|Language(s)||Welsh, Old Breton|
|See also||Artur, Art (short form), Arturo, Arttu or/and Artturi (Finnish variant)|
Arthur is a common male given name of Brythonic origin. Its popularity derives from it being the name of the legendary hero King Arthur. The etymology is disputed. It may derive from the Celtic Artos meaning “Bear”. Another theory, more widely believed, is that the name is derived from the Roman clan Artorius who lived in Roman Britain for centuries.
A common spelling variant used in many Slavic, Romance, and Germanic languages is Artur. In Spanish and Italian it is Arturo.
The earliest datable attestation of the name Arthur is in the early 9th century Welsh-Latin text Historia Brittonum, where it refers to a circa 5th to 6th-century Briton general who fought against the invading Saxons, and who later gave rise to the famous King Arthur of medieval legend and literature. A possible earlier mention of the same man is to be found in the epic Welsh poem Y Gododdin by Aneirin, which some scholars assign to the late 6th century, though this is still a matter of debate and the poem only survives in a late 13th century manuscript entitled the Book of Aneirin. A 9th-century Breton landowner named Arthur witnessed several charters collected in the Cartulary of Redon.
The Irish borrowed the name by the late 6th century (either from an early Archaic Welsh or Cumbric form Artur), producing Old Irish Artúr (Latinized as Arturius by Adomnán in his Life of St. Columba, written circa 697–700), The earliest historically attested bearer of the name is a son or grandson of Áedán mac Gabráin (died 609).
The exact origins of the name Arthur remains a matter of debate. The most widely accepted etymology derives it from the Roman nomen gentile (family name) Artorius. Artorius is of obscure and contested etymology, but is possibly of Messapic or Etruscan origin. According to the linguist and Celticist Stefan Zimmer, it is possible that Artorius has a Celtic origin, being a Latinization of the hypothetical name *Artorījos, derived from the patronym *Arto-rīg-ios, meaning "Son of the Bear/Warrior-King". *Arto-rīg-ios is unattested, but the root, *arto-rīg, "bear/warrior-king", is the source of the Old Irish personal name Artrí, while the similar *Arto-maglos, "bear-prince", produced names in several Brittonic languages. According to Zimmer's etymology, the Celtic short compositional vowel -o- was lengthened and the long -ī- in the second element of the compound -rījos was shortened by Latin speakers, under the influence of Latin agent nouns ending in -tōr (and their derivatives in -tōrius). Some scholars have noted that the legendary King Arthur's name only appears as Arthur, Arthurus, or Arturus in early Latin Arthurian texts, never as Artōrius (although the Classical Latin Artōrius became Arturius in some Vulgar Latin dialects). However, this may not say anything about the origin of the name Arthur, as Artōrius would regularly become Art(h)ur when borrowed into Welsh.
The commonly proposed derivation from Welsh arth "bear" + (g)wr "man" (earlier *Arto-uiros in Brittonic) is not possible for phonological and orthographic reasons; notably that a Brittonic compound name *Arto-uiros should produce Old Welsh *Artgur (where -u- represents the short vowel /u/) and Middle/Modern Welsh *Arthwr and not Arthur (where -u- is a long vowel /ʉː/) In Welsh poetry the name is always spelled Arthur and is exclusively rhymed with words ending in -ur—never words ending in -wr—which confirms that the second element cannot be [g]wr "man").
An alternative theory, which has only gained limited acceptance among scholars, derives the name Arthur from the Latin Arcturus (the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, near Ursa Major or the Great Bear), which is the latinisation of the Greek Ἀρκτοῦρος (Arktouros) and means Bear Guardian from ἄρκτος (arktos "bear") and οὖρος (ouros "watcher/guardian"). This form, Arcturus would have become Art(h)ur when borrowed into Welsh, and its brightness and position in the sky led people to regard it as the "guardian of the bear" and the "leader" of the other stars in Boötes.
Avestan aṣ̌a/arta and its Vedic equivalent ṛtá both derive from Proto-Indo-Iranian *ṛtá- "truth", which in turn continues Proto-Indo-European *h2r-to- "properly joined, right, true", from the root *h2ar. The word is attested in Old Persian as arta.
People and characters with the given name Arthur
Kings and princes
- Arthur I, Duke of Brittany (1187–1203), killed by his uncle king John Lackland
- Arthur II, Duke of Brittany (1261–1312)
- Arthur III, Duke of Brittany (1393–1458)
- Arthur, Prince of Wales (1486–1502), elder son of Henry VII of England
- Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850–1942), seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria
- Prince Arthur of Connaught (1883–1938), son of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
- Arthur or Arthur Melo (born 1996), Brazilian footballer
- Arthur "Man" Agee Jr., American former Chicago-area high school basketball player
- Arthur Ahmed (born 1970), Ghanaian politician
- Arthur Alexander (1940–1993), American soul singer and songwriter
- Arthur Ashe (1943–1993), American tennis player
- Arthur Askey (1900–1982), English comedian
- Artur Awejde (1838–1863), Polish commissioner of Augustów Voivodeship during the January Uprising
- Arthur Balfour (1848–1930), earl of Balfour, British politician, and prime minister under Edward VII
- Art Baltazar (born 1968), comic writer and illustrator for DC Super Pets
- Arthur Harold Beal (1896–1992), creator of Nitt Witt Ridge
- Arthur Blok (1882–1974), English first administrative head of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
- Arthur Bluethenthal (1891–1918), American football player
- Arthur Bradfield (1892–1978), English cricketer
- Arthur Bramley (1929–2021), English footballer
- Arthur Bremer (born 1950), American attempted assassin of George Wallace
- Art Carney (1918–2003), American actor
- Arthur Cayley (1822–1895), British mathematician
- Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008), British writer
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930), British writer
- Arthur Conley (1946–2003), American soul singer
- General Sir Arthur Currie (1875-1933), senior officer of the Canadian Army during the First World War
- Arthur Darvill (born 1982), British actor and musician
- Arthur Marcelles de Silva (1879-1957), Sri Lankan Sinhala surgeon, first Sri Lankan to gain Fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons of England
- Arthur Delaporte (born 1991), French politician
- Sir Arthur Eddington (1882–1944), British astrophysicist
- Sir Arthur Evans (1851–1941), British archaeologist
- Arthur Fenner (1745–1805), fourth Governor of Rhode Island
- Arthur Frommer (born 1929), American travel writer and publisher
- Arthur Burdett Frost (1851-1928), American illustrator, graphic artist, painter and comics writer
- Arthur J. Gallagher, founder of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
- Art Garfunkel (born 1941), American entertainer
- Arthur Gatter (1940–1990), German serial killer
- Count Arthur Gobineau (1816–1882), French polemicist and political and historical writer
- Arthur Godfrey (1903–1983), American radio and television personality
- Arthur Goldberg (1908–1990), American politician and judge
- A. O. Granger (1846–1914), American industrialist and soldier
- Arthur Greiser (1897–1946), German Nazi SS officer executed for war crimes
- Arthur Guinness (1725–1803), Irish brewer
- Arthur Hailey (1920–2004), British novelist
- Arthur Harvey (disambiguation)
- Arthur Lawrence Hellyer Jr. (1923–2018), American radio host
- Art Heyman (1941–2012), American NBA basketball player
- Arthur Holden (born 1959), Canadian voice actor
- Arthur Honegger (1892–1955), Swiss composer
- Arthur James Johnes (1809–1871), English judge
- Arthur J. Jones (born 1948), American neo-Nazi politician
- Arthur Koestler (1905–1983), British writer
- Arthur Laffer (born 1940), American economist
- Arthur Lee (1945–2006), American musician
- Arthur Lethbridge (known as Ivor Moreton) (1908–1984), British singer and pianist
- Arthur Liebehenschel (1901–1948), German commandant at the Auschwitz and Majdanek concentration camps executed for war crimes
- Art Linkletter (1912–2010), Canadian-born American radio and television personality
- Arthur Loveridge (1891–1980), British herpetologist
- Arthur Lydiard (1917–2004), New Zealand runner and athletics coach
- Arthur MacArthur, Jr., (1845–1912), American soldier
- Arthur "Harpo" Marx (1888–1964), American comedian and musician
- Arthur Meighen (1874–1960), Canadian prime minister in the 1920s
- Arthur Miley (born 1993), American football player
- Arthur Miller (1915–2005), American playwright
- Arthur O'Shaughnessy (1844–1881), British poet and herpetologist
- Arthur Uther Pendragon (born 1954), British neo-druid leader
- Art Potter (1909–1998), Canadian ice hockey administrator
- Arthur Prysock (1924–1997), American jazz and R&B singer
- Sir Arthur Godwin Ranasinghe, Sri Lankan Sinhala civil servant, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka from 1954-1959
- Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891), French poet
- Arthur Rödl (1898–1945), German Nazi SS commandant of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp
- Arthur J. Samberg (1941–2020), American businessman
- Arthur Scargill (born 1938), British miners' union leader
- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917–2007), American historian
- Arthur Moritz Schoenflies (1853–1928), German mathematician
- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), German philosopher
- Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892–1946), Austrian Nazi politician
- Arthur "Buddy" Schumacher (1916–1925), boy who was found murdered in 1925
- Art Shamsky (born 1941), American major league baseball player and Israel Baseball League manager
- Arthur Shawcross (1945–2008), American cannibalistic serial killer and rapist
- Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900), English composer who did operatic collaborations with librettist W. S. Gilbert
- Arthur Tracy (1899–1997), American singer and actor
- Arthur Treacher (1894–1975), English actor
- Arthur Vandenberg (1884–1951), American politician
- Sir Arthur Wellesley (1769–1852), duke of Wellington; military commander who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo; British Prime Minister 1828–1830 and briefly in 1834
- Arthur Wijewardena (1887–1964), Chief Justice of Sri Lanka from 1949-1950
- Arthur A. Wilson, Anglo-Indian cinematographer
- Artturi Jämsén (1925–1976), Finnish politician
- Artturi Lehkonen (born 1995), Finnish professional ice hockey player
- Artturi Leinonen (1888–1963), Finnish journalist and politician
- Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (1895–1973), Finnish chemist
- Arthur, an animated educational television series for children ages 4 to 8, developed by Kathy Waugh for PBS, and produced by WGBH.
- Arthur Kirkland (アーサー・カークランド), the given human name for the personification of the United Kingdom from the anime series Hetalia: Axis Powers
- Arthur, a character 1991 American coming-of-age comedy-drama movie My Girl
- Arthur Birling, an antagonist within the post-war play An Inspector Calls
- Arthur Curry, Aquaman
- Ser Arthur Dayne, a character from A Song of Ice and Fire book series
- Arthur Denison, the main character of the Dinotopia book series
- Arthur Dent, the main character of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series
- Arthur Dupres, a character in the American TV miniseries V (1983 miniseries)
- Arthur Fleck, the main character in Joker (2019 film)
- Arthur Fonzarelli, Happy Days
- Arthur Morgan, the main character of the video game Red Dead Redemption 2
- Arthur Read, main character in Arthur (TV Show)
- Arthur Seaton is the main character in Alan Sillitoe's debut novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
- Arthur Shelby, a character from the Peaky Blinders (TV series)
- Arthur Weasley, a character of the Harry Potter book series
- Arthur Wright, a character in the 1997 French-American fantasy drama movie FairyTale: A True Story
- Arthur Watts, a major antagonist in the animated web series RWBY
In many languages
- Albanian: Artur
- Amharic: አርተር
- Arabic: أرثر, ارثور, ارتور
- Armenian: Արթուր (Art'ur)
- Basque: Artur, Artza
- Bengali: আর্থার (Ārthāra)
- Breton: Arzhur
- Bulgarian: Артур (Artur)
- Catalan: Artur, Artús
- Chechen: Артур (Artur)
- Chinese: Simplified: 亚瑟 (Yàsè), 阿瑟 (Āsè), 阿图尔 (Ātúěr) Traditional: 亞瑟 (Yàsè), 阿瑟 (Āsè), 阿圖爾 (Ātúěr)
- Croatian: Artur
- Czech: Artuš, Artur
- Danish: Arthur
- Dutch: Arthur, Artuur
- Estonian: Artur, Ats
- English: Arthur
- Finnish: Artturi, Arttu, Arto, Artto
- French: Arthur
- Galician: Artur, Artús
- Georgian: ართური (Arturi)
- German: Artur, Arthur
- Greek: Αρθούρος (Arthouros/Artouros)
- Gujarati: આર્થર (Ārthara)
- Hebrew: ארתור (Artur)
- Hindi: आर्थर (aarthar)
- Hungarian: Artúr
- Icelandic: Arthur
- Indonesian: Arthur
- Inuktitut: ᐋᑐᕐ (aatur)
- Irish: Artúr
- Italian: Arturo (common name), Artù (the Briton king)
- Japanese: アーサー (Āsā) (in katakana)
- Kannada: ಆರ್ಥರ್ (Ārthar)
- Korean: 아서 (Aseo), 아써 (Asseo), 아더 (Adeo)
- Kurdish: ئارتەر
- Latin: Arturus/Arthurus, Artorius/Arturius
- Latvian: Artūrs
- Lithuanian: Artūras
- Malayalam: ആർതർ (ārtar)
- Maldivian: އަރތަރ
- Maltese: Arturu, Turu
- Nāhuatl: Arthur
- Norman: Èrthu
- Norwegian: Artur
- Ossetian: Артур (Artur)
- Patois: Aata
- Persian: آرتور
- Polish: Artur
- Portuguese: Artur, Arthur (archaic spelling, common in Brazil)
- Punjabi: Gurmukhi script: ਆਰਥਰ (Ārathara), Shahmukhi script: آرتھر
- Romanian: Arthur, Artur
- Russian: Артур (Artur)
- Serbian: Артур (Artur)
- Sinhalese: ආතර් (ātar)
- Slovakian: Artúr
- Slovenian: Artur
- Spanish: Arturo
- Swedish: Artur
- Thai: อาร์เธอร์ (Xār̒ṭhexr̒)
- Turkish: Artur
- Ukrainian: Артур (Artur)
- Urdu: آرتھر
- Uzbek: Artur
- Welsh: Arthur
- Barber 1986, p. 141
- Campbell, Mike. "Meaning, origin and history of the name Arthur". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2022-04-04.
- Koch, John T., The Gododdin of Aneirin, University of Wales Press, 1997, pp. xi, xxii, 22, 147, 148.
- Koch, John T, ed. (2006). Celtic culture: A historical encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 121–122. ISBN 1-85109-440-7.
- de Courson, A. (ed.), Cartulaire de Redon, Paris, 1863, pp. 19, 42, 60, 76, 183.
- * Jaski, Bart, Early Irish examples of the name Arthur, Z.C.P. band 56, 2004.
- Adomnán, I, 8–9 and translator's note 81; Bannerman, pp. 82–83. Bannerman, pp. 90–91, notes that Artúr is the son of Conaing, son of Áedán in the Senchus fer n-Alban.
- Malone 1925
- Marcella Chelotti, Vincenza Morizio, Marina Silvestrini, Le epigrafi romane di Canosa, Volume 1, Edipuglia srl, 1990, pg. 261, 264.
- Ciro Santoro, "Per la nuova iscrizione messapica di Oria", La Zagaglia, A. VII, n. 27, 1965, P. 271-293.
- Ciro Santoro, La Nuova Epigrafe Messapica "IM 4. 16, I-III" di Ostuni ed nomi in Art-, Ricerche e Studi, Volume 12, 1979, p. 45-60
- Wilhelm Schulze, Zur Geschichte lateinischer Eigennamen (Volume 5, Issue 2 of Abhandlungen der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse, Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften Göttingen Philologisch-Historische Klasse), 2nd Edition, Weidmann, 1966, p. 72, pp. 333–338
- Olli Salomies: Die römischen Vornamen. Studien zur römischen Namengebung. Helsinki 1987, p. 68
- Herbig, Gust., "Falisca", Glotta, Band II, Göttingen, 1910, p. 98
- Zimmer 2009
- Koch 1996, p. 253
- See Higham 2002, p. 74.
- See Higham 2002, p. 80.
- Bromwich, Rachel, Trioedd ynys Prydein: the Welsh triads, University of Wales Press, 1978, p. 544
- Zimmer, Stefan, Die keltischen Wurzeln der Artussage: mit einer vollständigen Übersetzung der ältesten Artuserzählung Culhwch und Olwen, Winter, 2006, p. 37
- Zimmer, Stefan, "The Name of Arthur – A New Etymology ", Journal of Celtic Linguistics, Volume 13, Number 1, March 2009, University of Wales Press, pp. 131–136.
- Walter, Philippe, Faccia M. (trans.), Artù. L'orso e il re, Edizioni Arkeios, 2005, p. 74.
- Johnson, Flint, The British sources of the abduction and Grail romances, University Press of America, 2002, pp. 38–39.
- Chambers, Edmund Kerchever, Arthur of Britain, Speculum Historiale, 1964, p. 170
- arctūrus, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
- , Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon.
- , Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon.
- , Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon.
- Anderson 2004, pp. 28–29; Green 2007b, pp. 191–4.
- "AṦA (Asha "Truth") – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
- Anderson, Graham (2004), King Arthur in Antiquity, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-31714-6.
- Barber, Richard (1986), King Arthur: Hero and Legend, Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, ISBN 0-85115-254-6.
- Green, Thomas (August 2007a), "Tom Thumb and Jack the Giant Killer: Two Arthurian Fairytales?", Folklore, 118 (2): 123–40, doi:10.1080/00155870701337296, S2CID 161588264. (EBSCO subscription required for online access.)
- Green, Thomas (2007b), Concepts of Arthur, Stroud: Tempus, ISBN 978-0-7524-4461-1.
- Higham, N. J. (2002), King Arthur, Myth-Making and History, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-21305-9.
- Koch, John T. (1996), "The Celtic Lands", in Lacy, Norris J. (ed.), Medieval Arthurian Literature: A Guide to Recent Research, New York: Garland, pp. 239–322, ISBN 978-0-8153-2160-6.
- Koch, John T. (1994), Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, ISBN 1851094407
- Koch, John T.; Carey, John (1994), The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, Malden, MA: Celtic Studies Publications, ISBN 978-0-9642446-2-7.
- Malone, Kemp (May 1925), "Artorius", Modern Philology, 22 (4): 367–74, doi:10.1086/387553, JSTOR 433555, S2CID 224832996. (JSTOR subscription required for online access.)
- Jaski, Bart, Early Irish examples of the name Arthur, Z.C.P. band 56, 2004
- Zimmer, Stefan (2009), "The Name of Arthur — A New Etymology", Journal of Celtic Linguistics, University of Wales Press, 13 (1): 131–136