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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Pre-Christian Sacral Personal Names in Scandinavia

P Vikstrand
Institute for Dialectology, Onomastics and Folklor, Sweden

In my paper, I discuss the occurrence of sacral personal names in ancient Scandinavia, that is, names which are in some way connected with the Old Scandinavian religion. Examples of such names are Torsten and Fröbjörn, names which include the names of the gods Thor and Freyr (OSw. *Frø), and Helgi, derived from the adjective helager ’holy’. I will present a survey of such names from Proto-Scandinavian time as well as from the Viking Age and a comparison is made. Special attention is paid to the differences between the common Germanic name-system and features peculiar to Scandinavia. Are these the result of isolation or of a more or less conscious endeavour to express a distinctive cultural nature?

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