laufen Sie” and “Warum laufen Sie zu Fuss?”—Why are you walking on foot? Recently the verb had been ‘gehen.’ For ‘laufen,’ in the south, means to run—probably from the same root as ‘lope’ in English. The accent, too, had been altering fast; in Swabia, the most noticeable change was the substitution of -le at the end of a noun, as a diminutive, instead of -chen; Häusle and Hundle, instead of Häuschen and Hündchen, for a little house and a small dog. I felt I was getting ahead now, both linguistically and geographically, plunging deeper and deeper into the heart of High Germany . . . . The driver’s Du was a sign of inter-working-class mateyness that I had come across several times. It meant friendly acceptance and fellow-feeling.)

And from Impressions of Bavarians, 1934:

“Hans.” “ What?” “Can you see me?” “No.” “Well, the dumplings are enough.”

The inn-keeper’s wife, who was from Munich, was illustrating the difficulties of the dialect by an imaginary conversation between two Bavarian peasants. They are seated on either side of a table, helping themselves from a huge dish of Knödel, and it is only when the plate of one of them is piled high enough with dumplings to hide him from view that he stops. In ordinary German, this dialogue would run: “Hans!” “Was?” “Siehst Du mich?” “Nein.” “Also, die Knödel sind genug.” But in the speech of Lower Bavaria, as closely as I can remember, it turns into: “Schani!” “Woas?” “Siahst Du ma?” “Na.” “Nacha, siang die Kniadel knua.” Such sounds were mooing and rumbling in the background all through this Bavarian trudge.

The inns in these remote and winter-bound thorpes were warm and snug. There was usually a picture of Hitler and a compulsory poster or two, but they were outnumbered by pious symbols and more venerable mementoes. Perhaps because I was a foreigner, politics seldom entered the conversations I had to share in; rather surprisingly, considering the closeness of those villages to the fountain-head of the Party. (It was different in towns.) Inn-talk, when it concerned the regional oddities of Bavaria, was rife with semi-humorous bias. Even then, many decades after Bismarck’s incorporation of the Bavarian Kingdom into the German Empire, Prussia was the chief target. A frequent butt of these stories was a hypothetical Prussian visitor to the province. Disciplined, blinkered, pig-headed and sharp-spoken, with thin vowels and stripped consonants—every “sch” turning into “s” and every hard “g” into “y”—this ridiculous figure was an unfailing prey for the easy-going but shrewd Bavarians. Affection for the former ruling family still lingered. The hoary origins and the thousand years’ sway of the Wittelsbachs were remembered with pride and their past follies forgiven. So august and gifted and beautiful a dynasty had every right, these old people inferred, to be a bit cracked now and then. The unassuming demeanour of Prince Ruprecht, the actual Pretender—who was also the last Stuart Pretender to the British throne—was frequently extolled; he was a distinguished doctor in Munich, and much loved. All this breathed homesickness for a past now doubly removed and thickly overlaid by recent history. I liked them for these old loyalties.

I love the double pretenderhood of Prince Ruprecht (assuming it was true).


  1. Good job the succession to the UK throne isn’t complicated by claims by any Jacobite Pretenders these days.

  2. David Eddyshaw says

    Well, there is,_Duke_of_Bavaria

    who seems a worthy candidate. It appears that he is not, however, actually Pretending.

    The Heir Presumptive (if that’s the term I’m after)

    owns a brewery in Bavaria, which seems like a good enough qualification to me.

    It’s all a good bit simpler than the pretenders to the throne of France, at any rate. Don’t go there …

  3. But if you must go there, by all means read Proust. It’s one of his main topics.

  4. I wonder how far back pretenders go? Does anyone claim the throne of Tarquinius Superbus?

  5. David Eddyshaw says
  6. No, no, that’s an entirely different throne and line of succession. We need a Tarquinite pretender, from the line of Thanchvil.

  7. David Eddyshaw says

    I myself am the rightful heir of

    (one of the greatest of Welshmen)

  8. We must restore you to the throne of Wrwk!

  9. David Eddyshaw says

    Wrwc, wrth gwrs.

  10. J.W. Brewer says

    I have read 2.5 of the books in this Fermor trilogy, with the second half of this one (starting right after his arrival in Hungary from Czechoslavakia) being the one I need to go back and finish.

    But I daresay David E. is in error about Prince Luitpold’s potential status. While the incumbent Jacobite claimant is a childless confirmed bachelor, the next in line after that (his younger brother) has per wikipedia five daughters but no sons. The sonlessness is why the Bavarian claim would shift over to cousin Luitpold but the Jacobite claim would descend to his oldest surviving daughter — same reason why (in the non-Jacobite timeline we actually inhabit) Victoria took over from Wm. IV as monarch of the U.K. but didn’t get to succeed him as King of Hanover. That next-claimant-but-one (if she lives long enough) is also the wife of the heir apparent to the throne of Liechtenstein, so there are some transnational consolidation possibilities here.,_Hereditary_Princess_of_Liechtenstein

  11. Stu Clayton says

    “Well, the dumplings are enough.”

    Wut ? “Then there are enough dumplings”.

    Like many other people on the road in foreign climes, Fermor occasionally succumbs to exoticism when “translating” what the foreigners say.

    It could be called didactic exoticism – maintaining at least the word order for those following along at home.

    Of course that doesn’t mean Fermor is not worth reading.

  12. January First-of-May says

    I wonder how far back pretenders go? Does anyone claim the throne of Tarquinius Superbus?

    Well, the Exilarchic line of pretenders to the throne of the Kingdom of Judah (conquered by Babylon in early 6th century BC) lasted into the 12th century AD (possibly the 13th, but references dry up after the 11th), and AFAIK some later successors claimed that title as well, though I’m not sure if anyone still claims it today.

    AFAIK there are some Welsh and/or Irish lineages that claim direct descent from early medieval kings, though I’m not sure how many (if any) of those would be considered pretenders in the modern sense.

    More recently, Pierre Plantard (1920-2000) claimed direct descent from the Merovingian dynasty; AFAIK the vast majority of “documents” supposedly confirming his descent had since been debunked.

    EDIT: to the best of my knowledge there are no Tarquinian claimants, though apparently many members of the gens Tarquinia (with no known relation to the kings or, for the most part, each other) are sporadically attested up to at least the 3rd century AD.

  13. Irish lineages that claim direct descent from early medieval kings

    Of course we do. All of us. (Partly this is because Irish originally meant ‘head of a family’ rather than ‘king’.)

  14. J.W. Brewer says

    In terms of how far back, the sort of super-mechanical theory of hereditary succession (so mechanical that the incumbent monarch can’t himself tamper with it even if he quite plausibly thinks his oldest son would be a disaster on the throne whereas a brother or nephew would be super-competent) that legitimism requires did not really evolve in Europe until medieval times at earliest — it didn’t work that way in the Roman Empire at any time from Caesar Augustus through the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. The “official story” is that the succession to the Japanese throne has proceeded smoothly along mechanical/legitimist lines since essentially forever (certainly as far back as non-Japanese historians accept the historicity of the names in the lists), but that may in part be due to the many centuries during which the emperor-as-such had no real power and the succession to the shogunate could be determined on more pragmatic or ad hoc grounds when warranted, and there may also have been one medieval hiccup between rival branches of the family with competing claims of seniority.

    EDITED TO ADD: I erred in an earlier comment because I got a bit muddled — this Fermor I have read all the way through; it’s the one after it (the middle part of the journey, although the history of the writing-up of the journey is more complicated …) that I’ve only read part of.

  15. J.W. Brewer says

    I guess there’s a separate phenomenon of what you might call “real pretenders,” who are de facto in actual power but are claimed by certain legitimists to be illegitimate.* It was certainly the official position of the Emperors in Constantinople from A.D. 800 forward that Charlemagne and his successors had absolutely no right to use the imperial title and were … I don’t know if usurpers would be the right word? Fakers? This didn’t necessarily imply an active territorial claim, just the strong sense that there could be within Christendom only one true Emperor (or mutually recognized set of co-emperors, at times). And the same sense persisted internally in the West for many centuries – however unholy or un-Roman the Holy Roman Emperor of the day might seem to be in practice, until the Napoleonic Era no other monarch in the heterodox parts of Europe used the “emperor” title.

    *As one poet of former times put it:
    “GOD bless the King! I mean the Faith’s Defender;
    God bless (no harm in blessing) the Pretender;
    But who Pretender is, or who is King—
    God bless us all!—that’s quite another thing.”

  16. Cf. antipopes.

  17. David Eddyshaw says

    There was a schism in the Japanese imperial line in the fourteenth century:

    The Southern Court was retconned as the legitimate one in the Meiji period.

  18. What is a “thin vowel” and what is a “stripped consonant”? Does Prussian German really have /š/ > /s/?

  19. PlasticPaddy says

    What he might mean here about s is that medial or final sp/st is pronounced in many parts of the South like initial sp/st, i.e., like schp/scht so Veschper or erscht for Vesper or erst.
    Re thin vowels maybe this is related to different pronunciations of long a or long ä. I can hear differences but not describe or reproduce them.

  20. January First-of-May says

    The Southern Court was retconned as the legitimate one in the Meiji period.

    …even though the later emperors were descended from the Northern Court. Apparently the sacred imperial treasures were transferred from the south to the north in 1392 and then never returned back despite agreements to do so.
    It does appear that the Northern Court line was genealogically senior.

    TIL about Kumazawa Hiromichi, a (claimed) Southern Court descendant who unsuccessfully petitioned MacArthur in 1946 to be restored in his rights as legitimate Emperor of Japan.

    since essentially forever (certainly as far back as non-Japanese historians accept the historicity of the names in the lists)

    IIRC shortly before the accepted-historicity point the Japanese record claims a succession by a very distant cousin, which might have been covering up a dynasty change. But after that point it’s indeed been the same dynasty (modulo the aforementioned 14th century split).

  21. i’ve very much enjoyed the first two volumes of fermor’s transeuropean travelogue; still have to read the third!

    i found daniel guérin’s The Brown Plague an interesting pairing with the A Time of Gifts – another young man’s venture into germany in 1932 and then 1933. it’s very different, of course: guérin’s writing was published at the time, in the french left press, and he was far more politically engaged than fermor. but they’re both astute observers, and the places they were are quite different and complicatedly complementary.

  22. Jen in Edinburgh says

    I was reading about the Jacobite line of succession yesterday, since we now have competing Charles IIIs…

    In Anglicised form, Rupprecht would have been Robert IV and I, which I like. It would be nice to have one of the Scottish regnal names back – young George could choose to be Alexander IV and I if he wanted!

  23. Jen in Edinburgh says

    (Although I suppose Charles is originally the name of a Scottish prince who just happened to end up on the English throne.)

  24. David Marjanović says

    In the north, in Low Germany, everyone had said “Wohin laufen Sie” and “Warum laufen Sie zu Fuss?”—Why are you walking on foot? Recently the verb had been ‘gehen.’ For ‘laufen,’ in the south, means to run

    Yup, I had to teach that earlier this week, because the book failed to mention it.

    —probably from the same root as ‘lope’ in English.

    The exact cognate is ‘leap’.

    But in the speech of Lower Bavaria, as closely as I can remember, it turns into: “Schani!” “Woas?” “Siahst Du ma?” “Na.” “Nacha, siang die Kniadel knua.”

    Schani is Jean plus the nickname suffix and was common in Vienna at some point. oa is a convention to render dialectal [ɒ] in northern Germany; Fermor may have taken it along.

    I’m not familiar with Low Bavarian. In any kind of Bavarian unstressed du loses its vowel and thereby disappears. What I don’t now is what the local form of siehst is; my native one is /sɪɐ̯xst/, the Viennese one is /sɪgst/. I think it’s unlikely that confusions between dative and accusative have gone far enough to replace acc. /mɪ/ by dat. /mɐ/; I’m not aware of that happening elsewhere in Bavarian. “No” is indeed /nã/. The last sentence means what Stu said: the comma is wrong, nachher “afterwards” is reduced to /nɒxːɐ/ and turned into “in that case”. Unreduced articles are generally demonstratives where I come from, though, so “those dumplings” or at least “the ones we have”. If the ia spellings aren’t just from misremembering, there must be an extra diphthongization I don’t know about; the way I’m used to, sind die(se) Knödel genug is /sãnd(ɪ)knɛdl̩ngnʊɐ̯/: sind replaced by seien /sãn/, plural ending -n on Knödel.

    Before the spelling reform of 1998–2005, du was capitalized in letters. Many people still do that in e-mails.

    with thin vowels and stripped consonants—every “sch” turning into “s” and every hard “g” into “y”

    I guess “thin vowels” refers simply to Standard/central/northern [a(ː)] corresponding to Bavarian [ɒ ~ ɒ̈ ~ ɔ]. “Every sch” must be an exaggeration of the fact that the /ʃ/ of st- and sp- never spread to northern Low German, so that a stereotypical coastal accent (in Standard German or at least Hamburg mesolect) used to render an den/einen spitzen Stein gestoßen as [ʔanɵnspʉtsn̩staɪ̯ŋgɵstöʊ̯sn̩].

    Generalizing /ʃ/ into every st & sp is an Alemannic feature. That said, */rst/ has a /ʃ/ in (much of?) Bavarian, and that affects such common words as Wurst, Durst, (zu)erst.

    The unconditional merger *[ɣ] > /j/, as opposed to the Upper German *[ɣ] > [g̊], is found in the dialects of a central belt that includes Berlin and Cologne. It used to be the most important feature of a stereotypical Berlin accent.

    Vesper hasn’t been in anyone’s active vocabulary for a long time. 🙂 Well, anyone except priests probably, but the word doesn’t come up in church services or anything.

  25. Schani is Jean plus the nickname suffix and was common in Vienna at some point.

    Hence, most probably, the schanigarten, the Viennese moniker for outdoor dining terraces (or even simply a collection of tables and chairs in front of the establishment), but no one seems to agree on who Schani was. Most likely a certain Giovanni Taroni, if we believe Wikipedia.

  26. David, is there a clear isogloss between Franconian and Low Bavarian or is that a continuum?

  27. PlasticPaddy says

    Vesper = Vesperbrot (maybe instead of Abendbrot). Is that also unknown in your dialect?

  28. Kate Bunting says

    >In Anglicised form, Rupprecht would have been Robert IV and I.

    Why not Rupert, I wonder?

  29. David Marjanović says

    I plainly forgot about the most salient feature of Low Bavarian: /s/ > /h/ (not sure under which conditions), so that (the replacement of) sind comes out as /hãn/.

    David, is there a clear isogloss between Franconian and Low Bavarian or is that a continuum?

    I know less about this than (say) Wikipedia, but I suspect there’s a fairly clear boundary. In my limited experience, Low Bavarian of Landshut differs from Upper Bavarian of Munich only in the mentioned /s/ > /h/ and the change of 1pl -/mɐ/ from clitic to full-blown obligatory verb ending; they’re both Western Central Bavarian (and my dialect is Eastern). Upper Franconian, AFAIK, has full-blown Inderior German Gonsonand Weagening, plus a few different vowel qualities, and I know practically nothing about vocabulary & grammar.

    Vesper = Vesperbrot (maybe instead of Abendbrot). Is that also unknown in your dialect?

    Oh! AFAIK it’s unknown everywhere outside of old literature. The variation I know of is only Abendbrot vs. Abendessen vs. Nachtmahl.

    Why not Rupert, I wonder?

    That’s the loan as opposed to the cognate, is all.

  30. @J.W. Brewer: In tracing back the earlier years of the Yamato Dynasty, there are actually four significant points in the lineage, before each of which the traditional claims get more and more dicey. From the death of the Emperor Kinmei (traditionally held to have been the 29th) circa 571, around the beginning of the Asuka period, the dates of each emperor’s rule are considered generally pretty reliable. However, while the regnal dates from before Kinmei are often considered dubious, the names and some notable facts about a number of earlier emperors are considered to be probably factual. The second salient point is where where the current imperial line can be traced back to: Kinmei’s grandfather, Emperor Keitai (26th), who was King of Koshi before, presumably, conquering some or all of the core regions of south-central Japan. Keitai is claimed to have been a distant descendant of some of the earlier emperors—which is certainly possible but impossible to verify. The (supposedly 20th) Emperor Anko is then the earliest emperor about whom any of the reported facts seem likely to be even vaguely accurate. The traditional information preserved about earlier emperors looks mostly like either purely genealogical interpolation or obvious myth. What we know of Emperor Ojin (15th), from whom Keitai was supposedly descended, is clearly legendary, not historical. He might have been a real person—as may have been some or all of the others, as far back as Emperor Sujin (10th)—but the accounts of emperors prior to Anko are full of obvious fiction.

  31. @Jen:

    i’ve been wondering whether charliii is really named for the stuart charleses. it seems like an odd choice for the windsors: they aren’t direct descendants, they aren’t scottish, they aren’t closet catholics, and their general style could hardly be more different.

    so i was wondering whether he’s really a calqued karl of some kind. but a nod to the hapsburgs seems implausible, and there aren’t a lot of them in the wettin line.

    but there is a cousin!

    warning: tinfoil hat activated

    specifically a third cousin, yclept charles edward, the last duke of saxe-coburg & gotha, a grandson of victoria (and who isn’t?), and namesake grandfather of carl 16 gustav, currently king of sweden. by the time charliii was born, charles edward was not in good odor in the u.k., where he was born and raised, having been not only a devoted aircraft supplier and infantry officer to the kaiser, but an enthusiastic nazi well before the seizure of power*.

    but that’s the country, not the family. to my eye, he’s extremely plausible as a namesake. the windsors’ pro-nazi politics (aside from their personal objection to the possibility of losing their throne) and personal sympathies have never been exactly hidden, philip’s in particular (he could’ve fielded a water polo team of nazis just from his immediate family). so it’s easy for me to picture phil and liz deciding to give a quiet nod to cousin charles in his sad old age – it seems like exactly their sense of humor, and the stuarts would give perfect cover while they chuckled over it for seventy years.

    tinfoil hat off

    * he was in early enough to get one of these in the 25-year denomination (yes, the math doesn’t work. unless you use special nazi math).

  32. David Marjanović says

    special nazi math

    See also: the party membership numbers beginning with 500 instead of 1, and German physics.

    Edit: Oh! Actual Nazi math.

  33. According to Norwegian media king Charles was named after Norway’s king Haakon VII, who started his life as prince Carl of Denmark. He was always very close to the British royal family, being married to the British princess Maud and also a godfather of Charles’ mother Elizabeth. King Haakon’s credentials from WW2 were impeccable.

  34. Might Charles III have been named after Charles Cavendish-Bentinck (one of his great-great-grandfathers)?

  35. Jen in Edinburgh says

    By Scottish tradition he should have been named for his paternal grandfather, but he was Andrew (which may explain what I have just realised was a rather unusual name for the child then second in line to the throne).

    Anne is another Stuart name, though – both that and Charles are definitely royal names, but a change from all the Georges and Marys, which may have been the main point…

    The original Charles was presumably named after Charles X of France, his father’s godfather – wikipedia isn’t sure whether James VI was christened James Charles or Charles James. But Charles’ elder brother was Henry, which looks like a name with an eye on the English throne (although his paternal grandfather was Henry, Lord Darnley).

  36. It is perhaps a fortunate coincidence that the first Hanoverian king (named Georg Ludwig at his birth, when the possibility of his eventual succession to the throne of the not-yet-existent U.K. was likely not on anyone’s mind) bore a name which, although not previously borne by an English monarch, was that of the traditional patron saint of England. Although “George” had already been floating around the royal family in the person of George of Denmark, husband to Queen Anne and commemorated in the name of Prince George’s County, Maryland.

    Presumably the Hanoverian propaganda was that cousin George was the real continuation of the values etc. of the generally-popular Charles II, with only James II having gone to the bad after getting mixed up with Popery. But I don’t claim to know the thinking about whether “Charles” subsequently got skunked for a while as a potential name for newborn British princes as a result of the tumult of 1745 etc. Had George I’s grandson Friedrich Ludwig (a/k/a Frederick, Prince of Wales) outlived his father, there would have been a King Frederick I, presumably altering subsequent generations’ sense of what sounded like a royal name. (In the event, his tenure did start the process of getting Frederick into circulation as a given name in Anglophone societies.)

  37. January First-of-May says

    I’ve recently been wondering what would the royal name perception had been like if Sophia of Hanover lived a few months longer (or Anne a few months less), so that she would have briefly acceded to the British throne as (presumably) Queen Sophia (or Sophie).

  38. According to Norwegian media king Charles was named after Norway’s king Haakon VII, who started his life as prince Carl of Denmark.

    Well they would say that, wouldn’t they? (MRDA)

  39. Queen Sophy, I should think, with no damned Frenchness about it.

  40. David Eddyshaw says

    The Great Sophy …

  41. Soph-y/ie/ia is named in the Act of Settlement as “the most Excellent Princess Sophia Electress and Dutchess Dowager of Hannover Daughter of the most Excellent Princess Elizabeth late Queen of Bohemia Daughter of our late Sovereign Lord King James the First of happy Memory”, which gives some idea as to which form would have been expected by Parliament at least, though the “Grand/Great Sophy” reference would have been very tempting (corruption of Safavi, apparently, in that context).

  42. Jen in Edinburgh says

    … and now I finally get the Georgette Heyer title. (I feel like I’ve quite recently suddenly ‘got’ something else where I previously had no idea there was anything to get, but I have no idea now what it was.)

    Although I did stop dead in the middle of the washing up to wonder if ‘Rangers’ in football team names is the same as ‘Wanderers’, which is something I had Never Thought About Before.

  43. (I feel like I’ve quite recently suddenly ‘got’ something else where I previously had no idea there was anything to get, but I have no idea now what it was.)

    This happens to me a lot.

  44. @Jen in Edinburgh: Perhaps surprisingly, the earlier English sense of ranger is not the one that seems to be the literal sense, “A rover, a wanderer; †a rake (obsolete). Also: (Australian) = bush-ranger.” That sense is only attested from 1560, while, “Originally: a forester, a gamekeeper. Subsequently: a keeper of a royal park (also as an honorary title). Now esp.: a warden of a national or state park or forest”—which seems like an extended sense—is actually quite a bit older, first attested in 1327. In fact, this may be older than the verb range (“Esp. of a person or animal: to traverse or move in all directions over a comparatively large area; to rove, roam, wander”) in English; the verb, although much older in French, is only documented in English in the fifteenth century. However, the OED does give the etymology of ranger as < range v., albeit with the note: “although this is first attested later, and does not correspond exactly in sense.”

    Tolkien, as he often does, uses the word ranger in multiple senses. The Dúnedain of the north ranged far and wide across the lost realm of Arnor and beyond. However, the Rangers do this specifically as part of their enduring duty to protect the people and the land—keeping the country for when the king will be heard of again. It appears that most outsiders who heard the term “ranger” interpreted solely in terms of traveling or wandering.

    ‘Do you really mean that Strider is one of the people of the old Kings?’ said Frodo in wonder. ‘I thought they had all vanished long ago. I thought he was only a Ranger.’

  45. @Brett: Even in modern AmEng, the semantic gap between ranger in the sense “person employed at national park to protect and/or explain to visitors the flora/fauna” and ranger in the sense “member of a specific elite Army unit with specialized training” is wide enough that I’m not sure the average speaker could explain the etymological backstory that gave rise to both senses, although maybe some entertaining folk etymology could be generated by the effort?

  46. The Wikipedia article History of Rangers F.C. says “Moses McNeil suggested the name Rangers [in 1872] after seeing the name ‘Swindon Rangers’ in a book about English rugby.” But why were Swindon Rangers called that?

  47. Wikipedia claims the New York Rangers were originally intended to invoke the “Lone Ranger”/”Texas Ranger” sense of the word, because they were originally owned/managed back in the 1920’s by a guy known as Tex and had a cowboy logo.

  48. I now wonder whether the British epithet Sloane Ranger was chosen just because it sounded funny, or whether there was also the irony of a metaphorically very limited vista.

  49. Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?

    Yes, indeed, it’s not an unbiased source.

    I have now consulted the expertice, my wife, who says that king Haakon was called “uncle Charles” by the British royal family, that he was Charles’s godfather (not Elizabeth’s as I had it), and that the source is a private letter from him to Elizabeth (available to historians) expressing his feelings of honor and gratitude for being chosen as a godfather and for being named after.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that king Haakon was the only Charles that the young prince was named after.

  50. The original Charles was presumably named after Charles X of France, his father’s godfather

    Surely you mean Charles IX? Charles X lived in the 19th century and got run off.

  51. Jen in Edinburgh says

    I expect I do. Six is about as many of one king as it’s reasonable to have, after that they all just look the same.

  52. Lars Mathiesen says

    There was an earlier Carl (of Denmark) in the Danish Royal house, the younger brother of Frederick IV instead of Christian X.

    But Carl occurs less prominently in the names of other male members, for instance the later Christian X was christened CHRISTIAN Carl Frederik Albert Alexander Vilhelm and the later Haakon VII was christened Christian Frederik CARL Georg Valdemar Axel — lots of grandfathers and uncles and early kings and bishops in there, but both of them equipped to ascend the throne as Christian X if need be (as were indeed their younger brothers HARALD Christian Frederik and Christian Frederik Vilhelm Valdemar GUSTAV).

    Their maternal grandfather was Charles XV of Sweden (Carl Ludvig Eugen) — so lightly skipping over the fact that Karl Sverkersson (ascended 1160) is counted as Charles VII, I think we can say that the new British king is indirectly named for at least nine Swedish ones, most of whom were just called Churl growing up because that was how they swung back then.

    Karl Sverkersson är den förste historiske svenske kungen med namnet Karl. Johannes Magnus kallar honom dock “Karl VII” i sin Historia de omnibus Gothorum Sveonomque regibus, eftersom däri omnämns sex tidigare kungar med namnet Karl – samtliga fiktiva gestalter.

    (Note the oldtimey weak masculine adjectives. A good sign the line was cribbed from a 19th century source).

  53. But why were Swindon Rangers called that?

    It sez here (about half way down) that the Swindon Rangers rugby club was an offshoot of the Swindon Rangers Cricket Club.

    So that explains that….

  54. This is going to go back to the Picts, isn’t it?

  55. David Eddyshaw says

    In the end, it all goes back to the Picts …

  56. May well be. Glasgow Rangers was apparently not depicted until 1876-77, the club’s fifth season.

  57. Jen in Edinburgh says

    Well, they’re definitely not Celts…

  58. Ha!

  59. Well worth reading, but I did like his Greek books better.

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