Dictionary of Medieval Names
from European Sources

Arthur m. Of uncertain origin, but likely connected to Old Breton arth, Proto-Celtic *artos, Greek ἄρκτος 'bear'.

The popularity of this name in the Middle Ages is directly attributable to the semi-legendary 5th-6th C British king whose exploits are found in both medieval historical and literary (esp. poetical) sources. The Arthurian tradition of knightly virtue and chivalry spread from England to France via Brittany, and from there to the rest of Europe.

England
Latin
1189 Artur (nom) GASurv p. 172; 1560 Arthurus (nom) StMartF p. 60; 1561 Arthurus (nom) ibid. p. 61
Early Modern English
1530 Arthure LIWill-III p. 31; 1532–1533 Arture CovGuild-2 p. 104; 1534 Arthur ibid. p. 129; 1557 Arthur StAnthonlin p. 11; 1578 Arthur COmar-vol5 p. 85; 1579 Arthur COmar-vol2 p. 101; 1581 Arthur ibid. p. 101; 1582 Arthur DEmar-vol2 p. 7; 1585 Arthur OrpingtonKe p. 7; 1588 Arthur COmar-vol2 p. 102; 1592 Arthure bruton-vol1 p. 51; 1593 Arthur StAnthonlin p. 36; 1594 Arthure BEmar-vol2 p. 96; 1595 Arthur COmar-vol2 p. 50, StAnthonlin p. 37; 1596 Arthure bruton-vol1 p. 55; 1597 Arthur StAnthonlin p. 38; 1599 Arthuer ibid. p. 40, Arthur DEmar-vol2 p. 42, StAnthonlin p. 39
France
Latin
1180 Arturo (abl) RotScaNor p. 3, Arturus (nom) ibid. p. 37
Middle French
1392 Artus MemBret-II col. 599; 1415[1469x1471] Artus Waurin p. 228; 1493 Artus MSR1838 p. 375; 1563 Artur RegPCC-1 p. 21; 1564 Artur ibid. p. 64; 1565 Artur ibid. p. 141; 1566 Artur ibid. p. 240; 1567 Artur ibid. p. 295; 1568 Artur ibid. p. 398
Germany
Latin
1261 Artusio (abl) FRA-XXXL 207
Ireland
Latin
1433 Arthuro (abl) RegOct 57; 1434 Arthuro (dat) ibid. 64; 1436 Arthuro (dat) ibid. 71
Italy
Latin
1527 Artusij (gen) Rome1527 p. 86
Scotland
Scots
c1550 Erthour CartNBer p. xxiv
Wales
Welsh
1543 Arthyr RegCon1 p. 4
Cite as: S.L. Uckelman. "Arthur". In S.L. Uckelman, ed. The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, Edition 2017, no. 1. http://dmnes.org/2017/1/name/Arthur.