After three years in
My husband’s uncle is named Socrates*, and after taking a few minutes to get used to that, I found θειος Σωκρατης to completely live up to his name. He is a professor, and he dresses and looks the part. Ok, that I can deal with. I am relatively used to all the Aristotles as well, thanks to Aristotle Onassis. But the Achilles’, Odysseus’, Antigones, and Iphigenias really make me do a double take.
Now I understand it is not due to obnoxiousness on their parents’ part that people have these names. The naming convention is relatively simple in
While I think the continued passing on of family names is a nice one, I think I’d have to think twice before naming my daughter after a tragic wife (Alcestis), or my son after a heroic cuckold (Agamemnon). While these characters may be great and their deeds valiant, they suffered horrible ends. This is why, I suppose, you don’t ever see a Medea or a Clytemnestra. What would be the shortened version of Clytemnestra? Clyt? That just won’t do. Still, I'd love to meet anyone with either name. Just because.
I hate to say it, but I have a habit of stereotyping people who have “famous” names, it is hard to avoid. Every Dionysus is a drinking, partying, peace-loving hippie and every Cassandra an ignored prophetess due to die tragically at the hands of her captor. Some guy named Pericles won a performance reality show (somewhat like American Idol, I guess) and I thought I wouldn’t stop laughing. He was nothing like the Pericles I’d imagined. To the Greeks I suppose these names aren’t very unusual, and most of them probably give little thought to their namesake aside from family history and childhood stories, but to me, they are cause for amusement.
My husband’s parents have relatively low impact names. My father-in-law has a name I have never heard before, nor can I seem to pronounce it correctly. That might make it difficult should we ever have a son, but I’m sure I’ll wrap my tongue around it eventually. My mother-in-law has a really delightful name, it is the same as one of the Muses, but since we normally think of the Muses as “the Muses” and not by individual names, I had never heard it before. Of course, she hates her name. And by hates I mean loathes. And by loathes I mean she told us she would disown us if we named our daughter after her. Which is too bad, because if we ever do have a daughter, she is getting the name. I guess we’ll just have to be disowned.
I suppose someday I’ll get used to it. Until then, watch out Heracles. I might just have a few labors for you.
*For the record I am using American/English spellings for these names, as the Greeks who frequent here already know what I am talking about, and I don’t want to confuse anyone else