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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Holy Land: Iceland and its Patronymic Naming System



Iceland is a repository of ancient Germanic religion and lore. If it were not for the Icelandic Elder and Younger Eddas along with the saga material and Galdrabooks we would know precious little about our ancient religion so we must always be grateful to this hardy and isolated Germanic people.

One thing in particular which interests me about modern day Iceland is their surname naming system which until the early 1980s was unique in the Germanic world and yet is hardly ever commentated upon. Generally new- borns' surnames are patronymic, sometimes matronymic. In other words their surname is their father's (sometimes the mother's) forename or middle name (if preferred) with sson if a son or dóttir if a daughter, added to it as a suffix. Occasionally as a surname some Icelanders have both a patronymic and a matronymic name as a sort of double barreled surname! Thus the surname is likely to change from generation to generation. There are some Icelanders who have inherited surnames either because they are of foreign origin or if their surname was incorporated before certain legal changes in 1925. Since the early 1980s other Germano-Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Faroe Islands have allowed for the use of patronymic or matronymic surnames.

Interestingly in Russia (heavily influenced by the ruling and dominant Swedish Russ) the middle name is a reflection of the father. Originally Russians had the same kind of system as in Iceland. Also Icelanders are not free to adopt alien and exotic names. Forenames have to be approved by the Mannanafnanefnd (Icelandic Naming Committee). Only names that can be pronounced using the Icelandic (Old Norse) alphabet may be used. This all goes to preserving the Germanic inheritence of the Icelandic people who by the way were the first to legally recognise the Odinic religion in 1973.

Icelandic as a language is peculiar in the North Germanic language group as it alone unlike modern Danish, Swedish and Norwegian (which are mutually intelligible) has changed very little from Old Norse due to Iceland's geographical isolation. 

This geographical isolation is helping to culturally and racially preserve the Icelandic people and has inculcated a strong sense of independence in the national character. One only has to recall the Icelandic government's refusal to bail out the Icelandic banks. To do so would have been to bankrupt this small country. So despite their small size as a population (322,000) they show a pluckiness that does them credit and shames the sheeple of England. If only Greece, Spain and Portugal (not to mention the United Kingdom) were to have followed their brave and sensible example!

Iceland has never started any wars or invaded any other country and this should be a lesson for us because by minding their own business they have retained their way of life and the biological integrity of their gene pool. It is to Iceland that we should look to as an example and revere as a holy land, not Israel. The moral difference between the peace-loving and hardy Icelanders and the war-mongering, genocidal but western-backed illegal state of Isreal could not be more astounding!

1 comment:

Steed EOW said...

I agree. Iceland really is a beacon of hope in so many ways - not least because of the way they dealt with the Bankers recently. They also have a real cult of strength, producing many competing strong men.

I'm sure you know this WK, but I wanted to mention that we Anglo-Saxons once used a similar naming system.