Meaning: “miss; damsel; lady.”
This popular Greek name started off in Greek Mythology as both an epithet for Persephone as well as the name of a separate goddess who was considered the sister of Persephone and second daughter of Demeter. According to legend, after Persephone had been kidnapped by Hades, Demeter went out to look for her when she caught the attention of the god Poseidon. Poseidon was completely enamored with Demeter. In order to avoid him, Demeter transformed herself into a mare while Poseidon followed suit by transforming himself into a stallion. Demeter could not fight off his advances and she ended up conceiving and giving birth to twins: Despoina, and a beautiful stallion by the name of Arion. Demeter was very angry and took the name Erinyes, meaning raging. In some renditions of the myth, the name of the child is not mentioned and was only revealed to the initiates of Demeter, and Despoina was just a generic term to describe the girl child as in “the Lady”. Despoina was worshipped in the Arcadian region, her temple being in the town of Lykosoura, where she became an even more important goddess than her mother. The name is also borne by a saint and a Romanian queen. It is the name of one of the moons of Neptune. The designated name day in Greece is August 15. In Romanian, it is often rendered as Despina.