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Nephele

The Heritage of Roman Names

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Isn't 'Grace' also in the top 100? I had a quick look at www.statistics.gov.uk which has it at no. 13.

 

Yep, and I had included "Grace" and "Gracie" in my listing above of Latin-derived, modern-day names, which I limited to the top 100 names given to babies in the U.S., England, and Wales for the year 2007. I think you must have been looking at the U.K. statistics for the year 2003, Maty. Last year, the girl's name "Grace" had risen to the number 1 postion in the U.K.

 

I'm mildly appalled to see that Chelsea has made it as well. Has anyone pointed out to the proud parents that the origin of the word is 'port' - i.e. somewhere sailors dock?

 

LOL! You're right -- and there are a lot of "pretty"(?)-sounding names that appeal to parents who don't pay particular attention to the actual meanings of those names. For the past eleven years here in the U.S., the name "Madison" has consistently been in the top 10 names for baby girls. This, despite the fact that the name literally means "son of Maud." We can thank the influence of pop culture and Hollywood for that name's popularity. (The movie Splash premiered in 1984, and in 1985 the name "Madison" hit the U.S.'s top 1000 names list for the first time in history. The name has been steadily rising in popularity as a girl's name since then.)

 

But, again, you found Chelsea's rather high U.K. ranking on the 2003 list. You may be happy to know that Chelsea doesn't appear at all in either the U.K.'s or the U.S.'s top 100 names for 2007.

 

If/when I expand my Roman Heritage Names listing to include names taken from the top 1000 rankings, you still won't find "Chelsea" on my list -- because that name is derived from Old English: cealc hy

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Sad to see that Paula has dropped out as well. I read somewhere that biblical names - e.g. Noah are making a comeback. To encourage any potential mothers who are looking for an original classical name for their daughters-to-be, here are some suggestions certain to arouse interest and admiration

 

Alfidia, Ancharia, Arria, Domitilla, Drusilla, Euphemia, Fannia, Fausta, Fulvia, Gratidia, Lepida, Messalina, Orbiana, Ocellina, Pompeia, Poppaea, Porcia, Salona, Sempronia, Servilia, Vipsania

 

I'm sure Nephele can come up with more 'classics'. I remember in a book by G.Mikes, the hero persuaded a mother to call her daughter 'Valinas' claiming this was a water goddess embodying cleanliness and purity. At the time he was looking at a bottle of a certain product in the mirror ...

Edited by Maty

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Alfidia, Ancharia, Arria, Domitilla, Drusilla, Euphemia, Fannia, Fausta, Fulvia, Gratidia, Lepida, Messalina, Orbiana, Ocellina, Pompeia, Poppaea, Porcia, Salona, Sempronia, Servilia, Vipsania

 

What a great collection of classical names, Maty! We should praise the Victorians for having revived a number of classical names for their children, and I think a little Drusilla or a little Porcia in the library's preschool story hour group today would make a refreshing change from all the little Madisons and Briannas.

 

As for a few of my own favorites, I like: Aethra (the mother of Theseus in Euripides' The Suppliant Women -- okay, not a Roman name, but I'm sure the Romans appreciated Euripides), Camilla (the warrior queen in Virgil's Aeneid), Cloelia (the brave young Roman girl who defied the Etruscan king), Aurelia (meaning "golden"), and Ambrosine.

 

For boys, I like: Tully (derived from Tullius), Octavius, Urbanus, and Ambrose (from Ambrosius). But, unfortunately, any of those names might get a little boy beaten up on the playground. Girls seem to "wear" classical names so much better.

 

There's just something about a classical name that sounds so patrician, even for modern-day children.

 

-- Nephele

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One classical name that will probably be getting a bit of mileage soon is that of the daughter of Helen of Troy - Hermione.

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One classical name that will probably be getting a bit of mileage soon is that of the daughter of Helen of Troy - Hermione.

 

Yes, Harry Potter has these past few years cornered the pop culture scene. But, oddly enough, the chatter on a number of Internet baby names discussion boards seems to indicate a stronger preference for the name "Bellatrix" of late -- inspired by the name of another Potter character, "Bellatrix LeStrange".

 

I suspect that one reason why Bellatrix may someday lead Hermione (which has not yet hit the U.S. Social Security Administration's top 1,000 most popular names ranking) is because Bellatrix lends itself better to nicknaming. A child with the given name of Bellatrix can be affectionately called "Bella" or "Trixie", whereas the obvious nickname for a poor Hermione is "Hermie".

 

Plus, Bellatrix, besides being the Latin name of a star in the constellation of Orion, has a much cooler meaning for a bold, assertive girl of the 21st century: "female warrior". :hammer:

 

-- Nephele

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As much as "Bellatrix" has a nice ring to it, Bellatrix Lastrange was a sadistic DeathEater. For that reason, I'd say the name hasn't a much better chance of eclipsing "Hermione" than does "Lucius" have of eclipsing "Harry".

 

That said, if all Bellatrices were as fascinating to behold as Helena Bonham, I'd be happy to let 1000 Bellatrices bloom:

20070620_bellatrix02.jpg

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Nice pic, MPC! Yes, Bonham's Bellatrix has that gothy thing going for her.

 

I suppose, since Maty brought up the HP connection in this heritage of Roman names discussion, that it should be noted how Rowling used quite a few Latin names for her characters, such as Severus and Draco.

 

While scanning an online list of HP characters' names, I came across this treat: Nymphadora, of Greek extraction and meaning "gift of the nymphs".

 

-- Nephele

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I wish my mother had named me something vaguely Greco-Roman, instead of naming me after some Old Testament prophet. *sigh*

 

Salve, Urse -

 

However much we love the Classical world, the Hebrew prophets & heroes are powerful & Romantic figures out of literature & history. ("Romantic" in the common, non-Roman, wild & passionate sense.) It's just a name sourced from a different thread of culture - might as well have been Greek, Germanic, Slavic, or even pop-fantasy derived!

 

Vale bene.

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I'm surprised how many many modern names are derived from Latin ones. Patrick seems like the quintessential (or stereotypical) Irish name, but I never made the connection between Patrician and Patrick. Makes sense considering Patrick was a Romano-British citizen.

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