Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-03 > 1046882138

From: "Todd A. Farmerie" <>
Subject: Re: Adelaide, sister or half-sister to William I
Date: Wed, 05 Mar 2003 09:35:38 -0700
References: <b3oqu1$jc8$> <b3vpeo$k3b$> <GoU8a.188827$> <> <mFn9a.203006$>

Phil Moody wrote:
> TAF wrote:
>>Two things here. First, I misread the quote, and the mother is
>>an unnamed concubine, not Adele. Second, Adelaide, Aeliz, and
>>Adele are all forms of the same name, so yes, "Aeliz" is the same
>>as Adelaide.
> PLM: I can understand and accept your first point, but I do not accept your
> second. It appears to be a loose assumption based no evidense I have read.
> If Aeliz is synonomous with Adelaide, then it is not a contemporary
> equivalant.
> Aeliz begins with the Anglo-Saxon and Sndinavan character "Æ", and the
> Normans were descendants of the latter, and influenced by the former; so I

While at first look it would seem to be so, this is not the case.
Aeliz is not Æliz, but comes from Adelais through the loss of
the 'd'. (In this sense, if you are looking for an Anglo-Saxon
paralel, it is like Aelmar, which derives from Æthelmær, with an
intermediate of Agelmar, where the g is pronounced like a modern
'y'.) Thus Aeliz has three sylables A'-el-iz.

> believe the same linguist rules would apply to the name Aeliz. As is common
> with the character "Æ", usually the "E" is silent; so we would get Aliz and
> hence the "MODERN" "Alice".

This is correct - Alice derives from Aeliz, in turn from Adelais,
which is Adelaide. Hence the different manuscripts of John of
Worcester you cite have Athelheidam (Adelaide) and Athelhizam
(Adelais) - perfectly equivalent. (The root is the same Æthel-
prince or princely, as seen in Anglo-Saxon names, but dates back
to the shared germanic origins and not to Anglo-Saxon itself.
The equivalent loss of the middle of this Æthel- root can be seen
in Adelbert becoming Albert.)

> However, on some occasions, the "A" is dropped
> and the "E" takes precedence phonetically, and we would derive "Eliz", or
> the prefix of Eliza and Elizabeth.

The origins of the biblical Elizabeth are entirely distinct, the
similarity being solely coincidental. As the A represents the
stressed sylable in Aeliz, it is unlikely to be lost. (Elmer
might be an exception, but I am not fammiliar enough with the
intermediates to know whether it derives directly from Aelmar
through the dropping of the initial A, or if there was an Almer
intermediate, the A then morphing into an E. There are 18th
century American examples of this A -> E morph happening to
Alice, which can appear as Ellis.)

> But for Aeliz to be Adelaide, this would
> require the addition of letters that are just not there.

Or subtraction - the root is not Aeliz, but rather something akin
to Æthelheidis. Looks can be deceiving - just as Elizabeth and
Isabel represent the same name, so with Aeliz and Adelaide (and
Adelais, Adele, Alice, etc.). We need to avoid reinventing the
wheel here by batting around what we think the names look like -
I did not make this up, I am just stating the derivation of the
name accepted by generations of historians.


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