This Is Why We Need More Translations of Latin Primary Sources

I’ve been looking all around at the standard online lists of known Gothic names, particularly of females.

Do they include the euphonious and mysterious woman’s name “Sabigotho”? They do not.

Theudigotho shows up, though.

Another mysterious thing about St. Sabigotho is why the French decided that her baptismal name was Natalia or Nathalia. This happened very soon after her death, while Eulogius was still alive. A couple of monks came over from Carolingian France asking for relics, and were given various body parts (notably, Sabigotho’s head, which for some reason was in Aurelius’ tomb instead of his). In the French accounts of these martyrs’ story (Translatio Georgii Aurelii et Nathaliae) by Aimoin and Usuard, all of a sudden her name is Natalia (of birth, birthday). What gives?

Possibly the “sabi-” part of Sabigotho means “born”, like “wellborn Goth”. But it doesn’t seem to. It’s probably more like “sibling Goth” or “peace Goth” or “healing salve Goth”, or something similar. Germanic sb roots are usually in that neck of the woods.

So… maybe the French guys made it up out of their heads. Or maybe Nathalia was her confirmation name or her other baptismal name or one of her properties’ name. And maybe Nathalia was the French’s best translation of her Arabic name. Hard to say at this distance in time. There are some feminine Arabic names like that, though: Walidah (newborn) and Najibah (of noble birth). But who knows?

UPDATE: Anyway, at that point the abbey church of St. Germain des Pres, in Paris, had St. Sabigotho’s head and some relics of St. Aurelius and St. George also. Possibly these got destroyed in the French Revolution; possibly the current pastor is just shy of putting lists of famous relics on his parish website.

(I’d like to know what happened to St. Vincent of Zaragoza’s stole end, brought back to St Germain des Pres by Childebert as a thank you gift from Zaragoza’s bishop, for lifting the siege of Zaragoza when Childebert heard it was under St. Vincent’s protection. Fabric historians love clothing relics, and they always have interesting stuff to say about them.)

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