Academy of Saint Gabriel Report 763

Academy of Saint Gabriel Report 763

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Some of the Academy's early reports contain errors that we haven't yet corrected. Please use it with caution.

Greetings from the Academy of Saint Gabriel!

You asked for our opinion of whether <Celesta Chiara da Argenta> or <Celesta Chiara da Venezia> would be more appropriate as a 14th century Venetian name. Here is what we have found.

Either surname is possible in your period, but we think that <da Argenta> is somewhat more likely.

When people originally adopted bynames of location, the names were usually chosen to be distinctive. Someone living in Venezia would probably not have called herself <da Venezia> since that name would not distinguish from her neighbors. She'd be more likely to name herself for the neighborhood where she lived or for a local landmark. On the other hand, if someone moved from Argenta to Venice, she would very likely have been called <da

Argenta> because Argentans were rare enough in Venezia to make it a
distinctive characteristic.

By your period, these personal descriptions had largely given way to inherited surnames; but it is still more likely that a family called <de

Venezia> would have lived somewhere other than Venezia itself. Argenta is
located about 50 miles south of Venezia, so it is quite plausible that a family might have made that move.

We don't have any references specifically on Venetian names. I did find one in a library catalogue. I don't know anything about it, but you might want to look it up:

Turato, G. F. and D. Durante, _Vocabolario etimologico veneto-italiano_ (Battaglia Terme (Padova) : La galiverna, 1993).

I hope this letter has been useful. Please write us again if any part of it has been unclear or if you have other questions. I was assisted in researching and writing this letter by Talan Gwynek.

For the Academy,

Arval Benicoeur