The name is of uncertain derivation, though it has been suggested to be from a Greek source meaning “bondage.”
In history, the name was borne by a hetaera (concubine) of Alexander the Great. She is credited by historians for pursuading Alexander to burn down his palace.
Thaïs the concubine is credited more for her fictional roles. In Terence’s Eunuchus, the female protoganist of the same name is loosely based off of her.
In Dante’s Divine Comedy, she is depicted in Hell in the circle of the flatterers (Inferno, XVIII,133-136).
The name was also borne by an early Greek Christian saint. In 1890, Anatole France wrote a novel based on her life, a novel which was later adapted by Jules Massenet into a famous opera of the same name.
Other forms of the name include:
- Taís (Catalan)
- Thaïs (English/Greek/French)
- Thais (German/Spanish)
- Taide (Italian)
- Taida (Polish)
- Taisa/Taisiya Таисия (Russian)
- Taja (Slovene)
- Tajda (Slovene)
- Tajka (Slovene)
- Tajša (Slovene)
In France, the designated name-day is October 8.