Sunday, 22 June 2014

Richard III - Etymologically Speaking

I’m always open to suggestions for this blog, at least from an etymological viewpoint. This post is the result of a suggestion by Rosalind Adams. Her Children’s History of Leicester of a couple of years ago is being followed by The Children’s Book of Richard III, which will be available this week.

Now if you want to read the story of King Richard III, I recommend clicking here, which will take you to Rosalind's book on Amazon. Here I intend looking at etymology of the words associated with this monarch.

Richard – a Germanic name from ric meaning ‘power, rule’ and hard or ‘brave, hardy’.

Plantagenet – is of Latin derivation, from planta genista or the ‘sprig of broom’ said to have been a part of the crest of the House of Anjou.

Bosworth – the name of the battle where Richard lost his life is derived from Old English bar worth or ‘the enclosure near where boars are seen’. Interestingly Bosworth is the name given to a four-handed version of chess created some 20 years ago.

Leicester – where Richard’s remains were found and ‘the Roman stronghold associated with the Ligore’, this the Romano-British tribe associated with this part of the world.

King – generally said to come from Old English cyning, however the word is common to just about every nation whose language derives from the Proto-Indo-European tongue. That word is unknown but must have been denoting a ‘ruler’, ‘leader’, or similar.

Richard III was also a play by William Shakespeare, written around 1592. Less well known is the version by Colley Cibber in 1699 and another in 1852 by Victor Sejour. There have also been four films of this name, 1912, 1955, 1995, and 2008; and a song by Supergrass.

Thank you for your suggestion Rosalind, I’m sure your book will be of great interest to children young and old.

1 comment:

  1. Time Team TV series did an excellent program on the excavation of his remains. If you haven't seen it, it's a fascinating bit of forensic archaeology.