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St. Cynog

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Celebaelin
808919.  Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:32 am Reply with quote

Whilst a moderately interesting Welsh Saint in his own right for the slaying of the chief of the ormests* with his hat (OK, it's a bit more complicated than that but you'll have to read the link) I've been delving into the possible origins of the otherwise enigmatic name Cynog and have come to the conclusion that it might very well derive from the Greek for dog.

'Tell me more' I hear you cry - why certainly kind reader; whilst σκύλος (skylos) is the modern word the ancient Greek word for dog, male or female, is ΚΥΩΝ / κύων, κύνες, which has given us the words cynical (= dog-like, doggish trait) and Cynognathus (from Greek κυνόγναθος, meaning "dog jaw") for a genus of "mammal-like reptiles". The ancient word seems to have the same connotations of doggyness as the modern slang use of dog and hound - essentially slavish devotion to, erm, the moist bits shall we say. This last part may be me reading in something which isn't there but the sources seem to me to steer the mind in that direction without making explicit references - I've merely taken it a (mis)step further.

On the basis that I may as well be hung for a sheep-dog as a lambast I'll go a bit further and say my current working theory is that the town of Kenilworth started out as Cynogwerde (Cynog's enclosure). It appears in the Domesday Book as Chinewrde which is generally thought to be "Farm of a woman named Cynehild" but since i) there are other nearby examples of Welsh names in these parts (Cyfaint-tre as the origin of Coventry for example) ii) Saxon endings have been lumped onto other stems round here and iii) nobody seems to know what Cynehild means either I'm quite happy to delude myself on this one.

D. Chinewrde
1155 Kinellwurd, C. D. Fr.
1266 Kenilleworth C. B. M. i
1327 Kenilworth

Quote:
kennel
c.1300, from O.Fr. chenil, from V.L. canile, from L. canem (nom. canis) "dog" (see canine).


* 'invaders' - giant and cannibalistic invaders at that allegedly.

http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/cynog.html
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cynical
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynognathus
http://www.searchforancestors.com/surnames/origin/c/coventry.php
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=kennel&searchmode=none

 
Jenny
809011.  Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:29 pm Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:


On the basis that I may as well be hung for a sheep-dog as a lambast


Genius phrase.

Lovely stuff, Cele. Thanks.

 
CB27
809068.  Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:04 pm Reply with quote

It's worth noting that St Cynog was also known as St Kynauc.

 
Celebaelin
809674.  Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:43 am Reply with quote

Quote:
In 1188 Gerald of Wales wrote that there still existed a certain relic purported to be a royal torc that had once been worn by Cynog, presumably as an item of royal regalia. Gerald encountered this relic while travelling through Brycheiniog. He wrote of this relic:

"Moreover I must not be silent concerning the collar which they call St. Canauc's; for it is most like to gold in weight, nature, and colour; it is in four pieces wrought round, joined together artificially, and clefted as it were in the middle, with a dog's head, the teeth standing outward; it is esteemed by the inhabitants so powerful a relic, that no man dares swear falsely when it is laid before him: it bears the marks of some severe blows, as if made with an iron hammer; for a certain man, as it is said, endeavouring to break the collar for the sake of the gold, experienced the divine vengeance, was deprived of his eyesight, and lingered the remainder of his days in darkness."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynog_ap_Brychan

 
Llelo
971215.  Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:20 pm Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
I've been delving into the possible origins of the otherwise enigmatic name Cynog and have come to the conclusion that it might very well derive from the Greek for dog.


Nice style, but it's a dubious idea. I mean, yes, they come from the same PIE root, but the slew of Old Welsh names with Cu-/Cy- Cunedda, Maglocunus (=Maelgwn), Cynan/Conan had nothing to do with Greek directly. They just came from the Proto-Celtic Cu that turned into modern Welsh Ci.

And while in Celtic cultures, it seems to have had the same bad connotations in reference to women and the church's supposition that they had a "slavish devotion to the moist bits", it was obviously a noble and even royal connotation when applied to men. Oddly, it seems that the pack mentality of wolves made "dog" the go-to animal for Celtic intelligence and cunning: the dog root even shows up in some of their words for thought and thinking.

 
'yorz
971216.  Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:49 pm Reply with quote

Hi Llelo, welcome.

Quote:
And while in Celtic cultures, it seems to have had the same bad connotations in reference to women and the church's supposition that they had a "slavish devotion to the moist bits", it was obviously a noble and even royal connotation when applied to men.


I have trouble understanding the above sentence - 'it' seems? Who/what do 'it' and 'they' refer to?

 

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