“The Naming of Cats is a tough matter,” declares the opening poem in Previous Possum’s Ebook of Sensible Cats by T. S. Eliot. However the potentialities are many and various: “Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James”; “Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter”; “Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat.” Issues should have been simpler within the Center Ages, when you would simply name a cat Gyb and be accomplished with it. “The shortened type of the male identify Gilbert, Gyb” explains Kathleen Walker-Meikle in Medieval Cats, dates as “a well-liked identify for particular person pet cats” not less than again to the late fourteenth century.
In a barely totally different kind, the identify even seems in Shakespeare, when Falstaff describes himself as “as melancholy as a gib cat.” Gyb’s equal throughout the Chanel was Tibers or Tibert; the sixteenth-century French poet Joachim du Bellay stored a “beloved grey cat” named Belaud.
Authorized texts reveal that the Irish went in for “cat names that discuss with the animal’s bodily look,” like Méone (“little meow”), Cruibne (“little paws”), and Bréone (“little flame”). Walker-Meikle additionally highlights Pangur Bán, a cat “immortalized in a ninth-century poem by an Irish monk.” This hymn to the parallel abilities of human and feline begins, in Seamus Heaney’s English translation, as follows:
Pangur Bán and I at work,
Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:
His complete intuition is to hunt,
Mine to free the which means pent.
Frequent Open Tradition readers could also be reminded of the twelfth-century Chinese language poet who wrote of being domesticated by his personal cats, verses we featured right here a couple of years in the past. Extra not too long ago, we put up a listing of 1,065 Medieval canine names, which run the gamut from Garlik, Nosewise, and Hosewife to Hornyball, Argument, and Filthe. You’ll discover that the names given to canines within the Center Ages appear to have been extra amusing, if much less dignified, than those given to cats. Maybe this displays the robust, clearly centuries-and-centuries-old variations between the natures of the animals themselves, every with its personal strengths and weaknesses. However no matter our preferences in that space, who amongst us couldn’t do with a Pangur Bán of our personal?
by way of Medievalists.web
Associated content material:
A Listing of 1,065 Medieval Canine Names: Nosewise, Garlik, Havegoodday & Extra
Cats in Medieval Manuscripts & Work
Cats in Japanese Woodblock Prints: How Japan’s Favourite Animals Got here to Star in Its Fashionable Artwork
T. S. Eliot Reads Previous Possum’s Ebook of Sensible Cats & Different Traditional Poems (75 Minutes, 1955)
In 1183, a Chinese language Poet Describes Being Domesticated by His Personal Cats
Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embrace the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the ebook The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Fb.