What’s Your Noble Name?

Zoe Samuel

Image: DianaHirsch / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Shakespeare may have been right about roses, but when it comes to names, not all are created equal. Noble names, in particular, speak of power and prestige. Why is this? Are names just names, or do they have some connection to something deeply seated in our culture, something that tells us to straighten up at certain syllables? The answer is that it is complicated.

In England, the oldest existing noble names are usually Norman names, inherited from the leaders of the army of William The Conqueror. In 1066 AD, when William's army conquered England, he and his retinue replaced the existing Anglo-Saxon order of kings and nobles with the Norman one. Kings from before 1066 tend to be called things like Edward the Martyr, so Norman kings could be called Edward I, II, III, etc. Some really old names have Roman antecedents like "Verulam" which comes from the Roman city of Verulamium.

In Japan, on the other hand, the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi (Miyamoto being a surname) was born Bennosuke to a family with a completely different surname. He wrote with the pen-name Shinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin, and had the Buddhist name Niten Dōraku. Each of these names meant something different to different audiences, but in his capacity as a samurai, at court he went by "Musashi no Kami," which named him as the protector of the Musashi province (an area that includes parts of several modern provinces).

What noble name belongs to you? That depends on who you are. Take this quiz and find out which noble name is yours!

What do you see as the duty of the nobility?

When the king summons the battle standards, what class of soldier do you muster?

How would you like to travel across your ancestral estate?

What quest would you never turn down?

What accessory would you use to tell everyone about your noble rank without having to say anything?

A toast, by jove! What vessel shall you use?

With what would you arm yourself for personal protection?

You're traveling across the lands. Where do you stay the night?

What term would you use to refer to regular people?

What token have you given to the maiden in whose name you fight?

What would you do to perpetuate your dynasty?

How would you get around a city?

What percentage of your social circle would be people from outside your social class?

How many nobles occupy the same strata of the aristocracy that you do?

Who would you have in your personal entourage?

What is your kingdom's relationship with its neighbors?

What symbol would you want on your battle standard?

What expensive vice do you have, being a noble?

What is your family motto?

What is the most unique right you have, as a noble in your society?

Where would you be in the order of your parents' offspring?

What color dominates your wardrobe at court?

How warlike were the times in which you were born and grew up?

Of the domestic animals you keep, which do you love the most?

What public good do you support?

In what noble sport do you excel?

In what way do you break from your noble house?

What was your role on the battlefield, when you fulfilled your family's obligation to the state?

What best describes the war in which you fought?

Your queen has invited you to the state opening of Parliament. Bearing in mind no one else will see or know, what do you wear under your robe?

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