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Posts Tagged ‘Silvanus’

Scollas

On to letter “s” of English surnames beginning with “s” of Old English, Old Norse and Anglo-French origin, which have never, or have only rarely, featured in the US top 1000.

It’s another letter with a lot of fabulous names, offering that something a bit different. Looking for a more unusual long-form of Sam, or a new twist on Scott? Read On!

  • Saben — from the personal names Sabin and Sabina “a Sabine”; Sabin has never featured in the top 1000 in the last 130 years either, and Sabina only ever managed 596th place in 1889.
  • Sablin — from Sabelina, a diminutive of Sibylla.
  • Sacher — we have Sacha, why not Sacher? From the Old French sachier “sack-maker.”
  • Sacheverell — a name which saw modest use in Victorian Britain (a famous bearer was Sir Sacheverell Sitwell). From Saultchevreuil in Normandy. Old French: sault “waterfall” + chevreuil “roe deer.”
  • Sacker, Saker — not a sacker of cities but a sack-maker, from Old English sacc “sack.”
  • Sackville — an aristocratic English family (they became Dukes of Dorset), whose name derives from Sauqueville in Normandy. Old French: sambuc “elder” (the tree) + ville “villa,” “farmstead,” “village,” “town.”
  • Saddler — Middle English sadelere “saddle-maker.”
  • Saffery, Saffrey — from the Old English personal name Saefrid “sea-peace.”
  • Sager, Seager — from the Old English personal name Saegar “sea-spear.”
  • Sailant — Old French saillant “dancing”; used of a dancer.
  • Saive, Sayve — from the Old English female personal name Saegifu “sea-gift.” Medieval variants included Seiva and Sageve.
  • St John, Sinjin — like Sacheverell, St John has seen more use in the UK than in the US, being the surname of an aristocratic clan; Sinjin is a phonetic variant. The best-known bearer is St John Rivers in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
  • Salby — from Saleby, Lincolnshire. Old Norse Sali (a short form of Salomon, the Old Norse form of Solomon) + “farmstead,” “village” and “settlement.”
  • Salinger, Selinger — from one of the places called St Léger in France. Léger is a French form of Leodegar. Borne, of course, by the great J.D. Salinger.
  • Salliss — we have Katniss, why not Salliss? Meaning “(at the) willows,” from Old English sealh “willow.”
  • Salter — Old English sealtere “salt-maker,” or “salt-seller.”
  • Salton — from Salton, Yorkshire. Old English sealh “willow” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Salway — from the Old English personal name Saelwig “prosperity-war.”
  • Sambell — a variant of Semple, from one of the places in France called St Paul or St Pol.
  • Samber — a variant of Semper, from one of the places in France called St Pierre (Peter).
  • Sambrook — from Sambrook, Shropshire. Old English sand “sand” + brōc “brook.”
  • Sanby — from Saundby, Nottinghamshire. Old Norse  sandr “sand” or personal name Sandi (a short form of names containing the element sandr) + “farmstead,” “village” and “settlement.”
  • Sandall — from one of the places of the name (Old English sand “sand” + halh “nook of land”) or the Old Norse personal name Sandulfr “sand-wolf”).
  • Sander — a medieval pet-form of Alexander.
  • Sandifer — no, not a cross between Sandy and Jennifer. From a lost village in Yorkshire called Sandiford — Old English sandig “sandy” + ford “ford,” “river-crossing.”
  • Sandon — from one of the places of the name. Old English sand “sand” + dūn “hill.”
  • Sandys — Old English sand “sand,” used of someone who lived next to the sands.
  • Sangar, Sanger — Old English sangere “singer.”
  • Sangster — Old English sangestre “(female) singer.”
  • Sangwin — Old French sanguin “sanguine.”
  • Sankin — from a medieval pet-form of Samson.
  • Santon — from one of the places of the name. Old English sand “sand” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Sarell — from the Old Norse personal name Sǫrli, a short form of names begining with saro “armor,” “protection.”
  • Sarson — partly “son of SAYER,” and partly Old French Sarrazin “Saracen.”
  • SauvainSauven, Savin — partly from Silvanus, and partly from Old French salvagin “wild.”
  • Savigny — from Savenay, or Savigni-le-Vieux, France. Both may derive from the Roman name Sabinus (see Saben above).
  • Savoner — from Old French savon “soap”; used of a soap-maker.
  • Sawden, Sawdon — from Sawdon, Yorkshire. Old English sealh “willow” + denu “valley.”
  • Sawle — from a medieval form of biblical Saul.
  • Saxby — Partly from one of the places of the name (Old Norse Old Norse personal name Saksi “Saxon” + “farmstead,” “village” and “settlement”) and partly French sacqué “drawn” + epée “sword,” used of a man who taught swordsmanship.
  • Saxon — not “a Saxon” as you might think, but from one of the places called Saxton. Old English Seaxe “Saxon” or Old Norse personal name Saksi “Saxon” + Old English tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village,” and Old French secrestein “sexton.”
  • Sayer — from the Old German personal name Sigiheri “victory-army,” which was popular in medieval times in forms such as Sayer and Saer.
  • Saylor — actually nothing to do with “sailor.” Old French sailleor “dancer.”
  • Scafe — from the Old Norse skeifr “crooked,” “awry,” “wild.”
  • Scarborough — from Scarborough, Yorkshire. Old Norse by-name Skarthi “hare-lip” + Old English burh “fortress.”
  • Scarcliff — Lion King meets Wuthering Heights, anyone? From Scarcliffe, Derbyshire. Old English sceard “gap” (the source of my surname, for the record) + clif “cliff,” “slope.”
  • Scholler, Scouler — it looks like it might be the English form of Schuyler — but it’s not. Old Norse skáli “(temporary) hut/shelter” + erg “shieling,” “pasture.”
  • Schorah, Scorah — from Old French escorre “to run out,” “to scout,” “to spy.”
  • Schrieve — Old English scīrgerēfa “sheriff.” Also Shreeve and Shrieve.
  • Scollan — from Scotland — not so much the place as the Norman personal name, though it essentially had exactly the same origin: Norman-French Scot “a Scot” + land “land.” A medieval variant was Scolland.
  • Scollas — from the medieval girl’s name Scolace, a vernacular form of Scholastica, from the Latin scholasticus “teacher,” “scholar,” “person of learning.” St Scholastica was the sister of St Benedict.
  • Scorton — from one of the places of the name. Old Norse skor “ditch,” “ravine” + Old English tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Scotney — from Etocquigny, Normandy, a place-name probably with Celtic roots.
  • Scotto — from Scottow, Norfolk. Old English Scot “a Scot” + hōh “hill-spur.”
  • Scotton — from one of the places of the name. Old English Scot “a Scot” + tūn “enclosure,” “farmstead,” “estate,” “manor,” “village.”
  • Scriven — Old French escrivain “writer.”
  • Scrivener — essentially a variant of SCRIVEN.
  • Scudder — Middle English scoudere “clothes-seller” from Old English scrūd “clothes.”
  • Scutt — Middle English scut “tail of a hare,” “hare.”

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Matilda in Australia and her husband have a little boy with the beautiful name of Peregrine.

Their great passion is travel; they love the outdoors and also enjoy reading. Matilda found out she was expecting Peregrine when travelling, and when her husband encountered the name, they thought it was perfect for their child, as they like unusual, but long-established names with a history.

Peregrine, with its meaning  “traveler,” fitted the bill perfectly.

They are now expecting twins and would like help in finding a name which has a similar sort of background to Peregrine, or sounds harmonious with it.

I’m very flattered to be asked my opinion, and these are my thoughts.

There’s certainly a lot of names of Latin origin, like Peregrine, which would complement Peregrine beautifully, and if the search is widened to include Latin’s close partner Greek, then there are even more beauties to tempt the discerning parent to be:

Boys:

  • Aeneas (ǝ-NAY-ǝs/ǝ-NEE-ǝs) — Greek: ainê “praise.” The son of the Goddess Venus by a mortal, Aeneas according to Greek and Roman myth was one of the few Trojans to survive the Trojan war. The Romans believed he and his followers sailed from the smoking ruins to found a new home in Latium and was the direct ancestor of Julius Caesar and the Emperor Augustus. Virgil’s masterpiece The Aeneid chronicled that epic journey. In use since the 16th C, mostly in Scotland as an “English form” of Angus.
  • Felix — Latin: felix “auspicious” and “happy.” It was very common in the Roman world, and has also been used in the ESW since the 16th C. Seems to be rising in popularity at the moment, but at 122nd in the UK, and 331st in the US, I think it still falls in the not-common quality.
  • Hector — Greek: hektôr “holding fast.” The name of the champion of the Trojans. Although he was eventually killed by the Greek hero Achilles, he was held in high repute in the ancient world, considered an honorable, loyal, brave and noble man. Used since the 16th C, especially in Scotland, where it was used instead of the Gaelic Eachann (“brown horse”).
  • Octavian — English form of the Latin Octavianus meaning “belonging to the Octavius family (gens) “; the Octavii derived their name from octavus “eighth” from octo “eight” — a very auspicious number, associated with infinity. The two circles represent the joining of Heaven and Earth (or this world and the Otherworld, depending on your perspective). This was the Emperor Augustus’s name from the time of Julius Caesar’s death (and Octavian’s adoption as his heir in Caesar’s will) and the time he took the name Augustus on becoming emperor. Used from the 16th C, but always rare.
  • Philemon (FIL-ǝ-mǝn) — Greek: philêma “kiss.” Philemon and his wife Baucis entertained Zeus and Hermes as they traveled in mortal guise. As a reward they were blessed with long life and the gift that neither would outlive the other; at the moment of their death they were transformed into an oak and linden respectively. Philemon was used as a genuine given name in Ancient Greece, and has been found in the ESW since the 16th C. Although it begins with a “p,” like Peregrine, the initial sound is different, so I don’t think it’s a problen.
  • Ptolemy (TOL-ǝ-mee) — English form of the (Macedonian) Ancient Greek Ptolemaios. Ptolemy’s 2nd C Geographica is one of the most important sources of information on the geography of the Roman Empire to survive from the ancient world. It was only one of his works — he was a true polymath. Ptolemy was a very common name in the Greek world; it occurs in mythology and in history; another significant Ptolemy was the Macedonian general Ptolemaios Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt (to which Cleopatra belonged), and most of Egypt’s last pharaohs were also called Ptolemy. The only drawback of Ptolemy, in my view, is its origin; it derives from the Greek ptolemos, a variant of polemos “war,” and ptolemaios carries the meaning “belonging to war,” “hostile” and “enemy.” But this doesn’t have to be interpreted negatively — there are many things which are worthy to be hostile or an enemy of, including war itself, but also injustice, prejudice, intolerance, hatred, greed, etc., etc. And although it also formally begins with a “p,” that “p” is silent.
  • Rufus — Latin rufus “red.” Not just for red-heads :). The name can also be chosen for its positive associations with red. Like Felix, is definitely on the up at the moment, but still has a long way to go before it is in danger of falling out of the unusual category. Occurs as a nickname as early as the 11th C (a famous example being King William II — known as William Rufus), and as a genuine name from about the 16th.
  • Silvanus — Silas is very much coming into vogue at the moment, but I prefer Silvanus, the name from which it almost certainly derived. Silvanus is the Roman God of woods and wild places. Also used from the 16th C or so.
  • Theophilus — meaning “friend of (a) God/Divine Being,” Theophilus makes an interesting alternative to Theodore and, of course, shares the lovely short-form Theo. Used since the 16th C.

Girls:

  • Althea — the Greek name for the marsh mallow, from althos “healing.” A name from Greek mythology, used by 17th C poets (most famously by Richard Lovelace in “To Althea, from Prison” (1642), containing the famous lines: “Stone walls do not a prison make/Nor iron bars a cage.” A more unusual “long-form” of Thea.
  • Amabel — from the Latin amabilis “loveable.” Amabel has been used since medieval times, though it was quickly eclipsed by its simpler form Mabel. Amabel never quite died out and saw a slight revival in the 19th C, but remains a rarity.
  • Beatrix — Latin: beatrix “she who causes happiness.” Much talked about in name circles, Beatrix is still rare (Beatrice is the more popular spelling, but still uncommon, ranked 834th in the US and 116th in the UK last year).
  • Felicity — Latin: felicitas “happiness.” Felicitas is the Roman Goddess of happiness and good fortune. It’s a name full of cheerfulness and positivity. In use since the 16th C, it has only made it over the parapet in America in the last decade (due to a TV series of the name, which ran 1998-2002), though it has enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in Britain (and Australia too, I think) in the mid 20th C, but is currently still only in quiet usage, ranked 195th in Britain last year.
  • Flora — from the Latin flos “flower”; the name of the Roman Goddess of flowers. Another name used since the 16th C, particularly in Scotland, this time in place of the Gaelic Fionnuala. One of the best-known bearers was Flora Macdonald (1722-90), who famously helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after his defeat in 1745, helping him “sail over the sea to Skye.” The related Florence is one of those names everyone seems to be watching at the moment, but Flora, although increasing, is still under the radar.
  • Hermione — I’ve featured Hermione a couple of times here at the Nook (here and here) and that’s because I think it’s such a beautiful and special name. Despite being catapulted to fame by Harry Potter, it’s not seeing very much use (yet). As essentially the feminine form of Hermes, one of whose spheres of influence was as the proctector of travelers, Hermione would make a nice choice for those for whom travel is important. It has been used as a genuine given name since the 17th C.
  • Ianthe (eye-AN-thee) — Greek: ia “violets” + anthos “flower.” The name of an Oceanid in Greek mythology. A favorite of the poets since the 17th C; Percy Bysshe Shelley called his daughter, born in 1813, Ianthe. Related are the equally attractive Ione (eye-OH-nee) and Iole (eye-OH-lee), both meaning “violet” and the 19th C hybrid of Iole and Ianthe — Iolanthe (eye-oh-LAN-thee).
  • Miranda — from the Latin mirandus “worthy of admiration.” I rather like Miri/Mirie as a pet-form.Used by Shakespeare for the heroine of The Tempest, the lovely noblewoman exiled since childhood with her slightly mad, wizard father on a magical island, which Caliban describes with exquisite beauty in one of my favorite Shakespearean passages:

… the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.

  • Oenone (EE-nō-nee/ee-NŌ-nee) — from the Greek oinos “wine.” The name of a mountain-nymph, the first wife of Paris of Troy.
  • Zenobia — although interpreted as “life of Zeus” in Greek, the name is probably from the Palmyrean form of Arabic Zaynab, the name of a fragrant flowering plant, as the original Zenobia was a 3rd C Queen of Palmyra who defied the Romans. Although she was ultimately defeated, she was said to have lived out her days in Rome as a respected philosopher and socialite. Used since the 16th C, but always a rarity. The American actress Tina Fey called her daughter Alice Zenobia in 2005, but it doesn’t seem to have impacted very much on the name’s use.

Non-classical names which I think also work well with Peregrine are:

Boys:

  • Diggory — A name of a knight in Arthurian Romance. The meaning is very uncertain; the traditional interpretation has it from Medieval French de “of” + egaré “lost,” but this is unlikely. Diggory is probably a much mangled French form of a name which was probably Celtic in origin. There is a legendary king of Dumnonia (Devon and Cornwall) called Dungarth (meaning “deep love”), who might conceivably lie behind the character. Diggory has been used since the 15th C, especially in Devon and Cornwall, and was used by C.S. Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew, for the hero, whose fantastical journey led to the creation of Narnia and the Wardrobe.
  • Faramond — Old German: fara ‘journey’ + munda ‘protection’.
  • Guy — Old German: witu “wood” or wit “wide” (encompassing the sense of “widely travelled” as well as referring to experience, knowledge, etc).
  • Jago (JAY-go) — the Cornish form of Jacob.
  • Jasper — Jasper is the English form of Caspar, one of the names attached to the fabled three “wise men” in medieval times. Its etymology is not known for certain, but most favor a derivation from the Persian khazāndār “treasurer.” Jasper has been used since the 14th C, and Caspar (the Dutch form) since the 19th. The vampire of the name in the Twilight series has put it in the spotlight, and it is increasing in use, but hasn’t yet reached the top 150 yet.
  • Ludovick — from the Latin form of LouisLudovicus — in orgin an Old German name meaning “loud battle” or “renowned warrior.” As with Ptolemy, the martial element may not immediately appeal, but there are many battles of a non-violent kind to be fought metaphorically in life. Shortens to the fabulous Ludo.
  • Matthias (mǝth-EYE-ǝs) — the Greek form of Matthew “gift of Yahweh.” Depending on your religious persuasion, you may or may not be able to see past the meaning, but it certainly sounds magnificent. A related name which presents the same dilemma is Ozias (ō-ZEYE-ǝs) “strength of Yahweh.”
  • Orlando — an Italian form of Roland dating from the Renaissance, when it featured in two of the most important works of literature of the period, Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato, and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. It also had an outing in Shakespeare, and has been used in the English-speaking world since the 17th C. It was actually at its most popular in America in the 1970s (reaching the dizzing heights of 247th place in 1975), and although Orlando Bloom has raised its profile, he doesn’t seem to have affected its use all that much. It remains uncommon.
  • Rafferty — The wild-card. Rafferty is an Irish surname, but can be considered the Anglicised form of the Gaelic names behind that surname, both bynames, one meaning “wielder of prosperity” — highly auspicious — the other “spring-tide” — full of the promise of new journeys to be taken. Its use as a given name without connection to a Rafferty is quite recent, but its roots are old.
  • Torquil

Girls:

  • Christabel — a literary creation of medieval times, a combination of Christ with the –bel ending of names such as Isabel. It returned to modest use in the 19th C thanks to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Christabel” (1816); his own granddaughter was named Christabel in 1843. The suffragette Christabel Pankhurst (1880-1958) is the most famous bearer.
  • Clemency — one of the Puritan names which was first used in the 17th C. With its attractive meaning, it remains a lovely choice.
  • Emmeline — a Norman-French name, starting out as a diminutive of the Germanic Amalia, from amal “work.” Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) was the leader of the Suffragettes.
  • Estrella — a Spanish name used in the English-speaking world since the early 19th C. Its roots lie with the Germanic Austrechildis “Easter battle,” but it has long been associated with the Spanish estrella  “star.” Alfonso and Estrella (1822) is an opera by Schubert.
  • Imogen — the heroine of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, one of the few tragedies with a happy ending. Imogen is a princess who undertakes a physical and emotional journey to be reunited with the man she loves. It is generally accepted that the name arose as a misreading of the Celtic Innogen, meaning “daughter.”
  • Jessamy
  • Rosamund
  • Sabrina — don’t let the teenage witch put you off this gem!
  • Topaz — the wildcard in the girls. The name of the precious stone. It derives ultimately from the Sanskrit tapas “heat” and “fire.” It is one of the gem names adopted at the end of the 19th C. Borne by the wonderful character of Topaz Mortmain in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle (1949).

So what does everyone think? What would you choose?

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For the last month, I have been in France — for much of that time, in Provence.

It is a region with a much deserved reputation for spectacular scenery and picturesque villages. In the region where we stayed, these clung as though by magic to impossibly steep hillsides gazing idly down dramatic gorges, draped in pines, evergreen oaks, olives and vines.

It is also an exceedingly historic region, always set a bit apart from the rest of France. Once, the people didn’t even spoke French, but Provençal, a dialect of Occitan — a language closer to Catalan than to French — although Provençal is sometimes used to refer to Occitan in general, and the langue d’Oc of medieval troubadours.

Unsurprisingly, it has a whole collection of names and variants of names unique to the region.

And it was in Provence that names like Isabella and Eleanor first arose.

During our stay, I kept my ears open, but was disappointed that, by and large, the names I encountered — particularly among the children — were little different to the rest of France. The fashion in France at present is for names of foreign origin, and the favored region for more unusual native monikers is Brittany.

But we did encounter some, especially among my own generation.

I love the fact so many Provençal girls names end in -o; it makes a refreshing change, and is very contemporary.

Here is a selection of my personal favorites. Some, like Zouè, are relatively recent — others, like Azalaïs, are medieval.

GIRLS:

  • AgatoAgatha
  • Aïs — diminutive of ANAÏS and/or ALAÏS
  • AlaïsAlice (features in Kate Mosse’s 2005 novel Labyrinth); ultimately from Adelaide
  • AlienorEleanor
  • Anaïs — in Provence, used as a form of Anne or Agnes — not actually found prior to the nineteenth century
  • Anetoun — a double diminutive form of Ano (Anne)
  • AzalaïsAdelaide (Alice)
  • Babeleto — diminutive of Eisabèu/Isabèu (Elizabeth/Isabella)
  • BergidoBirgitte
  • Bielo — diminutive of Gabrielo (Gabrielle)
  • BregidoBridget
  • CelinoCeline
  • Chantaloun — diminutive of French Chantal
  • Clareto, Claroun — diminutives of Claro
  • ClaroClare/Claire
  • CloutildouClotilda
  • Delaïdo — diminutive of Adelaïdo (Adelaide)
  • Eliso — diminutive of French Élisabeth (Elizabeth)
  • EstefanoStephanie
  • Fanfan — probably a diminutive of ESTEFANO. Made fairly well-known (at least in France) by the 1952 film Fanfan la tulipe (remade in 2003) — in which Fanfan is a man — and Alexandre Jardin’s 1985 novel Fanfan, filmed in 1993.
  • Fino — diminutive of Delfino (Delphine) and/or JÒUSEFINO
  • FlourFlora/Fleur
  • GlaudioClaudia
  • IoulandoYolande
  • Janetoun — double diminutive of Jano (Jane/Jeanne)
  • JòusefinoJosephine (the name of our villa’s housekeeper!)
  • Jóuselet — variant/diminutive of JÒUSEFINO
  • Laïdo — diminutive of DELAÏDO
  • Lali, Lalìo — diminutives of Eulalìo (Eulalia/Eulalie)
  • Laloun — diminutive of LALI
  • Lìo — diminutive of names ending in -lìo, such as Eulalìo (Eulalia/Eulalie), Natalìo (Natalie), Rosalìo (Rosalie)
  • Lisoun — diminutive of ELISO
  • Lodi, Loudi — diminutive of Eloudìo (Elodie)
  • Madaloun — diminutive of Madaleno (Madeline)
  • Magali, Magari — probably Magaret, but possibly a variant of Madaleno (Madeline — from the original Magdalene)
  • Maïoun — diminutive of Marìo (Mary/Marie)
  • Marioun — diminutive of Marìo (Mary/Marie)
  • MelioEmilia
  • Mirèio — coined by the poet Frederic Mistral for his poem Mirèio (1859). From the Occitan mirar “to admire.”
  • Naïs — diminutive of ANAÏS
  • Ninoun — pet-form of Catarino (Katherine)
  • Rieto — pet-form of Enrieto (Henrietta)
  • RosoRose
  • SoufioSophia/Sophie
  • SoulanjoSolange
  • Talìo — diminutive of Natalìo (Natalie)
  • Teldou, Tildeto — diminutives of names containing –tild– or –teld-, like CLOUTILDOU
  • VitòriVictoria
  • ValorìValeria/Valerie
  • Zeto, Zetou — diminutives of JÒUSEFINO
  • Zouè Zoe

BOYS:

  • Amiel – said to be the Provençal form of French Emile
  • AudouardEdward
  • BartoumiéuBartholomew
  • BerenguiéBerenger
  • Calendau — from the Latin kalends, used of the first day of a month and, in Provence, for Christmas Day.  The hero of Mistral’s poem Calendau (1867)
  • CharleCharles
  • Charloun — diminutive of CHARLE
  • Ciprianet — diminutive of Ciprian (Cyprian)
  • DàviDavid
  • Deri — diminutive of Frederi/Federi (Frederick)
  • Dovi — dimunituve of Ludovi (Ludovick/Louis)
  • Estève, EstièneStephen
  • GabrieùGabriel
  • Glaude, GlàudiClaude, Claudius
  • JaufretGeoffrey
  • Jaume James
  • JòrgiGeorge
  • LuLuke
  • Luquet — pet-form of LU
  • Maïus — curious name of uncertain origin. In use in Provence since at least the late nineteenth century. Possibly conceived as a masculine form of MAÏOUN.
  • MasMax
  • MiquèuMichael
  • OuliviéOliver
  • PascauPascal
  • PèirePeter/Pierre
  • Pierroun — diminutive of French Pierre
  • RafèuRaphael
  • RoubinRobin (yes, the English Robin — one of the foreign names embraced by the French in the twentieth century)
  • Savié — probably Xavier, but possibly Savior (best known as a name in the Spanish form Salvador)
  • SilvanSilvanus
  • SimounSimon
  • TeoudorTheodore
  • Titoù – Either Titus or a diminutive of Batit (Baptist)
  • Titoun — diminutive of TITOÙ
  • ToumasThomas
  • Ugue, UguesHugh
  • VincènVincent
  • VitourVictor
  • Zavié — variant of SAVIÉ
  • — diminutive of Joùseù (Joseph)

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This 6th Century BCE dinos (wine-mixing bowl) by Sophilos shows a procession of Greek Gods attending the wedding of Peleus and Thetis

There seems to be a bit of a controversy in Pagan circles about the use of the names of Gods and Goddesses, either for children, or as a new name for oneself.

There are those who argue that it is inappropriate. Even hubristic.

But as with most aspects of Paganism, much of the answer to this question comes down to your own personal beliefs, and how you view the Divine.

And this, of course, will play a big part in whether you think it is acceptable or not to use a God or Goddess’s name.

If you are a polytheist — if you consider the Gods to be distinct, individual entities, completely separate from mortal life — perhaps you might agree that using their names is inappropriate.

In which case, you should, of course, avoid, or choose names which contain a deity’s name, or carry the meaning ‘belonging to such-and-such’, rather than the deity’s name itself.

But if you are a pantheist — if you believe that the Divine is in all things, making us all essentially ‘divine beings’ — then choosing the name of a God or Goddess might be seen as not just acceptable, but suitable and respectful.

Using the actual names of Gods and Goddesses is not a new phenomenon.

Several names from ancient Paganism have long become established as given names in the English-speaking world. These include  Aurora, Branwen, Bridget, Diana, Felicity, Flora, Freya, Irene, Iris, Lilith, Luna, Maia, Phoebe, Rhiannon, Sophia and Victoria.

The names of male divinities used for boys is less common, but there are still some, which have seen varying amounts of use, such as Adonis, Augustus, Dylan, Hercules, Julius, Odin — and Jesus. This last may be principally found in the Spanish community, pronounced ‘he-SOOS’  and used in reference to a Catholic festival, but nevertheless, it’s still the name of a figure considered divine by many, and currently ranking 92nd in the US.

In some religions, such as Hinduism, it has long been considered not just acceptable to use the name of a God or Goddess, but desirable, because it is believed that the child will grow to be like the deity, as well as be protected by them.

And incorporating the name of a divinity within a given name is a tradition as old as writing — take a look at my articles on Sumerian names Part 1 and Part 2 to see some of the earliest.

There’s also the power of the positive. Call it ‘good’, ‘light’, ‘love’, ‘karma’ whatever. It seems common sense to choose names with as much positivity as you can.

And, let’s face it, you can’t get much more positive than the names of the Divine itself!

There are literally tens of thousands of named Gods and Goddesses across the world, and my only caveat when choosing a God or Goddess’ name would be to select one that you not only like the sound of, but also feel an affinity with.

Here is just a small selection from some of the world’s principal mythologies:

Greek: Aphaia, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athene, Atlas, Bia, Chaos, Coeus, Cratus, Cronos, Demeter, Dionysus, Eos, Epimetheus, Erebus, Gaia, Geras, Hades, Harmonia, Hebe, Hecate, Helius, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Hyperion, Iapetus, Iris, Leto, Mnemosyne, Morpheus, Nice, Nyx, Oceanus, Pan, Persephone, Phoebe, Phoebus, Poseidon, Prometheus, Proteus, Rhea, Selene, Tethys, Themis, Tyche, Zephyrus, Zeus

Roman: Abundantia, Aesculapius, Anna Perenna, Apollo, Aurora, Bacchus, Bellona, Bona Dea, Caelus, Carmenta, Ceres, Cloacina, Consus, Cupid, Deverra, Diana, Egeria, Fauna, Felicitas, Flora, Fortuna, Fulgora, Hilaritas, Hora, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Justitia, Larentina, Liber, Libera, Libertas, Lucina, Luna, Lupercus, Mars, Mater Matuta, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Ops, Pax, Pietas, Pluto, Pomona, Priapus, Proserpina, Quirinus, Robigus, Saturn, Silvanus, Sol, Tellus, Terminus, Trivia, Vacuna, Venus, Vertumnus, Vesta, Virbius, Volumna, Voluptas, Vulcan

Egyptian: Aken, Aker, Ammit, Amun, Amunet, Anhur, Anubis, Anuket, Apis, Ash, Aten, Bast, Geb, Ha, Hapi, Hathor, Hedetet, Heka, Heqet, Horus, Huh, Iabet, Iah, Imentet, Isis, Kebechet, Khepri, Khnum, Khonsu, Ma’at, Mafdet, Mehen, Menhit, Meret, Min, Mnevis, Monthu, Neith, Nekhbet, Neper, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Pakhet, Ptah, Qebui, Rem, Renenutet, Satet, Seker, Sekhmet, Serket, Seth, Tatenen, Taweret, Tefnut, Tenenet, Thoth, Wadjet, Wosret

Hindu: Aditi, Agni, Arjuna, Aruna, Asura, Bhadra, Bharani, Bhavani, Bhudevi, Brahma, Chamundi, Chandra, Daksha, Danu, Dhumavati, Durga, Ganesha, Garuda, Gayatri, Hanuman, Hari, Indra, Kali, Krishna, Lakshman, Lakshmi, Lalitha, Mahavidya, Matangi, Mitra, Mohini, Nandi, Narada, Narayana, Nataraja, Navadurga, Padmavati, Parasiva, Parvati, Prajapati, Rama, Rati, Rudra, Rukmini, Saraswati, Sati, Shakti, Shatarupa, Shiva, Shree, Sita, Soma, Surya, Tara, Uma, Ushas, Varuna, Vasu, Vayu, Vishnu

Celtic: Abellio, Adsullata, Agrona, Alaunus, Alisanos, Andarta, Andraste, Arausio, Arduinna, Artio, Belatucadros, Belenus, Belisama, Bormana, Bormo, Brigantia, Camulos, Cernunnos, Cissionius, Cocidius, Coventina, Damara, Damona, Epona, Esus, Fagus, Grannus, Icovellauna, Lenus, Leucetios, Lugus, Maponus, Moritasgus, Nantosuelta, Nemausus, Nemetona, Nodens, Ogmios, Robor, Rosmerta, Sabrina, Sirona, Smertrios, Sucellos, Sulis, Tamesis, Taranis, Toutatis, Verbeia, Veteris, Vindonnus.

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