10 Names From The Carolingian Dynasty

Today we’re looking into a dynasty that hails from France in the Middle Ages. The Carolingian Empire occurred from 800-888 AD and covered much of modern day France as well as surrounding countries, including much of what these days constitute the western part of modern-day Germany. Some of the names from the era are fascinating, and today we’re covering 10 of them.

1. Charlemagne

Perhaps the best known Frankish king from the Carolingian Dynasty (reigning from 742-814 AD). Charlemagne is an elaboration of Charles le Magne, which in English is Charles the Great. This name is commonly heard in my household as a nickname for friend Charlotte.

2. Carloman

Whilst Charles and Carl have made it to modern day usage, this other offshoot has not. This was the name of several Frankish rulers, including the 8th-century Carloman I who ruled jointly with his brother (the above aforementioned Charlemagne) for a time.

3. Pepin

Alternatively spelled Pippin, the origins of this name are uncertain. Pepin the Short was the first Carolingian king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne.

4. Louis

The only name on this list to have any modern day usage, and he goes on to become incredibly popular amongst the Renaissance French Royals until Louis the Millionth* (*that’s a lie, he was the 16th) met his fateful end. First used by the son of Charlemagne, this name was brought to England by the Norman with the spelling Lewis. The name is the French form of Ludovicus, which comes from Ludwig.

5. Lothaire

Perhaps too close to the word lothario for anyone to seriously consider the name, but this name has had a prolific usage amongst the continental royals (specifically in France and Italy). Lothaire was the son of Louis I and ruled over the region we now know as Lorraine. Lothaire is the French form of Lothar.

6. Gisela

In modern day usage, this is the German, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese form of Giselle. The name is of Germanic origins and means pledge. This was the name of the daughter of Charles III, who went on to marry the Norman leader Rollo in the 10th century. Popular in France in the Middle Ages.

7. Rotrude

A female name that sounds as hopelessly unfashionable as Gertrude, and yet, I’m intrigued. Rotrude of Treves was the first wife of Charles Martel, who was the grandfather of Charlemagne. She’s a variant of Rotrud, a name of Germanic origin that means famed strength.

8. Drogo

You may have thought this name came from George R.R. Maritn’s imagination, but you’d be wrong. He’s a Norman name that potentially came from the Germanic element dragen, meaning to carry. Alternatively, he could come from the Germanic element drog, meaning ghost. This was another name brought to Britain by the Normans, but he sadly hasn’t survived to modern day usage.

9. Ermentrude

Perhaps even more hopelessly unfashionable than either Rotrude or Gertrude, and like Drogo, this name appears in the Song of Ice & Fire series of books for a lesser character, Lady Ermentrude of House Hayford. The name is the French form of Ermendrud, which derives from the Germanic elements: ermen, meaning whole/universal (aka the source of Emma) and drud, meaning strength. These days, you’re more like to meet an Emma than an Ermentrude. This was the name of the 9th-century queen consort of France, Ermentrude d’Órléans (825-869).

10. Ansgarde

The first wife of Louis the Stammerer and mother of later Carolingian Kings Louis III and Carloman II. Her name is of Germanic origins and means godly enclosure.

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