Hercules

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek Ἡρακλῆς
Meaning: “glory of Hera.”

Hercules is the Latin form of the Greek, Herakles. Herakles is composed of the Greek elements, Hera (as in the goddess) and cleos (κλεος) meaning, “glory; fame.”

The name was of course borne in Greek mythology by the divine hero, son of Zeus and Alcmene. In a rage of jealousy and to spite Zeus, Hera cursed Hercules into madness, driving him to kill his own children. In order to atone for his sins, Hercules performed twelve seemingly impossible feats, which he successfully accomplished thereafter becoming divine.

Hercules was a popular figure in Ancient Greece and later enjoyed popularity in the Roman Empire. His festival of Heraklea occurred between July and August. Thus the name may make an interesting choice for a child born during these months.

The name remained common even after the introduction of Christianity. It is especially common in Southeastern Europe and Greece.

Irakli, the Georgian form of the name, was borne by two Georgian Kings, the most notable being Irakli II (1720-1798).

As of 2011, Irakli was the 11th most popular male name in the Republic of Georgia.

In the English-speaking world, Hercules had some usage between the 16th and 19th-centuries. Notable bearers include:

  • Hercules Huncks (circ. 1600s) one of the Regicides of King Charles I of England.
  • Hercules Ross (1745-1816) a Scots tradesmen and abolitionist.
  • Hercules Brabazon Sharpe, (1821-1906) a British artist
  • Hercules Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead, (1824-1897) the 5th governor of Hong Kong.
  • Hercules Linton (1837-1900) a famous Scottish shipbuilder and designer.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Herakliu (Albanian)
  • Gjerakl Геракл (Belarusian)
  • Herakl Херакъл (Bulgarian)
  • Hèracles (Catalan)
  • Hèrcules (Catalan)
  • Heraklo (Croatian)
  • Herkul (Croatian/Macedonian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Héraklés (Czech)
  • Hercule (French)
  • Earcail (Gaelic)
  • Irakli ირაქლი (Georgian)
  • Herakles Ηρακλης (German/Greek/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Eracle (Italian)
  • Ercole (Italian)
  • Hērakls (Latvian)
  • Heraklis (Lithuanian)
  • Eracles (Occitanian)
  • Éracle (Piedmontese)
  • Héracles (Portuguese)
  • Heracle (Romanian)
  • Gerakl Гера́кл (Russian)
  • Erculi (Sicilian)
  • Heraclio (Spanish)
  • Ercwlff (Welsh)

Thaïs

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Θαις
Meaning: “headband; band.”
Eng (tye-YEES); Fre (tah-YEEZ); Por (TAH-ees)

The name is derived from the Greek root for a band worn around the head. It was borne by a 3rd-century B.C.E. Greek hetaera who was credited as being the burner of Persopolis. She is sometimes believed to have been a lover of Alexander the Great, but there is no conclusive evidence that the two were ever together, what is known for sure is that she was the courtesan of Ptolomy Soter I, Alexander’s general. Her character later inspired other characters of the same name in both Classical Roman and post-Classical literature. She appears in Terence’s Eunuchas, her lines were later quoted by Cicero and a Thaïs is mentioned in Dante’s Inferno. In more recent history, she was the inspiration of Ivan Eframov’s novel, Thaïs of Athens (1975).

The name was also borne by a legendary Egyptian Christian saint who was believed to have originally been a prostitute. She was converted by St. Paphnutius who had disguised himself as a “customer.” Thaïs became a fervent Christian, abandoning her comfortable life as a high-end prostitute and spending three years in repentance eventually dying in peace as a hermit in the Egyptian desert. Her story is the inspiration behind the Anatole France novel Thaïs (1890) which was later adapted into an opera of the same name. Demetre Chiparus famous sculpture, Thaïs, was in turn inspired by the Opera.

Due to the cult of St. Thaïs of Egypt, the name remained in use throughout the former Byzantine Empire. She was used to a certain extent on the continent and in 18th-century England during the Romantic Period.

As of 2010, Thaïs was the 97th most popular female name in France. Her Slovene form of Tajda was the 74th most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010), while Taja came in as the 23rd most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Taisija/Taisiya (Bulgarian/Macedonian/Serbian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Taís (Catalan/Spanish)
  • Tayys تاييس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syrian)
  • Thaïs (English/French/German/Greek)
  • Thaisia (German)
  • Thaisis (German)
  • Taide (Italian)
  • Taisia (Italian)
  • Taida (Polish)
  • Tais (Polish)
  • Taisja (Polish)
  • Tesja (Polish)
  • Thaís (Portuguese)
  • Taja (Slovene)
  • Tajana (Slovene)
  • Tajda (Slovene)
  • Tajka (Slovene)
  • Tajša (Slovene)

Marina, Marine

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “sea; of the sea”
(mah-REE-nah); Fre (mah-REEN)

The name is borne by a very famous and legendary Middle Eastern Christian saint. Known as Saint Marina the Monk, or St. Marina of Bithynia, (also known as Mariam), legend has it that as a girl, her father disguised her as a boy and left her at a monastery to live with monks. She grew up among the monks, who always believed she was a boy, and she became a role model for the monastic community. She caught the eye of a local girl who, believing she was a man, tried to seduce her, when Marina refused the advances, the girl accused her of making her pregnant. The monastery banished Marina and she was forced to raise the child of the woman who had accused her of being the father. She raised the boy and the boy grew up to join the order and become a pious monk himself, but Marina continued to be ostracized by her former community. It wasn’t until she died that her true identity as a woman was revealed and the monastery realized that she could have never made the woman pregnant, and that the child was not her son. Since she continued to live in humility and raised the child as her own even when he was not, she was seen as a great suffering saint. Her feast is held on July 18th in the Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Catholic Church holds her feast on June 18th. Her cult is especially popular among marionite Lebanese Christians.

As a result, the name is fairly popular throughout the Christian Orthodox World, including Russia, Greece, Lebanon and Syria.

Other forms include:

  • Marina Марина მარინა Μαρινα (Bulgarian/Catalan/Croatian/Dutch/Georgian/German/Greek/Italian/Latin/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romanian/Russian/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Marína (Czech/Slovak)
  • Maren (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Marna (Danish)
  • Marine (French)
  • Marinella/Marinetta (Italian)
  • Maryna (Polish: diminutive form is Marynka).
  • Marinela/Marinka (Slovene)
Her French form of Marine also coincides with the French word for “navy blue” and for the female form of marin, meaning, “sailor.” She may make an interesting choice for someone looking for a more feminine and legit alternative to Sailor or even Navy.
As of 2010, Marine was the 100th most popular female name in France. Marina’s rankings in other countries are as follows:
  • # 27 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 27 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 33 (Brazil, 2010)
  • # 59 (Croatia, 2009)
  • # 71 (Maren, Norway, 2011)
  • # 266 (France, 2010)
  • # 321 (Maren, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 616 (United States, 2011)

Masculine form is Marinus.

Flavia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “blonde.”
Classical Lat (FLAU-wee-ah); Late Lat/It (FLAH-vyah); Fre (flah-VEE)

The name is a feminine form of the Roman family name, Flavius, which is derived from the Latin, flavus (blonde; yellow-haired). Its Greek cognate is Xanthe.

Flavius was a family name of a few 1st-century Roman Emperors, notably Vespasian and Domitian. It was later adopted as a first name by several Late Roman emperors including Constantine.

Its feminine form was borne by two early Roman martyrs and saints, making the name remain popular after the dawn of Christianity.

Flavia appears as the name of a major female character in the Anthony Hope novel, The Prisonor of Zenda (1894).

As of 2010, its French form of Flavie was the 224th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the feminine include:

  • Flavie (French)
  • Flávia (Hungarian)
  • Flavia (Italian/Latin/Romanian/Spanish)
  • Flavina (Italian)
  • Flawia (Polish)
  • Flávia (Portuguese)

Masculine forms include:

  • Flavi (Catalan)
  • Flávió (Hungarian)
  • Fláviusz (Hungarian)
  • Flavio (Italian/Spanish)
  • Flavius (Latin)
  • Flawiusz (Polish)
  • Flaviu (Romanian)

Timaeus

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek Τιμαιος
Meaning: “honour.”
Eng (tie-MEE-əs); Fre (teey-MEY-oh)

Timaeus is a latinized form of the Greek, Timaios (Τιμαιος), meaning, “honour.”

The name was very popular in ancient Greece, being the name of one of Plato’s dialogues, a Pythogorean philosopher who was the inspiration of the platonic dialogue and a Roman sophist.

The name briefly occurs in the New Testament, in Mark 10:46 as the name of the father of Bartimaeus.

As of 2010, its French form of Timéo was the 16th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Timej Тимей (Bulgarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Timeu (Catalan/Portuguese/Sicilian)
  • Timaj (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Timée (French)
  • Timéo (French)
  • Timaios Τιμαιος (Greek)
  • Timaiosz (Hungarian)
  • Timeo (Italian/Spanish)
  • Timeus (Late Latin)
  • Timaeus (Latin)
  • Timajos (Polish)

Maxence

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “greatest.”
Fre (mahk-SAWns)

The name is a French form of the Latin name, Maxentius, which is derived from maximus, meaning, “greatest.” This was a nickname of a 4th-century Roman emperor and a rival of Constantine’s.

Originally, in French, Maxence was both feminine and masculine being borne by a male saint of Agde and a female saint of Picardy.

St. Maxence of Agde was a contemporary of St. Hilary of Poitiers, while St. Maxence of Picardy was said to have been an early Scottish princess who fled to Gaul to avoid persecution, she was eventually caught and martyred.

As of 2010, Maxence was the 25th most popular male name in France.

Today, the name is very rarely given to females.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Maxentzio (Basque)
  • Maxenci (Catalan)
  • Maksencije (Croatian)
  • Maixent (French)
  • Maxens (French)
  • Maxent (French)
  • Maksentius (Frisian)
  • Maxencio (Galician)
  • Massenzio (Italian)
  • Maxentius (Latin)
  • Maksanty (Polish)
  • Maksencjusz (Polish)
  • Magêncio (Portuguese)
  • Maxêncio (Portuguese)
  • Majencio (Spanish)
Feminine forms include:
  • Maxence (French)
  • Massenzia (Italian)
  • Maxentia (Latin)
  • Maksencja (Polish)

Clelia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “to have renown; fame.”
(KLEEL-yah; KLAY-lee-ah)

The name is derived from the Latin verb, cluere, meaning, “to have renown; fame.”

Clelia is a modern form of the Latin Cloelia, which is a feminine form of Cloelius.

The name was borne by a semi-legendary Roman heroine. Cloelia was taken hostage by the Etruscan king, Lars Porsena, she managed to escape by crossing the Tiber on her horse. She agreed to be returned to the Etruscans as a hostage on the condition that they set free all the young Roman men they had taken hostage so that they may continue the war.

She is the only woman in Roman history ever to have had an equestrian statue erected in her honour.

Her story was the subject of an 18th-century Italian opera.

The name appears in the 1839 novel, The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal.

The name has been borne by several other remarkable women. Including:

  • Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi (1730-1830) an Italian botanist and marchesa of Genoa, Italy.
  • Clelia Rachel Barbieri (1847-1870) an Italian saint who is credited as being the youngest person ever to have found a religious order, she was the foundress of the Order of the Sisters Minims of Our Lady of Sorrows.
  • Clelia Duel Mosher (1863-1940) a women’s health advocate of the Victorian era.

As of 2010, Clélia was the 258th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Clelia (English/German/Italian)
  • Clélia (French/Spanish)
  • Clélie (French)
  • Cloelia (Latin)
  • Klelia (Polish)

Masculine forms are Cloelius and Clelio (Italian).

Clay might make an interesting nickname option.

Gabin

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “from Gabium.”
(gah-BAHn)

The name is derived from the Latin male name, Gabinus, meaning, “from Gabium” a city which existed in the Lazio region of Italy.

The name was borne by several early saints, including St. Gabino of Sardinia.

As of 2010, Gabin was the 27th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Gabí (Catalan)
  • Gabino (Italian/Spanish)
  • Gabinus (Latin)
  • Gabinu (Sardinian)
  • Gavino (Spanish)

An obscure French feminine form is Gabine.

Hortense

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “garden.”
Eng (HORE-tense); Fre (or-TAWNS)

In the English-speaking world, she is considered being one of the most hated baby names, on par with Bertha and Beulah; but at one time, Hortense was very much-loved in the United States, and she is still favored abroad.

Hortense appeared in the U.S. top 1000 between 1880 and 1941. The highest she ranked within those years was at # 375 in 1903. By 1942, she disappeared from the U.S. top 1000 never to be seen again.

Though the sound in contemporary English may not be so pleasant, Hortense has many redeemable qualities. She is derived from the Roman family name, Hortensius, which is derived from the Latin, hortus, meaning, “garden.” Hence horticulture! Her Latin derivative shares its name with the scientific designation of the hydrangea plant. Hortensia is also the name of a type of pear.

Hortense sounds completely different in French, in fact, it sounds rather pleasant. She appears in the French top 500 coming in as the 335th most popular female name in 2010.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Hortenzie (Czech)
  • Hortense (French/English)
  • Hortensia (German/Latin/Romansch/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Hortenzia (Hungarian/Romanian/Slovak)
  • Ortensia (Italian)
  • Ortenzia (Italian)
  • Ourtense (Poitvin)
  • Hortensja (Polish)

Notable bearers include:

  • Hortensia (circ. 4th-century BCE) the daughter of Quintus Hortensius Hortalus she is known for her gifted speech which she gave before the Roman Triumvirate regarding  the taxation of wealthy Roman women.
  • Hortensia von Moos (1659-1715) a Swiss female doctor known for her early philosophical writings on women. Today she is a symbol of the modern Swiss Women’s Movement.
  • Hortense Mancini (1646-1649), a mistress of King Charles II of England .
  • Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837), daughter of Josephine Bonaparte and step-daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Hortense Haudebourt-Lescot (1784-1845) a French painter.
  • Hortense Schneider (1833-1920), a famous French soprano.

Gaétan

 

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German/Polish/Italian/French
Meaning: “from Caieta.”
It (guy-TAH-no); Fre (GAH-eh-TAWn); Pol/Germ (KYE-eh-TAHN)

The name is derived from the Latin place name, Caietanus, meaning,  “from Caieta”. Caieta is now known as Gaeta.

In ancient Greece, this was a town where prisoners were taken to be executed. The town probably got its name from the wet nurse of Zeus in Greek myth.

It was borne by a 16th-century Italian saint, which spurred the popularity of the name throughout Europe. It has been in usage in German speaking countries as well as in Poland in the form of Kajetan and Cajetan, the name Kaj was later spun off from this name, now being more popular than its formal form in Sweden and Denmark.

As of 2010, its French form of Gaétan was the 122nd most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Caitanu (Asturian)
  • Kaitan (Basque)
  • Gaietà (Catalan)
  • Gaitanu (Corsican)
  • Kajetán (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Cajetaan (Dutch)
  • Gaétan (French)
  • Gaëtan (French)
  • Gaetano (Galician/Italian)
  • Kayetan (German)
  • Kajetan (German/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Gaïtános Γαϊτάνος (Greek)
  • Caietanus (Latin)
  • Kajetonas (Lithuanian)
  • Aitano (Neopolitan)
  • Gaitano (Neopolitan)
  • Caetano (Portuguese)
  • Caetan (Romanian)
  • Cajetan (Romansch)
  • Kaetan Каетан (Russian)
  • Gajetànu (Sardinian)
  • Cayetano (Spanish)

Feminine forms are:

  • Gaetana (Italian)
  • Gaétane (French)
  • Gaëtane (French)
  • Kajetana (German/Polish)
  • Kaia (German)
  • Kaja (German/Polish)
  • Caietana (Latin)

Its designated name day is August 7.