[SCA-Dance] Origin of the name "Ly Bens Distonys"?
tmcd at panix.com
Fri Jan 15 15:24:56 EST 2010
Asking about the origin of the name "Ly Bens Distonys".
On Fri, 15 Jan 2010, Alexander Clark wrote:
>> How about this? From
>> http://www.sfsu.edu/~medieval/Volume4/Zaerr.html, a reference to a
>> fourteenth-century Middle English piece titled Lybeaus Desconus
>> (linked to a thirteenth-century Old French piece called Le Bel
>> Inconnu). Haven't actually read the article, but that's an
>> interestingly close name.
> In hands of this period, some "n"s are mistranscribed "u"s, and a
> few "t"s are mistranscribed "c"s. I'd say the names are close enough
> that they could be practically identical, especially if it was a
> name that is likely to have been incomprehensible to a period
Also, in modern French, "beau/bel/belle" is apparently 'beautiful',
and "bien" is 'good'. My uneducated wondering is whether it was a
period game of telephone. In this case, maybe someone along the line
shifted to a different word in the same semantic zone. (For a related
example: with urban legends, stories often mutate to be about a
similar company or person, often to a more famous one. E.g., a legend
about a soft-drink company may be retold as being about Coca-Cola or
Or maybe a more direct form of telephone: Gresley or someone before
simply didn't hear the name very well and didn't know the medieval
romance to lock it down.
Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com
More information about the Sca-dance