Origin: Greek Ασιη Ασια
The name is found in Greek mythology as the name of the daughter, (also referred to as Clymene and Clymene-Asie), of Oceanus and Tethys, the wife of Lepatus and mother of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius. It was also the name of a Lydian nymph.
The etymology of the name is uncertain, the myth of Asia existed long before the area of what is now known as Turkey got its name. Herodotus argued that the region was in fact named for the Lydian nymph, while the ancient Lydians themselves claimed that their homeland got its name from a Sardisian prince named Asies.
In the English-speaking world, the earliest usage of the name seems to trace back to Asia Frigga Booth Clarke (1835-1888), the sister to the infamous presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth. Her father, Junius Brutus Booth, a famous actor in his time, chose the name as he believed the Garden of Eden was located in the continent of Asia. Asia Clarke is most noted for her memoires entitled John Wilkes Booth: a sister’s memoir.
Coincidentally, it is also the default Polish diminutive form of Joanna. In this case, it is pronounced (AH-shah).
Currently, Asia is the 23rd most popular female name in Italy (2008) and the 532nd most popular female name in the United States, (2010).
It is currently borne by Italian actress Asia Argento (b.1975).
The name has always been used as a female name in Greece.
- Hesiod, Theogony – Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
- Apollodorus, The Library – Greek Mythography C2nd BC
- Herodotus, Histories – Greek History C5th BC