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A Spring Flowering of Greek Names

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Greek names

by Angel Thomas, aka Dantea

Angel Thomas, best-known to the Nameberry community as Dantea, is an expert on Greek names.  Today she brings us an authoritative look at Greek names that relate to the spring season.

Spring is the time of year for gentle rains and soft winds, the greening of leaves and the growing of flowers. The animals are all awakening and the season of rebirth starts. It’s probably the most romanticized season. Historically, Spring has been known as the time for having babies, for birth and fertility and in recent studies, Spring and mid-Summer have statistically had more births. If you’re looking for a name that represents the springtime and all its lovely flowers and greenery, I have a list of generally underused Greek names just for you.

Goddesses of the Spring

PersephonePersephone is pronounced per-SEF-oh nee and she’s the queen of the underworld, wife of Hades and goddess of spring growth. While Persephone generally has a bad rep, it’s really a very lovely name. She’s the reason we have flowers and green things during the Spring and Summer. Though her name has been attributed to having a negative meaning, it’s really an unknown as the words for ‘dark blue’ and the word for ‘sound’ both appear in her name.

EireneEirene is pronounced EE-ree-nee and she is the spirit of peace and goddess of the springtime. This is the ancient form of the name Irene. To me, it has a cute sound, too cute for me, but could fit right in with the trend of nickname names on the girls nowadays.

Thallo –Thallo is pronounced  THA-loh (A like in apple) and she’s the goddess of spring buds and shoots. The name literally means ‘the one who brings blossoms’ and if you don’t like the boyish sound of Thallo, try the alternative form, Thalatte (tha-LA-tee, the A’s like in apple). With the trend of boys names on girls, this one has a boyish sound (like Milo or Hugo) but it’s still a legitimately female name.

Auxo – Pronounced OX-oh, she was a minor goddess of Spring growth. I generally prefer the more feminine form, Auxesia (ox-ES-ee-ah) which I think has a flowing, hissing sound I find really pleasing, but for those who want a spunky, tomboyish name, this one, like Thallo, could be for you.

Eiar – This name is pronounced EE-ahr and she’s the goddess of the spring. If you want my honest opinion, I think this name has a cool sound, but would be much better suited for the middle spot as I can see kids on the playground saying the name like a donkey sound. It would make a lovely middle name with something longer and more consonant heavy in the front.

Antheia – This is pronounced AHN-the-ah and she is the goddess of flowers and flowery wreaths. She was one of the Charites or Graces. This is another one that just rolls off the tongue when you say it. It’s lovely and lyrical and lends itself to the nicknames Thea or Annie.  If you want a more ‘modern’ form, use the Roman version, Anthea.

Ancient Greek Names Relating to Nature

Girls

Chloe – Pronounced KLO-ee, this is a well-used name, in the US Top 10.  Despite that fact that it is so accessible and so well liked, Chloe is an ancient name. As far as its nature meaning, Chloe means ‘green shoot’ and started out as an epithet for the goddess Demeter.

Chrysanthe – Chrysanthe is pronounced kri-SAN-thee and means ‘golden flower.’ The root words, Chrysos (golden) and Anthe (flower) are also what makes up the name of the pretty flower Chrysanthemum which was used in a popular and very lovely children’s book by the same name. While Chrysanthemum might seem like too much for a lot of people, perhaps the ancient name Chrysanthe seems more usable.

Euthalia – Euthalia is pronounced u-THAY-lee-ah and means ‘flower, bloom.’ Though names with the EU sound at the beginning aren’t popular at all right now (Euphemia, Eugenia, Eulalia, Eunice being examples) but I think this name has a certain sound that makes it just pretty enough to work with modern parents. It’s an ancient name that deserves a chance.

Boys

Chrysanthos – Chrysanthos is pronounces kri-SAN-thos and means ‘golden flower.’  One famous Chrysanthos was Chrysanthos of Madytos who was a poet, chanter and Archbishop of Madytos. He was responisible for a reform of the Byzantine notation in music and is why we have the Chrysanthine notation. For parents looking for something older or more adventurous than Christopher, this could be for you.

Hyacinthus – Hyacinthus is pronounced hi-ah-KIN-thus and comes from Greek mythology. In the myth, Hyacinthus was accidentally killed by Apollo who then caused a lily to grow from his blood. Several early saints bore this name and is where we get the name for the Hyacinth flower. If Hyacinth is viable for a girl, why not Hyacinthus for a boy?

Neophytus – Pronounced nee-oh-FI-tus, this one has a cool nickname but a very old sound. This one might be a little too much for most parents, but it does have a very interesting sound and could be perfect for someone seeking a name this adventurous. It means ‘newly planted.’

Thales – Thales is pronounced THAH-lees and comes from the Greek word Thallo meaning ‘to blossom’. There was a pre-Socratic philosopher named Thales. Aristotle regarded him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition. I think it has a very cool sound, and assessable nickname (Lee), and a very nice historical connection.

Zoticus – This is pronounced ZO-ti-cus (the Zo sort of like Zah) and means ‘full of life’ just like Spring is full of life. It has that cool, zippy Z at the beginning and just generally has a very unusual but daring sound.

And then, of course, there’s Phoenix which is a bird from Greek mythology that represents rebirth. The Phoenix dies and is reborn from its own ashes over and over again. It’s a symbol that has always represented renewal and rebirth. While I think Phoenix works the best on a boy, it is gaining ground on the girl’s side. It’s number 388 on the boys side with 723 births and 645 on the girls side with 439 births.

Angel Thomas, better known on Nameberry as Dantea, is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for onomastics who writes fantasy novels in her spare time. Her knowledge of Greek names stems form her ancestry and her religion. 

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Dantea

Angel Thomas, better known on Nameberry as Dantea, is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for onomastics who writes fantasy novels in her spare time. Her knowledge of Greek names stems from her ancestry and her religion.
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