Dryope

Gender: Female
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “tree face; tree voice.”
Eng (DRY-uh-PEE).
Δρυόπη

In Greek mythology the name is borne by the daughter of King Dryops. She was a shepherdess who had become a close companion of wood land nymphs.

According to one legend, while Dryope was dancing in the meadows among the nymphs, she caught the attention of Apollo, who transformed himself into a tortoise in order to get close to her. The nymphs found the animal and made it into a pet. They brought it to Dryope to play with. When Dryope had placed the tortoise on her lap, it changed into a serpent, scaring the nymphs away. Apollo then raped Dryope who became pregnant with Amphissus.

Amphissus later became a local king and built a temple in honor of Apollo, and Dryope was whisked away into the woods by the nymphs, where she herself became a nymph.

In her place, a poplar tree and a spring appeared. Amphissus dedicated a shrine to the nymphs and his mother, a place where women were forbidden to enter.

According to Ovid’s account, Dryope was craddling her newborn son Amphissus, by a lake, when she noticed a lotus tree. The lotus tree was the nymph Lotis, in disguise, who was trying to hide from the advances of Priapus.

Dryope picked a flower from the tree, but when she did, the tree started to tremble and bleed. The blood of the tree made Dryope glued to the spot, and she gradually started to turn into a poplar tree. Just as the as the bark was about to entwine her neck, she called out to her husband, Andraemon, to warn him to care for her son and to never pick flowers.

Other forms of the name include (NOTE: these forms exists but have not had a long history of usage):

  • Driope (Catalan/Italian)
  • Drüopé (Hungarian: phonetic spelling)
  • Dríope (Spanish/Portuguese: DREE-oh-pay)
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Daphne

Gender: Female
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “laurel.”
(DAF-nee).

    In Greek mythology, the name is borne by a nymph who transformed herself into a laurel tree rather than be overtaken by the sexual advances of the god, Apollo.

    In Greek religion,  the laurel became sacred to the god Apollo and the leaves were used to crown the victors of the Pythian Games.

    Daphne was the subject of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which elaborated on the myth by claiming that Apollo’s lust was caused by an arrow shot by Eros. A quote from Ovid describing the transformation of Daphne, goes as follows:

    “a heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breast, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left

    The virginity of Daphne was the subject of the Hellenistic poet, Parthenius, in the Erotica Pathemata. Throughout the centuries, Daphne, the nymph, has been the subject of artists. Other variations of the name include:

    • Dafna Дафне (Croatian/Serbian)
    • Dafné (Czech/Slovak: very rare)
    • Daphne (English/German/Dutch)
    • Daphné (French)
    • Daphne/Daphni Δὰφνη (Greek)
    • Daphnis (Greek: Ancient)
    • Dafne (Italian/Polish/Portuguese/Spanish/Turkish)
    • Dafnė (Lithuanian)
    • Dafni (Turkish)

    The name is borne by Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) a famous British author and playwrite best known for such works as Rebecca and The Birds. Other notable Daphne’s include Daphne Blake of Scooby-Doo and Daphne Moon on the popular sitcom Frasier. It is also borne by actress Daphne Zuniga.

    The designated name-day in France is October 5.

    Atticus

    Gender: Male
    Origin: Greek
    Meaning: “from Athens.”
    (AT-tik-kus)

      The name has its origins in an ancient Roman cognamen, in addition to it being a popular Greek name, used in reference to someone who hailed from the Greek region of Attica, where Athens is situated.

      It was borne by Titus Pomponius Atticus, (35 BC). Saint Atticus of Constantinople (a.d. 425); Herodes Atticus, a Greek rhetorician (101-177) B.C.; Atticus the Philosopher, a companion to Plato (175 B.C.)

      In modern popular culture, it was the name of Atticus Finch, in (To Kill a Mockingbird), and the main title character of the novel by Ron Hansen, Atticus.

      The feminine form is Attica which was a common female name in Ancient Rome.

      During the last five years, the name has become increasingly more common in the United States, it currently ranks in # 689 and seems to be rising.

      Atticus is also a brand of clothing, founded in 2001, by Blink-182 band members Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus.

      Another form is the Serbo-Croatian, Atik.

      Asher

      Gender: Male
      Origin: Hebrew
      Meaning: “happy, blessed.”
      Eng (ASH-er); Heb (ah-SHAIR)

      The name is found in Genesis as the name of the son of Jacob and Zilpah. He was the founder of the tribe of Asher and had played a role in selling his brother, Joseph, into slavery. Asher had four sons and a daughter and had eventually settled in Canaan.

      The name, Asher is believed to come from the Hebrew, Osher meaning “happy,” or “blessing,” though some scholars have argued that the name is actually a male counterpart of the Assyrian, Asherah: said to mean “she who walks on the sea.” Others suggest that it could be a cognate of the Assyrian, male name, Ashur.

      Both Asherah and Ashur are related and were the names of an ancient Sumerian god and goddess, both of which I will go further into in another installment of Asherah in the near future.

      The name has always been popular among Jewish families. Ash is usually the prefered nickname. Due to the popularity of other Ash names such as Ashton, the name is increasing in popularity in the United States, currently he comes in at # 206 in the U.S. top 1000 and seems to be rising.

      Other forms include the

      • Aser (Biblical Greek/Latin/French/Spanish)
      • Asyer (Indonesian)
      • Anschell/ Anshel (Yiddish: diminutive forms)

      Thoosa

      Gender: Female
      Origin: Greek
      Meaning “swift.”
      Eng (THOO-sah); Grk (thoh-OO-sah)

      Rendered in Greek as Thoösa Θόωσα, it is borne by a sea nymph in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto and beloved by the god Poseidon. She was associated with currents and swiftness. By Poseidon she bore the cyclops, Polypemus. She was also the sister of Echidna, and Scylla and was often depicted as a mermaid-like creature.

      In recent years, it is the name of an English brand of womens’ running wear, founded in 2006 by CEO Caroline MacNally.

      The name is rendered in Spanish as Toosa, (not by any means a common name), and in Lithuanian as Teosa (also very obscure).

      Rhode/Rhoda

      Gender: Female
      Origin: Greek
      Meaning “rose.”
      (RO-dee); (ROH-dah)

      The name of a sea nymph and also possibly an ancient primordial sea goddess, according to Greek mythology, Rhode was one of the oldest of the Oceanid nymphs and was said to be the daughter of Poseidon/Oceanus and Tethys. She is sometimes claimed to be the daughter of Halia and Poseidon, Amphitrite and Poseidon or the daughter of Aphrodite.

      It is even suggested by some scholars that Rhode, Halia and Amphitrite might have been one and the same sea goddess who was later replaced by the Olympic pantheon and relegated to a sea nymph.

      Rhode’s cult was especially popular on the Isle of Rhodes where it was believed she was the wife of the sun-god, Helios and one and the same with the goddess Athena. She was the mother of the Curetes of Crete. It is also suggested that the Island of Rhodes gets its names from her.

      There is also the more modern Biblical form of Rhoda, (RO-dah).

      In the New Testament it was the name of a maid who lived in the house of Mary, mother of John Mark. In the English speaking world, Rhoda came into usage in the 17th century, she has not ranked in the U.S. Top 1000 since 1975 when she came in at # 777. The highest she ever ranked in U.S. naming history was # 159 in 1881. In the 1970s Rhoda was the name of a character in the popular sitcom of the same name.

      Halia, Leucothea

      Gender: Female
      Origin: Greek
      Meaning “briny.”
      (HAHL-yah; HAY-lee-ah); (loo-KO-thee-uh)

      The name is found in Greek mythology as the name of a sea nymph native to the Isle of Rhodes, sometimes believed to be one of the original Telchines (indigenous Rhodian gods).

      According to Olympic-Rhodian legend, Halia was the favorite of Poseidon and was believed to be the personification of sea salt. She had six sons and one daughter: Rhode.

      Her six sons’ forbade the goddess, Aphrodite, from landing on their island. In retaliation, Aphrodite drove the six boys into such madness that they raped their own mother. Halia committed suicide by throwing herself into the sea. Her sons were buried in the deep sea caves beneath the island, and it was believed by the Rhodians that Halia was reincarnated as the goddess Leucothea, who they worshipped with great honour.

      Leucothea means “white goddess.” It believed that Leucothea was a title given to various sea nymphs who were later transformed as goddesses.

      Coincidentally, hali’a, a Hawaiian word turned given name, is from the Hawaiian verb meaning “to remember one fondly.” Or if spelled halia, it is a past imperfect verb of hali meaning “to carry”, or “to bear.”

      Other forms of Leucothea include the original Greek Leukothea (Λευκοθέα), the Spanish Leucótea (very obscure) and the Lithuanian Leukotėja (also very obscure).

      Psamathe

      Gender: Feminine
      Origin: Greek
      Meaning: “sand goddess”
      Ψάμαθη
      (SAM-uh-THEE)

      The name is derived from the Greek psammos meaning sand, and the Greek theia meaning “goddess,” hence: “sand goddess.”

      The name is found in Greek mythology as the name of the goddess of sand and beaches. She was the wife of Proteius, who was the seal herder of Poseidon. Psamathe had one mortal son and a nymph for a daughter.

      She was assaulted on the beach by King Aeacus. She tried to escape his advances by transforming herself into a seal, however, Aeacus was able to overcome her, and she became pregnant with a son whom she named Phocus meaning “seal.”

      Psamathe is also the name of a moon.

      Another form of the name that appears is Psamanthe (sah-MAN-thee).

      Other forms that exists but not necessarily in usage are:

      • Psàmate (Catalan)
      • Psamathée (French: psah-mah-TAY)
      • Psamate (Italian/Spanish)
      • Psamatė (Lithuanian)

      The name would make a more unique alternative to the more popular Samantha.

      Possible nickname options are Sam and Sammie.

      Penelope

      Gender: Feminine
      Origin: Greek
      Eng (pen-NEL-uh-PEE)

      The name is of uncertain origins, many scholars believe that the name is pre-Hellenistic and is related to an ancient word, penelops (πηνελοψ), which means “duck,” others argue that the name is Greek compound name composed of the elements, pene (πηνη) meaning “threads.”  Many scholars feel that the latter is the most appropriate since it was the name of Odysseus wife who kept her suitors at bay by pretending to weave.

      The name appears in Greek mythology as the name of a wood nymph who was speculated to be the mother of the god Pan.

      The name is occasionally used in German, Italian,

      Other forms of the name include:

      • Penèlope (Catalan)
      • Penelopa (Croatian/Polish/Romanian/Serbian: Pela, Pelka and Pelcia are the Polish diminutives)
      • Pénélope (French)
      • Penelópē Πηνελόπεια/Πηνελόπη (Greek)
      • Pénelopé (Hungarian)
      • Penelopė (Lithuanian)
      • Penelopeia (Norwegian/Danish/Swedish)
      • Penélope (Spanish/Portuguese)

      The name is currenly borne by Spanish actress Penelope Cruz.

      Possible English nickname options, include, Penny, Poppy, Lola, and Nell.