Researchers have long traced the roots of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark to Amlethus in the History of the Danes, written around 1200, but a new study traces the name back even further, to 8th or 9th century Ireland.
In her research, Lisa Collinson, of the Centre for Scandinavian Studies at the University of Aberdeen, traces the name Hamlet to a little known Irish tale called the Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel., where there is a player named Admlithi. The name in Gaelic means "grinding sea," a popular theme carried from the Gaelic culture to the Norse.
"Although the player Admlithi had only a tiny role in the Irish tale, his strange name had the potential to be used in many different contexts. At an early date, I think it was used by superstitious sailors to refer to a dangerous sea-feature, such as a whirlpool," Collinson said.