Today’s choice is a long standing favorite here at ApMtn, but it’s quite rare out in the world.
Our Name of the Day is the Welsh Caradoc.
The first Caradoc may have been a real person, a combination of several real people or perhaps just a legendary invention.
What we know for certain is this: during the first century, the Romans were building their empire. Claudius invaded Britain in 43. The King of the Catuvellauni was not pleased, and summoned his armies to oppose the invaders. The Romans record his name as Caratacus. He was ultimately defeated and shipped off to Rome in chains.
History tells us that the Romans admired Caratacus’ grit and allowed him to live out his days in peace. It also suggests that Caratacus’ name in his language was probably Caradoc.
The link between Caratacus and Caradoc is also found on the map. In Shropshire, Caer Caradoc Hill is said to be the location of the king’s last stand. Remains of an ancient fort were found at the summit, and it matches the description given in written records.
He’s not the last bearer of the name. Historians believe that the Welsh Kingdom of Gwent was founded by Caradoc ap Ynyr in the sixth century. Gwent, of course, is also the land ruled by Athrwys ap Meurig, considered a possible source for the King Arthur figure.
Arthurian legend is Caradoc’s real home, and the stories contain more than one Caradoc. The best known tale is of a father and son duo. Caradoc the Elder initially opposed Arthur’s rule, but later became of the king’s staunchest allies. An evil sorcerer seduced Caradoc’s wife. Years later, the sorcerer revealed his treachery – including the fact that Caradoc the Younger was really his son. The bad guy’s plan backfired, and the two Caradocs teamed up to defeat him.
Like the feminine Carys, the name is linked to the Welsh cariadus – beloved. Caradawg is probably closest to the original, while Caradoc is the Anglicized version. Emphasis is on the first syllable – KAH rah dok.
While he’s never ranked in the Top 1000, census records tell us that there were some nineteenth and early twentieth century Caradocs in the US.
Our initial reaction is that Caradoc would be eye-poppingly strange on a boy circa 2009. Plus the obvious nickname – Cary – is widely considered feminine.
And yet, we can see Caradoc working, especially if you’re determined to find something with history, without overtly religious overtones and truly rare. While Cary strikes many as a girls’ name, there’s also debonair Cary Grant and The Princess Bride’s Cary Elwes. With Cody and Colby big for boys in recent years, Cary seems like less of a stretch than it might have in the 1980s.
Factor in Tristan’s popularity, and we wonder if more legendary hero names might make a comeback. Caradoc’s a longshot, but we like him anyway.