Ends with r names have been big for boys in recent years, as have decidedly masculine choices. If Gunnar is back, how about this long forgotten choice?
Thanks to Charlotte for suggesting Lothair as our Baby Name of the Day.
Lothair is Germanic, and was even clunkier in his original form – Chlodochar or Chlothar. The second syllable means army, and was once a favorite, surviving in names like Gunther, Volker, and Harold. The first part is even more familiar to English speakers. It means fame, and the element is found in Roger, Rowena, Robert, and my favorite, Roswitha.
Four kings of the Franks wore the name from the fifth into the eighth centuries.
Chlothar shed his ch by the early ninth century, Lothair I is Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy. He’s also Charlemagne’s grandson, and was originally given control of a swath of land called Lotharingia. The region’s name softened over the centuries to Lorraine.
The name was passed down, and at least four more kings answered to Lothair between the ninth and eleventh centuries. The Cross of Lothair is a be-jeweled cross used in religious processions for centuries. It was probably made around the year 1000. None of the ruling Lothairs commissioned the cross, but a seal of Lothair II is incorporated into the base – hence, the name.
As the Middle Ages wane, so does the name, though:
- You’ll find Lothar in use in nineteenth and twentieth century Germany.
- Benjamin Disraeli penned an 1870 novel about religious themes called Lothair. His Lothair is a nobleman searching for answers about faith. The Anglican Church – and Lady Corisande – eventually capture Lothair’s allegiance. The novel has faded, though it was very popular in its time.
In German and French, the name is pronounced with a t sound, rather than a th – lo TAHR. In Italian, he’s Lotario. In French, he’s Lothaire. In English, you’d get lo THAR or maybe lo THAIR.