Phaedra

  • Origin: Greek Φαίδρα
  • Meaning: “bright.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Pronunciation: Eng (FAY-drah, FYE-drah, FEED-rah)

The name comes directly from the Greek word φαιδρός meaning, “bright.”

It is borne in Greek mythology by the sister of Ariadne and the wife of Theseus. There are several versions of her tragic tale, one is that Aphrodite drove Phaedra to fall madly in love with the latter’s step-son, Hippolytus who rejects Phaedra, and in retaliation, Phaedra claims that Hippolytus attempted to rape her. Theseus who was granted 3 wishes by Poseidon wishes his own’s son death by having Poseidon summon 3 bulls from the sea who subsequently dragged Hippolytus to death. In another version of the tale, Phaedra falls in love with Hippolytus of her own free-will but he rejects her, and the story follows the same sequence of events as above.

The story was retold by Ovid and Senece the Younger and later became the popular subject of plays throughout Europe.

In England and France, the name became more widespread after its use in Jean Racine’s 1677 play, Phèdre and later Algernon Charles Swinborn’s1866 play, Phaedra. Friedrich Schiller also wrote a play and recently it was the subject of the opera written by German playwrite, Hans Werner Henze.

It is also another name for the plant, Bernardia, as well as the name of a genus of butterfly and an asteroid.

In France, Phèdre is a unisex name as it is a translation of both Phaedra & Phaedrus.

Phaedra appeared in the Top 100 Most Popular Female Names in Belgium, ranking in at #87 in 1997.

A masculine form is Phaedrus and Phaidros.

Forms and use include:

  • Fedra Федра (Catalan, Corsican, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, Ukrainian)
  • Faidra (Czech, Finnish, Hungarian, Slovakian, Swedish)
  • Fædra (Danish)
  • Phaedra (Dutch, English, Latin)
  • Phèdre (French)
  • Phaidra Φαίδρα (German, Greek)
  • Phädra (German)

Sources

Spyridon, Spyridoula

Spyridon is a Byzantine Greek male name which comes directly from the Greek word σπυρίδιον (spyridion), meaning “basket.” Other sources suggest it is a hellenised form of the Latin Spiritus (spirit). It was popularized by a 4th-century Greek saint who played a key role in the Council of Nicaea. He is revered as the patron saint of Corfu and of potters.

His feast day is December 12.

Spiro & Spyros are its short forms, while Spyridoula is the femininine form.

Spiro was borne by the 39th vice president of the United States, Spiro Agnew (1918-1996).

It was borne by Spyridon Louis, the first modern Olympic Gold medalist in the 1896 Summer Olympics.

Forms and usage include:

  • Spiridoni, Spiridhoni (Albanian)
  • Asbiridun اسبيريدون (Arabic)
  • Spiridon Спиридон (Assyrian, Bulgarian, Croatian, German, Lebanese-Arabic, Romanian, Serbian)
  • Espiridió, Espiridó (Catalan)
  • Spyridon Σπυρίδων (Coptic, French, Greek)
  • Špiro (Croatian)
  • Spi’ridon სპირიდონ (Georgian)
  • Spiridione, Spiridone (Italian)
  • Spirydon (Polish)
  • Espiridão (Portuguese)
  • Spiridón (Russian)
  • Espiridón, Espiridión (Spanish)
  • Spyrydon Спиридон (Ukrainian)

Italian feminine forms include: Spiridiona & Spiridona.

Sources

Stylian, Stelian, Stylianos, Steliana

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: “piller.”

Stylianos Στυλιανός is derived from the Greek στῦλος (stylos) meaning, “pillar.” St. Stylian was a 6th-century Byzantine saint who was a hermit, known for his love of children, hence he is considered the patron saint of children.

His feast day is November 26th.

Masculine forms include:

  • Stilian Стилиан (Albanian, Bulgarian, Russian)
  • Estilià (Catalan)
  • Stylian Стиліан (English, German, Polish, Ukrainian)
  • Stélien (French)
  • Stilien,Stylien (French)
  • Stelios Στέλιος (Greek)
  • Stylianos Στυλιανός (Greek)
  • Estellio (Italian)
  • Stelio, Stellio (Italian)
  • Stiliano (Italian)
  • Stylianus (Late Latin)
  • Estiliano (Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Steliano (Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Stelian (Romanian)
  • Stilijan Стилијан (Serbian)
  • Stilijanos (Serbian)

Feminine forms include:

  • Stiliana Стилияна (Albanian, Bulgarian, Italian)
  • Stélie, Stéliane, Stélienne, Stylienne (French)
  • Stelia (Greek, Italian)
  • Styliani Στυλιανή (Greek)
  • Stellia (Italian)
  • Styliana (Polish)
  • Estiliana (Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Steliana (Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish)
  • Stilijana (Serbian)

A common short form in Greece for the female version is Stella.

Sources

Thurstan, Torsten

  • Origin: Old Norse
  • Meaning: “Thor’s stone.”
  • Gender: masculine

Both names are derived from the Old Norse male name, Þórsteinn, literally meaning “Thor’s stone.” The name is attested as early as the 5th-century in Medieval Scandinavia and appears in the Norse saga, Draumr Þorsteins Síðu-Hallssonar.

It was transported to England by Anglo-Saxon & Norse settlers, the Anglo-Saxon form being Thurstan, and remained prevalent even after the conquest of the Normans, who themselves also used the name due to their original Norse heritage. Thurstan was borne by an 11th-century Bishop of York. Thurstan is the progenitor of the English surnames Thurston and Dustin.

Torsten appeared in Germany’s Top 100 Most Popular Male Names between 1960 and 1978, and peaked at #6 between 1964-68. While Torstein was in and out of the Norwegian Top 100 Male Names between 1947-1991, peaking at #84 in 1948. It’s original Old Norse form of Þórsteinn ranked in at #46 in Iceland’s Top 100 Male Names in 2012.

Forms include:

  • Turstin (Anglo-Norman, French)
  • Thurstan (English)
  • Tórstein (Faroese)
  • Torstein, Thorstein (Faroese, Norwegian)
  • Toro, Torro (Finnish, Scandinavian)
  • Torste,Torsti (Finnish)
  • Toutain (French, archaic)
  • Torsten (German, Scandinavian)
  • Thorsten (German, Scandinavian)
  • Torstene, Torsteni (Greenlandic)
  • Þórsteinn (Icelandic, Old Norse)
  • Turstino (Italian, Spanish)
  • Turstanus, Tursteinus, Turstinus (Late Latin)
  • Twyste (Middle Low German)
  • Tostein (Norwegian)
  • Dorste (Sami)
  • Toste (Scandinavian)
  • Tosten, Thosten (Swedish, archaic)

Sources

Astraea

  • Origin: Greek Ἀστραία
  • Meaning: “star.”
  • Gender: feminine
  • Eng Pronunciation: (uh-STRAY-ah)

The name is borne in Greek mythology by the daughter of Astraeus and Eos. She is the goddess of justice, innocence, purity, & precision and is closely associated with Dike, the goddess of Justice. According to Ovid, Astraea was a mortal woman during the Golden Age, but ascended into the heavens to become the constellation Virgo.

Other froms of the name include:

  • Astraia Աստրաիա (Armenian, Czech, German, modern Greek, Scandinavian)
  • Astrea Астрея (Bulgarian, Catalan, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian)
  • Astrée (French)
  • Astraja (Lithuanian, Polish)
  • Astreia (Portuguese)

Sources

Hansa

The name can have a few origins and meanings. It is primarily an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit हंस (hamsa), which originally referred to an aquatic bird of passage. The hamsa is described as a mythical bird with knowledge in the Rig Veda and also as the main means of transport for the gods Brahma, Gayatri, Saraswati, and Vishvakarma in Hinduism. In the Ramayana, the hamsa was the bird that carried love letters between Damayanti and Nala. According to Indian legend, arayanna (heavenly hamsa swans) are said to live in the Himalayas where they eat pearls and are able to separate milk from water.

The hamsa bird is also associated with the concept of soham (that I am), as when it is said fast, hamsa starts to resemble soham. The latter is linked with the Brahman, and thus the bird is often associated with the cycle of samsara.

The hamsa bird has also been a popular motif in Indian art for centuries.

Over the centuries, it has interchangeably been translated as a swan, flamingo, goose or duck. It is ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root word *ǵʰh₂éns, which is also the progenitor of the English word goose, German gans (goose), and the Latin anser (goose).

In India, as a given-name, it is used among all languages groups. The name is primarily used on females but has occasionally been given to males.

The name is also German and Scandinavian female name, being a contracted form of Johanna. Other forms are Hansina and Hansine.

Sources

Bezalel

  • Origin: Hebrew בְּצַלְאֵל
  • Meaning: “in the shadow of God; under the protection of God.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation Eng: beh-ZAH-lel

The name is borne in Exodus 31:1-6 by the chief artisan assigned by Moses to build the Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, priests’ vestments and other equipment with the assistance of Aholiab. In Exodus 31:1, he is listed as the son of Uri.

The name itself is believed to share a similar etymological construction with the Akkadian male names ina-ṣilli-Bēl and ina-ṣilli-Nabu (in the shadow of Baal or Nabu).

The name has always been used in the Jewish diaspora in Europe and the Middle East. It was borne by the 16th-century Ottoman rabbi and talmudist Bezalel Ashkenazi, and it was the name of the father of the Maharal of Prague,(Judah Loew ben Bezalel circ. 17th-century).

The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design & the Jewish art movement known as the Bezalel School both take their name from the character in the Bible.

Among Russian-Jews, Vasily would have been used as a Russified form, though the names do not share an etymological relationship.

Other forms include:

  • Bezaleël (Dutch)
  • Bezalel (English, German)
  • Béséléel (French)
  • Beseleel Βεσελεήλ (Greek)
  • Bezaleèl (Italian)
  • Becalel (Polish)
  • Besaliel (Portuguese)
  • Veseleíl Веселеи́л (Russian)
  • Becalél’, Becal’ї́l Бецале́ль, Бецал’ї́л (Ukrainian)

Sources

Cuthbert

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: “bright famous.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • KUTH-bert

The name is composed of the Anglo-Saxon words cuþ “famous” and beohrt “bright.” It is notably borne by St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, a 7th-century English saint who is revered as the patron saint of Northumbria. Even after the Protestant Reformation, he remained a popular figure in Northern England, the Cathedral of Durham is where he lies entered.

It is the progenitor of the eponymous English surname.

Common short forms are Cuddy & Cuth.

Other forms include:

  • Cuthbehrt (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Cuthbertus (Dutch, Late Latin)
  • Cuthbert (English, French, German)
  • Cudbert (French)
  • Cutberto (Italian, Spanish)
  • Kutbert (Polish)
  • Cuteberto (Portuguese)
  • Cuithbeart (Scottish-Gaelic)
  • Katbert Катберт (Ukrainian)
  • Cwthbert (Welsh)

Sources

Cassiel

  • Origin: Hebrew פצִיאֵל
  • Meaning: “God is my cover; cover of God; speed of God.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Pronunciation: Eng KAS-see-el

The name is derived from the Hebrew פצִיאֵל (Qaftzi’el), which is likely to mean “cover of God” or “God is my cover.” Other sources claim this name means “speed of God.” According to Judeo-Christian apocrypha, Cassiel is one of the 7 archangels. In the Hekhalot Rabbati, he is the one of the guardians of the doors of the 7th Heaven. In the Sefer Raziel, he is described as the Prince of Saturn, while in the Zohar, he is credited as being one of the aides of the Archangel Gabriel. He is also mentioned in the rabbinic literature of the Kabbalah. In Christian literature, he is mentioned in the grimoire known as The Sworn Book of Honorius as well as in Peter Abano’s Heptameron. He is mentioned in a Byzantine text regarding exorcism. He also appears as an archangel in mystic Islamic literature under the name كسفيائيل‎, Kasfiyāʼil.

Cassiel was traditionally believed to not have much input on the things that occur in the world of man, he was also considered the angel who presided over the death of kings as well as the angel of tears and the angel of temperance. His days are sometimes Thursday or Friday.

As a given-name, it has only come into occasional use the last century. It may have become even more widespread after its use in the Wim Wender 1987 film, Wings of Desire.

I could not find any strong evidence that this name has ever been used as a given-name among Jews or Muslims, though I don’t believe it is considered a forbidden name in either religion, more likely, the obscurity of the angel in the general populace of both religions has left the name obsolete.

Other forms include: Cafziel, Kafziel, Caphziel,Captiel, Cassael, Castiel, Qaspiel, Qephetzial, & Quaphsiel.

Forms in other languages include:

  • Kasfiyāʼil كسفيائيل‎, (Arabic)
  • Cassiël (Dutch)
  • Cassiel (English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Qaftzi’el קפציאל‎ (Hebrew)

Feminine forms include: Kasiela, Casiel(l)a, Qaftiziela (modern Hebrew); Cassielle (English, French), Cassiëlle (Dutch), Casiele (Brazilian-Portuguese).

Sources

Faolán, Phelan, Fillin

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: “little wolf.”
  • Gender: masculine
  • Gaelic (FWAY-lahn); Eng (FAY-len; FIL-lin)

The name is derived from the Gaelic, faol, meaning “wolf” and the diminutive suffix –án. It is borne by 3 Medieval Saints from Ireland, 2 who settled in Scotland and another that did missionary work in Frankish Brabant.

There is a Cathedral dedicated to St. Foillan of Brabant in Aachen, Germany.

It is the ancestor of several Irish and Scottish surnames, such as Fylan, Hyland, MacClellan, MacClelland, Mac Giolla Fhaoláin, McClellan, McClelland, Ó Faoláin, Phelan, Whalen & Whelan.

Fillan is also the name of a place in Norway, but the name is probably of a separate etymology.

Other forms include:

  • Foillan (Dutch, French, German)
  • Phillan (English)
  • Feuillien (French)
  • Folien (French)
  • Foilan (French)
  • Pholien (French)
  • Foillano (Italian)
  • Fillano (Italian)
  • Foilanus/Foillanus (Late Latin)
  • Fáelán (Old Irish)
  • Felano (Spanish)

Sources