Archives de catégorie : Identité et altérité / Identity and otherness

Brown Daniel, Fortune’s wheel: the rise, fall and restoration of Hugh II de Lacy, earl of Ulster, 1190-1242

Brown Daniel, Fortune’s wheel: the rise, fall and restoration of Hugh II de Lacy, earl of Ulster, 1190-1242, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2012, (dir. M.T. Flanagan, Queen’s University Belfast)


This thesis focuses on one of the most fascinating, and neglected, figures in Angevin Ireland. Forged in the crucible of a frontier society, the career of Hugh II de Lacy was in some ways comparable to those of other second-generation Anglo-Norman colonists grappling for power in a contested land. It is the singular aspects of de Lacy’s story which are of most value to the historian. Hugh’s earldom of Ulster was the first comital creation in Ireland, an honour made all the more intriguing by de Lacy’s relatively modest beginnings. Ulster itself was unique among Ireland’s great feudatories, connected to other constituent polities of the Irish Sea world by trade routes, political alliances and kinship. De Lacy was twice a rebel against the king of England, and spent a decade crusading against dualist heretics in southern France. A study of the earl of Ulster, utilising a wide range of source material, is also a touchstone through which wider themes and questions pertinent to thirteenth-century Ireland can be explored. In examination of Hugh’s written acta, we come to know more about how magnates in Ireland viewed themselves; how others perceived them; and how identity might be consciously shaped. The cohesiveness of the settler community in Ireland is also discussed, along with the factors that could make or break aristocratic relationships. Some assumptions about the development of royal power in Ireland are challenged, and de Lacy’s interactions with the English crown shed light on how nobles won, lost and regained favour with the Angevin Lords of Ireland.

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Roberts Euryn, Hunaniaeth ranbarthol yng Nghymru, c.1100-1283

Roberts Euryn, Hunaniaeth ranbarthol yng Nghymru, c.1100-1283 [Regional identity in Wales, c.1100-1283], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. H. Pryce, N. Powell, Bangor University)

Aucun résumé retrouvé/No abstract available.

Hjaltland Network – Mapping Viking Age Shetland

Responsable du projet/Project leader : Andrew Jennings (

Établissement principal/Main institution : University of the Highlands and Islands

Projet en cours/Project in progress
Description :
The Hjaltland Research Network has received £17,000 from the Royal Society of Edinburgh to bring together national and international scholars of folklore onomastics, genetics, isotope research, archaeology and history to plan a large-scale research project entitled Mapping Viking Age Shetland, which will start in 2013. There will be a series of organizational meetings over the next two years in Shetland, Edinburgh and Copenhagen.

Mapping Viking Age Shetland will seek, through the digitising and mapping of the datasets of each discipline, to answer many of the unresolved questions about Shetland’s Viking Age, such as:

– what happened to the pre-Viking population,

– the date of Viking settlement,

– the origins of the Norse settlers and the anomaly of the divergent origins of the male and female lines,

– the nature of Shetland’s connections to the Celtic world,

– the intensity of settlement and the extent and duration of Norse pagan beliefs and folk traditions.

Mapping Viking Age Shetland will be a truly interdisciplinary approach to Viking-Age research, applying the latest technological advances and innovative new research in the various scientific and technological fields, which will allow for the teasing out of additional information from existing sources and the uncovering of new evidence, onomastic, genetic and isotopic.

Mapping Viking Age Shetland itself will be the pilot for a larger scale project, calledMSGI: Migration, Settlement and Genetic Inheritance: Mapping the Legacy of the Viking Age.

Cook William, Scandinavian identity in Cumbria, c. 900-1250

Cook William, Scandinavian identity in Cumbria, c. 900-1250, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. A. Winchester, Lancaster University)

Aucun résumé retrouvé/No abstract available.

Zeiser Sarah, Latinity, manuscripts, and the rhetoric of conquest in late-eleventh-century Wales

Zeiser Sarah, Latinity, manuscripts, and the rhetoric of conquest in late-eleventh-century Wales, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2012, (dir. C. McKenna, Harvard University)

Résumé/abstract :

This dissertation explores the complex interactions among written text, language choice, and political context in Wales in the late-eleventh and early-twelfth centuries. I argue that writers in medieval Wales created in both their literary compositions and their manuscripts intricate layers of protest and subversion in direct opposition to the authority of the Anglo-Norman political hegemony and the aggrandizing spread of the Canterbury-led church. These medieval literati exploited language and script as tools of definition. They privileged Welsh or Latin when their audience shifted, and they employed the change from early Insular script to the Caroline script of the Normans as not just a natural evolution in script development, but as a selective representation of mimicked authority. The family of Bishop Sulien at Llanbadarn Fawr has been the focal point of this study, as they were active during a time of Anglo-Norman intervention in their community that is reflected in the shifting script of their manuscripts and the apprehensive though proud tone of their compositions, which include the vitae of saints David and Padarn and the poetry of Ieuan and Rhygyfarch ap Sulien. My work provides a much-needed cohesive portrait of the multilingual medieval Welsh literary culture at the turn of the twelfth century. Questions of audience and authority come into play, particularly when considering the growing hybridity of learned communities during the Anglo-Norman infiltration of Wales. Manuscripts themselves are viewed as vehicles of identity, for the evolution of script and design offers clues as to the methods of compromise practiced by Welsh intellectuals. This compromise in the written word can be viewed as an embodiment of the Welsh desire and need to mediate fraught political boundaries, as they did using both the ‘nation’-defining Welsh language and the vehicular prestige language of Latin, resulting in an intertextual exploration of identity through the act of writing itself. Writing is a critical demonstration of Welsh authorship and agency in medieval Britain, and one that can be used to reflect upon notions of Welsh identity.

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Buchanan Courtney, Viking artefacts from southern Scotland and northern England

Buchanan Courtney, Viking artefacts from southern Scotland and northern England: cultural contacts, interactions, and identities in peripheral areas of Viking settlement, (dir. C. Batey, University of Glasgow)

Résumé/abstract :

This thesis explores the portable, non-indigenous material culture strongly related, but not exclusive, to one specific ethnic group in the medieval period. It is based on the idea that people from different cultural backgrounds cannot come into contact with each other without their identities being altered in some significant way, and these altered identities will be expressed in their material culture. During the period c.800-1100, the Vikings initiated contact with the inhabitants of Britain, first by raiding and attacking, then by trading and settling amongst the local populations. Whereas most research of Viking and local interaction has focused on Viking settlements in the Northern and Western Isles or the Anglo-Scandinavian town of York, this thesis focuses on the peripheral areas of Viking political control: northern England and southern Scotland. It is in these regions where there are increasing amounts of evidence of Viking activities and interactions with the local peoples.

Three key research questions are asked of the materials found within the study area: 1) how and why did items of ‘Viking’ material culture enter regions outside of the centres of traditional Viking settlements? 2) How and why were these items used to conduct meaningful contacts and interactions with those people already inhabiting this land? 3) How and why were identities constructed in these regions where multiple cultural traditions came into contact with one another? A multifaceted approach is adopted to answer these questions. First, the historical sources are analysed for different contexts of contact and interaction between Vikings and non- Vikings in the study area. Second, a postcolonial approach to studying the interactions between groups was adopted in order to move away from simplistic assimilation or acculturation narratives where one group subsumes the other. Rather, this approach argues for the creation of a new social dimension in which people’s actions, routines, and identities are altered in order to negotiate and thrive within the new cultural landscape. It is argued that the hybridization seen in many of the artefacts, as well as other sources utilised throughout the thesis, is the material articulation of this new space. Finally, this thesis includes data recovered through the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure Trove Scotland in addition to excavated finds. In the study region, 499 items are identified and catalogued as Viking or hybrid-Viking, many of which have no archaeological context as they are stray or metal-detected finds. Through the course of searching, three major concentrations were identified along major maritime inlets: the Solway Firth, the River Clyde, and the Forth and Tay Basins. These concentrations were turned into three case-study areas based upon concentrations of finds as well as the contextual aids of historical sources, place-names, and stone sculpture. The first case study examines the Solway Firth and determines that the Vikings were a very important part of the population, and a hybridized society is seen there. The second case study of Strathclyde also determines that the Vikings were active there; the evidence indicates smaller, more concentrated communities of Vikings that integrated into the British population of the region. The final case study of the Forth and Tay basins establishes the Vikings as important actors there, although not only in the traditional view of their attacks opening up the Pictish throne for Cinaed mac Alpin. The Vikings settled in this region and aided the formation of the new kingdom of Alba. Overall, it is shown that Vikings were much more active on the peripheries of their political establishments than has previously been realised. It is also demonstrated that people in contact with others from different cultural backgrounds will alter their routines, practices, materials, and identities in order to negotiate the new social sphere that is created by such interaction. The key to understanding this negotiation is recognising the multiple contexts in which people interact and that each situation will result in different hybridized routines, materials, and identities that are unique to that specific context.

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Boyd Rebecca, Viking houses in Ireland and western Britain, AD 850-1100

Boyd, Rebecca, Viking houses in Ireland and western Britain, AD 850-1100: a social archaeology of dwellings, households and cultural identities, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2012, (dir. A. O’Sullivan Boyd, University College, Dublin)

Résumé/abstract :

Viking settlers arriving in Ireland and western Britain in the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries built houses which incorporated native and Viking characteristics: rectangular form, three-aisled divisions, and central hearths. That much has already been established by previous studies of this architecture.

This thesis moves beyond this simplistic reading of shape and construction and explores how these houses were used to express the emerging hybrid identities of their inhabitants. The Viking longhouse was a primordial statement of Viking origin which is conspicuously missing here; instead, the Vikings and natives created a new architecture. This new architecture was more subtle and more in tune with the fluidities of the instrumental identities of their inhabitants, which included elements from across the study area.

554 houses were identified as expressing this hybrid style of architecture. An ‘analytical tool-box’, consisting of traditional building analyses, artefact distribution studies and access analysis, was applied from the perspective of social archaeology to explore this exceptional dataset. Individually, these analyses identified trends in and across building association and layouts, active zones and movement routes within buildings and identified household occupations and lifestyles.

On the wider scale, they identified that there were differences between the internal and external appearance of the buildings. From the outside, all the properties looked the same, but inside, each household expressed its own cultural and ethnic identities. The ninth to twelfth centuries were a period of intense change, with expansions in trade networks, outside influences, and the emergence of urbanism. Throughout all this, the house remained a constant for the household allowing them to become part of this new urban way of life. Its constancy in appearance within defined properties established a stability and provided with the households with a vital sense of place and connection to the towns.

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Gazzoli Paul, Anglo-Danish relations in the later eleventh century

Gazzoli, Paul, Anglo-Danish relations in the later eleventh century, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. F. Edmonds, University of Cambridge)

Résumé/abstract :

This thesis puts forward a new interpretation of the Anglo-Danish relationship for the period 1042-1103. It is argued that the impact of the Scandinavian settlement of England in the ninth and tenth centuries cannot account for the Danish sympathies visible in northern and eastern England in the later eleventh century and proposes that the Danish identity of these areas was reinvigorated or reinvented following Cnut’s conquest of England as a way for the inhabitants to identify themselves with their new rulers. This revitalisation was most pronounced in Northumbria, where, since Cnut was an absent ruler for much of his reign, the most important figure is argued to have been the highly successful Earl Siward. It is suggested that in this period England took on a central role in the formation of Danish identity, so that men from all over Scandinavia could become Danish by participating in the Danish kings’ campaigns; this inclusiveness was what made it possible for natives of England of Scandinavian descent to opt in to the new, prestigious identity of the conquerors.

After the Norman Conquest, a Danish cultural identity was still politically important to the rule of Siward’s son, Waltheof, and affected the reception of the Danish invasions of 1069 and 1070, both by the locals where the Danes landed and by the writers who described them. Denmark’s history after the loss of England in 1042 is also considered, and it is argued that English influence continued to be of the utmost importance to the Danish kings’ self-image and religious interests: in particular it is argued that Knud the Holy (1080–6) drew inspiration from and modelled himself on William the Conqueror, to whose rule he was exposed during his campaigns in England in 1069, 1070 and 1075 and that Erik Ejegod (1095-1103) built up strong relations to English religious communities beginning during his exile during the reign of Oluf Hunger (1086-95), which he used during his reign to promote Christianity in Denmark, especially in the form of the cult of his martyred brother Knud. In general, the re-conquest of England continued to be one of their highest priorities of the Danish kings until the end of the century, but was often hampered by the increasing importance of relations with the German Empire.

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Pierce Elizabeth A., Identity at the far edge of the earth

Pierce Elizabeth A., Identity at the far edge of the earth : an examination of cultural identity manifested in the material culture of the North Atlantic, c. 1150-1450, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. C. E. Batey, Université de Glasgow)

Résumé/abstract :
Beginning in the late eighth century A.D., the Vikings of Scandinavia expanded westward, first to raid and later to settle and trade. By the 11th century, they inhabited territory extending into the North Atlantic, including the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland. These settlements were by no means monocultural and were located hundreds of miles away from the population centres of medieval Europe. In time, this distance and the relative isolation of the region contributed to the development of new cultural identities of the inhabitants. Unfortunately, the Middle Ages have not received as much attention as the Viking Age in the North Atlantic, and little has been written about identity in the North Atlantic aside from the underlying assumption that the people were Norwegian prior to forming their own local identities. This thesis aims to examine these identities over the entire North Atlantic region by studying the relationships between the island groups and questioning how the inhabitants used material culture to interact within a larger European, Christian milieu. Focussing on the period c. 1150-1450, this thesis approaches the cultural identity of these societies by evaluating the material culture and practices of the inhabitants using theoretical frameworks in identity, material culture, and island archaeology that have rarely, if ever, been applied in the medieval North Atlantic. Because of the wide geographical scope of this study, three case studies of artefact assemblages will be used: one each in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland. These assemblages will be analysed both for the style and form of the objects and for the domestic and overseas contacts they represent, using the British Isles and Norway as starting points because of their known contacts with the North Atlantic. Material culture can be manipulated in order to create identities that give the user certain social, political or economic advantages. Understanding the material choices made in the North Atlantic, such as church architecture, clothing, table wares and dress accessories, can help us to understand the identities these people sought to portray. Further, using the abovementioned theoretical approaches, this thesis attempts to understand why certain material choices were made and what advantages those people hoped to gain by using that material culture. It is hoped that this thesis will help to illustrate the role that material culture played in cultural identity of the North Atlantic settlements in the Middle Ages, and to promote further discussion of identity in the North Atlantic on a regional level in this period.

Helmbrecht Michaela, Wirkmächtige Kommunikationsmedien

Helmbrecht Michaela, Wirkmächtige Kommunikationsmedien : Menschenbilder der Vendel- und Wikingerzeit und ihre Kontexte, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. B. Hårdh, Université de Lund)

Résumé/abstract :
This PhD thesis deals with anthropomorphic images from the Vendel and Viking Ages, their contexts and functions. The images are seen as means of communication with “effective power” or agency (“Wirkmächtigkeit”). They could have had a relationship of interaction or partial identity with what was represented, due to the fact that the Vendel and Viking Age societies were largely based on oral tradition. Using a semiotic approach, rules for the use of images can be deduced, and it can be differentiated between various levels of meanings. In a semiotic perspective, it is also the image-carrying object and the specific situation that contribute to the meanings of an image. The pictures are assigned to five groups: scenes, single figures, gestures and attributes, human-animal transformations, and heads/faces. These groups are subdivided into motif-groups and iconographic interpretations are discussed. Some important pictorial topics are journeys, battles, gender-specific actions, transformations between humans and animals, and binding. Only few motifs can be plausibly identified with narratives preserved in medieval texts. In the second part of the analysis, the image-carrying objects are discussed and compared with the written sources. The quantitatively largest groups are gold foil figures, components of clothing, and coins. Most motifs were used only on certain types of objects. Motifs and image carriers underwent changes during the Vendel and Viking Ages, especially in the decades before and around 800 A.D. Several motifs were transferred from the gold foil figures to pendants. Although the archaeological record and the information in the texts rarely correspond directly, the texts, too, contain distorted echoes of Vendel and Viking Age conceptions of the “Wirkmächtigkeit” of images, and their use in social strategies. Some situations of communication with and through pictures are discussed: the deposition of gold foil figures as an act of communication with “other worlds”; the material expression of gender identity in graves; the Gotlanders´ expression of their cultural identity and the role of anthropomorphic pictures at “central places”. The images were on the one hand media among the living, by conveying messages of wealth and visual complexity, which makes them active devices in social strategies. On the other hand, their Wirkmächtigkeit is also grounded in their artistic production, and in the relationship of mutual influence or partial identity of the image and the represented, so that the communication is also directed to “other worlds”.

Barraclough Eleanor Rosamund, Landscape and the semiotics of space in the Íslendingasögur

Barraclough Eleanor Rosamund, Landscape and the semiotics of space in the Íslendingasögur : mapping Norse identity in saga narrative, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (Université de Cambridge)

Avis Robert John Roy, The social mythology of medieval Icelandic literature

Avis Robert John Roy, The social mythology of medieval Icelandic literature, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. H. O’Donoghue, Université d’Oxford)

Résumé/abstract :

This thesis argues that the corpus of Old Norse-Icelandic literature which pertains to Iceland contains an intertextual narrative of the formation of Icelandic identity. An analysis of this narrative provides an opportunity to examine the relationship between literature and identity, as well as the potency of the artistic use of the idea of the past. The thesis identifies three salient narratives of communal action which inform the development of a discrete Icelandic identity, and which are examined in turn in the first three chapters of the thesis. The first is the landnám, the process of settlement itself; the second, the origin and evolution of the law; and the third, the assimilation and adaptation of Christianity. Although the roots of these narratives are doubtless historical, the thesis argues that their primary roles in the literature are as social myths, narratives whose literal truth- value is immaterial, but whose cultural symbolism is of overriding importance. The fourth chapter examines the depiction of the Icelander abroad, and uses the idiom of the relationship between þáttr (‘tale’) and surrounding text in the compilation of sagas of Norwegian kings Morkinskinna to consider the wider implications of the relationship between Icelandic and Norwegian identities. Finally, the thesis concludes with an analysis of the role of Sturlunga saga within this intertextual narrative, and its function as a set of narratives mediating between an identity grounded in social autonomy and one grounded in literature. The Íslendingasögur or ‘family sagas’ constitute the core of the thesis’s primary sources, for their subject-matter is focussed on the literary depiction of the Icelandic society under scrutiny. In order to demonstrate a continuity of engagement with ideas of identity across genres, a sample of other Icelandic texts are examined which depict Iceland or Icelanders, especially when in interaction with non-Icelandic characters or polities.

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Naumann Elise, Diet, mobility and social identity in Norway AD 400-1050.

Naumann Elise, Diet, mobility and social identity in Norway AD 400-1050. An investigation based on δ13C, δ15N and 87Sr/86Sr analyses of human remains, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (dir. L. Hedeager,  T. D. Price, M. P. Richards, Université d’Oslo)

Résumé/abstract :

Gjennom isotopanalyser av skjelettmateriale har Elise Naumann vist hvordan mat og kosthold har vært en viktig strukturerende faktor i Norges hierarkiske jernaldersamfunn. «I et land som Norge er det ikke uventet at folk har hatt svært ulikt kosthold. Mer overraskende er det at mennesker som er gravlagt samme sted, og til og med i samme grav, vanligvis ikke har levd av den samme kosten», sier Naumann.

Prosjektet har tatt for seg individer fra perioden 400–1050 e. Kr, og omfatter både enkelt- og dobbeltgraver. I følge Naumann tyder resultatene på at mennesker gravlagt sammen sjelden tilhørte den samme sosiale sfæren: «I noen tilfeller er det mye som tyder på at treller ble gitt som gravgaver, noe vi også kjenner fra skriftlige kilder. Det er imidlertid sterke indikasjoner på at også andre sosiale relasjoner kommer til uttrykk i gravene – noe som viser at både sosial status, kjønn, alder, arbeidsfordeling og andre faktorer kan ha hatt betydning for hva folk fikk å spise».

Til tross for komplekse forhold mellom kosthold og sosial tilhørighet, tyder resultatene på at eliten har hatt mer tilgang på kjøtt og melkeprodukter, mens enkelte individer gravlagt i svært funnfattige graver har spist mye sjømat i den siste tiden før de døde. «Samtidig ser vi at svært mange spiser annerledes som voksne enn de gjorde som barn», sier Naumann. «Dette kan tyde på at jernalder-mennesket ikke nødvendigvis forble i samme sosiale rolle hele livet gjennom. Mange har endret både tilholdssted og levesett betydelig i løpet av livet – kanskje har de også endret sin sosiale posisjon».

Cross Katherine Clare, Enemy and ancestor : Viking identities and ethnic boundaries in England and Normandy, c.950-c.1015

Cross Katherine Clare, Enemy and ancestor : Viking identities and ethnic boundaries in England and Normandy, c.950-c.1015, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (University College London)

Résumé/abstract :
 This thesis is a comparison of ethnicity in Viking Age England and Normandy. It focuses on the period c.950-c.1015, which begins several generations after the initial Scandinavian settlements in both regions. The comparative approach enables an investigation into how and why the two societies’ inhabitants differed in their perceptions of viking heritage and its impact on ethnic relations in this period. Written sources provide the key to these perceptions: genealogies, histories, hagiographies, charters and law codes. The thesis is the first study to juxtapose and compare these sources and aspects of Viking Age England and Normandy. The approach to ethnicity is informed by the social sciences, especially Fredrik Barth’s Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. The emphasis here is on ethnic identity as a social construct and as a product of belief in group membership. In particular, this investigation treats ethnic identity separately from cultural markers such as names, dress, appearance, and art. In doing so, it presents a new perspective in discussions of assimilation after Scandinavian settlement. For the purpose of analysis, ‘ethnicity’ has been divided into three strands: genealogical, historical and geographical identity. Sources from England and Normandy are compared within each of the three strands. The thesis demonstrates the development of a single ‘viking’ group identity in Normandy, which was defined in distinction to the Franks. In England, on the other hand, ‘viking’ and ‘Scandinavian’ identities held various meanings and were deployed in diverse situations. No single group laid exclusive claim to viking heritage, nor completely rejected it. Ultimately, it is argued that viking identity was used as a tool in political and military conflicts. It was not an expression of association with Scandinavian allies, but most often was used as a more local means of distinction within England and Normandy.

Lestremau Arnaud, Pratiques anthroponymiques et identités sociales en Angleterre (mi Xe-mi XIe siècles)

Lestremau Arnaud, Pratiques anthroponymiques et identités sociales en Angleterre (mi Xe-mi XIe siècles), Thèse de doctorat soutenue le 9 décembre 2013 (dir. R. Le Jan, Université de Paris I ; co-directeur P. Bauduin, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie)


Au nombre des éléments de la vie sociale, le nom est un des plus universels. En effet, il est à la base de toute communication, dans la mesure où il permet de désigner un tiers. Cependant, le nom n’est pas neutre: il porte du sens et il permet souvent d’identifier les groupes auxquels un individu se rattache. L’étude des noms permet de comprendre une des multiples manières qu’ont les acteurs de s’inscrire dans le champ social. Le nom est une marque d’appartenance, consciente ou non, assumée ou non par son porteur. Sa dation, sa circulation, sa mémoire sont autant d’éléments qui peuvent nous renseigner sur le fonctionnement de la société. Comme outil linguistique et objet de la parole collective, mais aussi grâce à son contenu sémantique et à des phénomènes d’écho entre homonymes, le nom contribue à définir l’individu, mais aussi à l’ancrer dans le champ social. Grâce à la plupart des sources anglo-saxonnes des Xe-XIe siècles, nous menons à bien une étude complète de l’usage et des représentations du nom. Le nom peut en effet avoir des significations variables; il peut même recouvrir des identités contradictoires. Notre but, à ce titre, est de saisir tous ces niveaux de signification et d’articuler ces différentes identités. En constituant des corpus de noms et en les replaçant dans des groupes de parenté, dans des familles culturelles et dans d’autres types de communautés, nous montrons l’importance du nom pour signifier l’identité des hommes, tantôt en les distinguant les uns des autres (identité individuelle), tantôt en les inscrivant dans un ensemble d’identités collectives (notamment la parenté).


Among the elements of social life, the name is one of the most universal. Indeed, it is at the root of all communication, insofar as it allows you to designate a third party. However, the name is not neutral : it carries meanings and it often makes possible to identify the groups to which an individual belongs. The study of names thus allows you to understand how the actors are part of the social field. The name is a sign of affiliation, conscious or not, assumed or not, by the holder. Its giving, its circulation and its memory are all elements that can inform us about how societies do work. As a linguistic tool and as an object of the collective speech, but also through its semantic content and through the echoes it creates between homonyms, the name contributes to defining the individual, but also rooted him in the social field. Thanks to most of the late Anglo-Saxon sources, we carry out a comprehensive study about the naming practices and the representations of naming. The name may indeed have varying meanings and may even cover conflicting identities. Our aim, as such, is to capture ail of these levels of meanings and articulate these different identities. By setting up corpora of names and by replacing them in kinship groups, in cultural families and in other types of communities, we show the importance of the name to signify the identity of men, sometimes by distinguishing them from one another (individual identity), sometimes by placing them in a set of collective identities (mostly relatives).