Etymology of a Cuman name
(60th Meeting of the PIAC, Székesfehérvár 2017)
Although several excellent works were published in the last decades about the Cumans in medieval history and the Turkic personal names generally, there are still unsolved problems concerning their ethnic background and contacts with other peoples on the Pontic steppes. Etymology is still an important working method which can explain or reveal connections otherwise not mentioned in written sources. Personal names are often chosen under the influence of foreign cultural and political circumstances, still, the phonetic realisation of a foreign name may witness not only the influence, but also how much it became integrated in the language (and consequently the everyday life) of a population. In this case I intend to explain the name of a Cuman dux in the 13th century. It was reported in different forms in less known Latin sources.
These differences made it possible to determine the name as Turkic – Iranian bilingual. It means that the population had to have close contacts with Iranian speakers, most probably Alans. Also genetic research which was carried out among the two groups of Cumans, which migrated into Hungary in the 13th century, documented genetic differences between those who settled in Cumania Maior (Nagykunság) and those in Cumania Minor (Kiskunság). This fact explains and confirms the result of this study.