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User comments for Arthur (Meaning / History Only)
From the Greek 'Artos' meaning bear. References : Lady Mary Stewart's "Merlin" Series.
― Anonymous User
No one will ever know, but another possible origin of the name is from "Arddu", a title sometimes associated with the Welsh mythological hero Bendigeidfran (Bran the Blessed).
"Arddu", according to one source at least (personally I'm sceptical), roughly translates into something meaning "dark one" (which coincides with the Bran the Blessed title, Bran meaning raven), and is pronounced Ar-thee (strong TH like in Arthur).
― Anonymous User
Also known as Atorius. King Arthur of the legendary story is a famous bearer of this name.
Though the first part of the name Arthur shares meaning and linguistic commonality with the Latin word Ursus (Bear) and a superficial resemblance to Artorius (Latin for ploughman) it is surely Celtic. It's purest form would be Eirth Dur. Eirth or Arth does indeed mean bear. Dur or thur as it is sometimes rendered, technically means steel not iron, though "Iron Bear" would be the most esthetically pleasing literal translation to English and has to the modern ear a native American quality. It is possible however that the name Arth Thur (Arthur) is an appellation and not a given name. It must be noted that as a given name it became quite popular among the Celts even during Arthur’s lifetime. The question still stands was Arthur the birth name of the great hero of the age?
Arthur is from the Norse meaning 'Eagle of Thor'.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Arthur comes from an Indo-European root (*rtko-) that means "bear". (3rd ed., pg. 2122)
Older dictionaries of names give meaning of Arthur as "of noble race" from the Celtic language. Possibly King Arthur never existed but the origin of the legend may have been about one of the Kings of the Arthurs, a forgotten race or tribe.
The legends of King Arthur were probably written about a 5th century Celtic chieftan of the British Isles. So yes, it is likely that he was based off a real person.
You can read more about it here:
― Anonymous User
I'm an Albanian, and I do believe that the name Arthur is of an Albanian origin.
Thus we have someone knited in gold. In the early centuries many Albanians must have come to the British isles as part of the Roman army or emigrants.
Once, some years ago, while researching my first name in the library of my university I found a possible meaning for Arthur in an old text. Recently I ran into a website that had a similar meaning. If I remember correctly the text said "Someone who is guided by Thor; In Thor's Favor" the website said "A Follower Of Thor". I know not the veracity of this, but in that old text it mentioned similarities between both personages (regrettably I have no recollection of it's title other that it was about Arthurian Legends).
Another theory about the name's origin is that it is linked to Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, near Ursa Major or the Great Bear. Classical Latin Arcturus would have become Art(h)ur when borrowed into Welsh, and its brightness and position in the sky led people to regard it as the "guardian of the bear" (which is the meaning of the name in Ancient Greek) and the "leader" of the other stars in Boötes.
You may take this theory with as many grains of salt as you wish, but it certainly gives this fascinating name yet another layer of meaning. I do like the idea that the "bear man" is from the stars and the Great Bear in the sky.
Bear in mind that the Arthurian romances are pure Medieval fiction. A great deal of effort has been made to make the name fit various British or Latin roots, when in fact the earliest bearers were Anglo-Saxon speakers, and we can trace development of the name through documents, from Arnthor (arn, an erne or eagle + Thor, thunder) to Arthur, in reference to the same man, a monk in the time of Athelred II. Then we have Arthur, another monk during William I, Arthor, a bondsman of Aelfric bishop of (Anglo-Danish) York in 1023. While some early "British" kings bore Germanic names (such as Theodoric son of Theodobald, kings of Gwent and Gywysing—Saxons and other Germans served in the Roman army in Britain) and conversely most "Saxon" kings at first had British names (Caradoc, Ceaulin, Cynric, Pybba, Penda, Cadwalla etc.), "Arthur" turns up late, with the arrival of Danish influence in the Northeast and the introduction of -thor and -thur (the Saxon form) as the second element in the typical dithematic names of the period.
There is much debate, but Artorius or Artori is a Roman name predating the Arthurian legends.
There is nothing to say that there couldn't be more than one origin of the name. It was fairly popular among regulation soldiers - who were known to be serving in Britiania. Names have been known to be mingled - heck, common words were mingled - at the time. There have been proven examples of names that have one origin in Latin or Greek, were passed down in Gaelic languages using common-sounding words. (Many references can be found in Bill Bryson's book "The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way.") These words and names became indistinguishable from their Gaelic forms after a time. When the tribes of Britain became more united, the words and names took on more fluid forms giving us many of our slurred names with Gaelic origins.
So in essence, you wind up with two definitions/origins of the same name. Both are the "true origin", a common pronunciation of a person's name in a bilingual culture with an independent meaning in both. A prime example of this being from the movie "The Amazing Panda Adventure" where a boy names his little panda friend "Johny" after his best friend, but the little Chinese girl takes this to mean "Jah-ni". This happens all the time. It is unwise to give the ultimate explanation for a name when the cultural aspects of the name's origin need to be taken in to account.
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