Monday, October 01, 2007

What's In A Name?


Archippe (?)
I always wondered what the heck certain names meant in Ancient Greek. After all, so many of the names are similar. Thanks to a website I found last week (http://www.behindthename.com/), I now have an idea of what some of those names mean. Here are a few of them:

Themistocles: "Glory of the Law." From the words "law" (themis) and "glory" (kleos). Awesome, especially since in my story he bends, twists, stretches and flat out breaks the law to get what he wants.


Cleisthenes: "Glorious Strength." From the words "glory" (kleos) and "sthenos" (strength)
Interesting. In my story Themistocles was inspired to be a politician after witnessing Cleisthenes turn Athens into a democracy.

Aristides: "The Best Kind." From the words "best" (aristos) and "kind" (eidos). This name fits the man, since he was also known as "The Just."

Xerxes: "King of Heroes/Ruler Over Heroes." From the Persian name Khshayarsha. An impressive name, though according to ancient (and biased) sources Xerxes is less heroic than eccentric...

Darius: "Possessor/possessing of Good." From the Persian name Dârayavahush. A very good name for a very shrewd man who managed to grab power in the wake in a coup. He managed to win battles and win over his rivals at the same time.

Leonidas: "Lion." Perfect name for a Spartan king who was brave enough to make a last stand at Thermopylae.

Archippe: "Master of Horses (?") Possibly a feminine form of Archippos. From the words "master" (archos) and horse (hippos). Archippe is the daughter of an illustrious Athenian so the name is perfect for advertising her blue blood.
Gorgo: "Gorgon." An unusual name for a girl, but perhaps not for a Spartan. Queen Gorgo may have had a male relative with the same or similar name.

Demaratus: "Hoped for by the people." It was this hope that was both the salvation and bane of the Eurypontid throne...

Sadly I still can't find the meaning of the following names:

Pausanias
Cleombrotus
Cleomenes
Artabanus
Artapharnes
Cimon/Kimon
Dieneces
Leotychidas
Mardonius

If anyone knows what --menes means, or Cleo--let me know. Oh. And Meghan means "great." Great...

4 comments:

Carla said...

Doesn't "Cleo" mean "glory"?

Megumi said...

I'm just not sure. I know cleos/kleos does (maybe kleo is singular? no idea)

Wynn Bexton said...

I should know and I can try and find out as I have Greek dictionaries here. This was an interesting post and I shall look up that site myself!

Wynn Bexton said...

There are a still a lot of Greeks who use those ancient names. I knew a shepherd in the village named Themistocles and a gypsy friend from Sparta named Telemachos.
"Glory" in Greek is "doxa" (according to my dictionary)