Argonians: Naming Conventions

ShedsHisTail
ShedsHisTail
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I'm currently working on a piece of short fiction was thinking about Argonian names. As most of you are probably aware, Argonians are probably the most mysterious of the races typically associated with the Elder Scrolls. Their culture and history have been long obscured by the impenetrable swamps of Blackmarsh, so much to the point that we really know very little about them.

As a result, I'm turning to community opinion to seek answers to a couple of questions regarding Argonian names.

Firstly, there are two separate naming methods in Argonian culture. The common name; typically a single word proper noun not so much different than other cultures. And the symbolic name, the hyphenates typically associated with Argonian culture (Walks-in-Ash, Stands-in-Shade, etc.).

The questions I'm considering are; what determines which manner of name an Argonian receives?
Is it parental preference?
Or is one ceremonial?
Or is it indicative of a cultural/social divide; is one a high-born name and the other more primitive?
Are the common names more prevalent in Argonians who live in closer proximity to other races?
Do the symbolic names indicate an Argonian who might have grown up in the deeper reaches of Blackmarsh?
Do these names relate to the Hist in any way?
In the case of Symbolic names; are they granted at birth? Or later in life when the symbolism is relevant?
Does an Argonian's name change? ie: Are they born with a common name and granted a symbolic one down the line for some reason? Or vice versa?

I've got some ideas about how I want to handle this, but I'd like to hear some opinions before tainting the waters with my own opinions. I'm eager to hear your thoughts.
Edited by ShedsHisTail on May 28, 2014 6:48PM
"As an online discussion of Tamrielic Lore grows longer, the probability of someone blaming a Dragon Break approaches 1." -- Sheds' Law
Have you seen the Twin Lamps?
  • KhajiitiLizard
    KhajiitiLizard
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    The symbolic names may be a Tamrielic translation of that person's name, which original was in Jel.

    My two Argonian characters are named Vi-Raak (no idea what it would mean, but it's in Jel) and Shocks-Like-Wamasu. Most of those symbolic names are just nicknames given to oneself or from others.

    Argonians don't have highborn, all are equal under the Hist.
  • ShedsHisTail
    ShedsHisTail
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    Argonians don't have highborn, all are equal under the Hist.

    Equal under the Hist, perhaps, but not necessarily among other Argonians. Though, admittedly, "highborn" might have been poor word-choice.

    The existence of the their ziggurat-like Xanmeers definitely hint at the existence of a higher class or Argonian, whether that be a leadership role, or a religious position, or both. Yes, the Xanmeers we're able to access appear to have fallen into disuse, but there's no telling what lies deeper in Blackmarsh.

    You don't build giant pyramids for no reason.
    But I would say that's a tangent we can explore later. Right now I'm just concerned with names.
    Edited by ShedsHisTail on May 28, 2014 7:21PM
    "As an online discussion of Tamrielic Lore grows longer, the probability of someone blaming a Dragon Break approaches 1." -- Sheds' Law
    Have you seen the Twin Lamps?
  • KhajiitiLizard
    KhajiitiLizard
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    Argonians don't have highborn, all are equal under the Hist.

    Equal under the Hist, perhaps, but not necessarily among other Argonians. Though, admittedly, "highborn" might have been poor word-choice.

    The existence of the their ziggurat-like Xanthiels (sp?) definitely hint at the existence of a higher class or Argonian, whether that be a leadership role, or a religious position, or both. Yes, the Xanthiels we're able to access appear to have fallen into disuse, but there's no telling what lies deeper in Blackmarsh.

    You don't build giant pyramids for no reason.

    They are called xanmeers, and they were built by the ancient Argonian civilization. Nothing do do with class at all. Perhaps being the only class difference being those that lived in these cities and the wild-ones who lived deep in the swamps. Also different tribes would sometimes fight each other. Argonians have communal society rather than a capitalistic one.
    Edited by KhajiitiLizard on May 28, 2014 7:17PM
  • ShedsHisTail
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    Xanmeers, yes.
    where the hell did "Xanthiel" come from?

    Either way, there's a time displaced Argonian settlement with an active Xanmeer in Cold Harbor, I might spend some extra time there in the next couple of days see if I can soak up some cultural details. There's definitely some class divide in Argonian society for sure as most settlements have a pair of leaders; one of the Warrior persuasion and another more Spiritual; each with their respective factions. Though this division doesn't appear to have much to do with names.
    Edited by ShedsHisTail on May 28, 2014 7:23PM
    "As an online discussion of Tamrielic Lore grows longer, the probability of someone blaming a Dragon Break approaches 1." -- Sheds' Law
    Have you seen the Twin Lamps?
  • KhajiitiLizard
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    There is a class divide yes, but there isn't a CLASS DIVIDE, if you get what I'm saying. One might be born into a responsibility, but I don't think they see themselves as being better than the others.
  • ShedsHisTail
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    Yeah, I'd agree with that.
    I've yet to encounter any evidence of one group Argonian's really looking down upon another; at least not in the same way that many Dunmer look down on Ashlanders.

    There doesn't appear to be a peasant class, or outcast. Though, thousands of years from now (after the Oblivion crisis) there are hints that mannish or merrish cultures might be seeping into Blackmarsh... Though that's further down the road than I'm concerned with.
    "As an online discussion of Tamrielic Lore grows longer, the probability of someone blaming a Dragon Break approaches 1." -- Sheds' Law
    Have you seen the Twin Lamps?
  • Xancathb16_ESO
    Xancathb16_ESO
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    I really hope the next elder scrolls takes place in Blackmarsh.
  • ShedsHisTail
    ShedsHisTail
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    That's all you guys got for me, eh?
    Little bit of talk about class divide but no actual opinions on where the names come from or why...
    Well then, guess I can flex the old creative muscles on this.

    Thanks for the replies, though.
    "As an online discussion of Tamrielic Lore grows longer, the probability of someone blaming a Dragon Break approaches 1." -- Sheds' Law
    Have you seen the Twin Lamps?
  • KhajiitiLizard
    KhajiitiLizard
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    We just simply do not know enough about the Argonians' language: Jel. If Bethesda/Zenimax would flesh that out more, it would help greatly.
  • ShedsHisTail
    ShedsHisTail
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    We just simply do not know enough about the Argonians' language: Jel. If Bethesda/Zenimax would flesh that out more, it would help greatly.

    Yeah, I'm not really asking for lore-supported facts; rather opinions and ideas.
    "As an online discussion of Tamrielic Lore grows longer, the probability of someone blaming a Dragon Break approaches 1." -- Sheds' Law
    Have you seen the Twin Lamps?
  • Shaun98ca2
    Shaun98ca2
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    Im going to believe the nine-claws, Sees-all-colors, sits-in-shade, is a Title as much as it is a Nickname almost being renowned for something in particular. This to me would appear to be community driven as you don't select you "Name" it is given to you by the community. The name itself is an honor and a badge if you will.

    That's my take on it.

    EDIT...

    Oh crap now I remember there was an AD quest in Gratwood where you had to speak to Argonian elders and one explains his name why he is called something and IF I remember correctly he "choose" that name(think it was Nine-Claws) to remind himself about something about handling their animals. His name pointed towards him having had lost a finger when in actuality he didn't.

    Now that's gonna bug me cause it helps explain Argonian names better.
    Edited by Shaun98ca2 on May 31, 2014 12:06AM
  • ShedsHisTail
    ShedsHisTail
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    Interesting. I'll have to pay special attention to the details of that quest when I get there. Thanks for the heads up.
    "As an online discussion of Tamrielic Lore grows longer, the probability of someone blaming a Dragon Break approaches 1." -- Sheds' Law
    Have you seen the Twin Lamps?
  • dwemer_paleologist
    dwemer_paleologist
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    "he-who-checks-barrels-often" told me once about finding an old book about correct argonian birth naming rituals, but i was too drunk on flin to remember wth he was saying.

    im sory i just cant remember.
    Edited by dwemer_paleologist on May 31, 2014 3:01AM
    please increase sneak speeds.

    PC NA

  • Mishoniko
    Mishoniko
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    This information may be useful, along with names used in other TES games.

    Arena and Daggerfall had fairly extensive Argonian name generators.

  • Mataata
    Mataata
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    Mishoniko wrote: »
    This information may be useful, along with names used in other TES games.

    Arena and Daggerfall had fairly extensive Argonian name generators.
    My Argonian's name, Judicla-Syr, is taken from that page. It just doesn't sound very.. argonian-y, though.
    I love the Power Glove! It's so bad!
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  • AlexDougherty
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    In the case of Symbolic names; are they granted at birth? Or later in life when the symbolism is relevant?
    Does an Argonian's name change? ie: Are they born with a common name and granted a symbolic one down the line for some reason? Or vice versa?

    In the Aldmeri Dominion faction, you ask an Argonian why he's called something like No-Fingers, and he says that the minute he calls himself something like Fingers-Unbitten a guar will bite his hand.

    Apart from showing a modicum of paranoia, it tells me that they choose their own name, not sure when, but it appears to be their own choice reflecting a mix of character and vocation.
    People believe what they either want to be true or what they are afraid is true!
    Wizard's first rule
    Passion rules reason
    Wizard's third rule
    Mind what people Do, not what they say, for actions betray a lie.
    Wizard's fifth rule
    Willfully turning aside from the truth is treason to one's self
    Wizard's tenth rule
  • Evil_Argonian
    Evil_Argonian
    Soul Shriven
    I was always under the impression that an Argonian who interacted commonly with those who couldn't pronounce his Jel name would usually choose his own new name to make it easier for others to refer to him. Of course, that means it's also likely that those who he's creating his nickname for will also play a role in what the name is, if he creates it for anyone in particular. Jel, I think, is probably very hard to speak in without an Argonian mouth.
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  • Blud
    Blud
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    I was wondering the same thing. I found a really nice book on Khajiit naming conventions, but nothing on Argonians.
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