The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0787 Thursday, 13 April 2000.
Date: Wednesday, 12 Apr 2000 23:06:34 +0100
Subject: 11.0778 Re: Julius Caesar, Cesario, Ganymede
Comment: Re: SHK 11.0778 Re: Julius Caesar, Cesario, Ganymede
>Perhaps some more competent linguists will intervene, if I'm mixing
>etymological apples with folkloric oranges.
I don't claim much expertise in this area, but the naming of Tib Our Cat
isn't too difficult to trace to Shakespeare.
He appears -- as Tibert -- towards the beginning of the +Roman de
Reynart+ (late 12th century) as one of the defenders at Reynard's trial.
Caxton, translating this into English in 1481, shifts the spelling to
Tybert, and in the years following the publication of this translation,
the name in England acquires its close association with cats.
The OED [under "tibert"] notes Dutch and Flemish as well as the Old
French forms, but I'd be surprised if analogues of the name weren't
widespread in most Continental languages, given the dissemination of the
Reynard Cycle. Caxton's translation is cited for the first use of the
word in English, with the next citation from R&J itself.
While the OED fails to give any examples of the use of the term between
Caxton's Tybert of 1481 and Shakespeare's Tybalt of 1595, Arthur
Brooke's spelling of the name as "Tybalt" in his +Romeus and Juliet+ of
1562 confirms that Shakespeare's isn't the first use in English of the
"Tybalt" variation of the spelling.