Category: Historic Names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The Roman Empire reigned for more than five hundred years, led by 140 different emperors. In modern times, though, with a couple of exceptions, the names of these august figures were considered far too august and imposing for a twentieth/twenty-first century kid. But the times they are a-changin’ and lately several of these appellations have ridden into the realm of possibility.
Augustus—Augustus, Julius Caesar’s adopted son, who was born Octavian and given the name Augustus by the senate in honor of his great achievements, was the first of the Roman emperors. Augustus is a perfect example of a name that was well used in the 19th century, then deemed too fusty for decades, and now is back at Number 688 and a high 123 on Nameberry, recently modernized by the character nicknamed Gus in The Fault in Our Stars.
What better time than Thanksgiving to look back at the first names to arrive on our shores?
As you may remember from your third-grade history book, the first English-speaking settlement, called the Raleigh Colony, was established on the Atlantic coast in 1587, and although it didn’t survive for very long, some of its name records did. Not surprisingly, of the 99 men who settled there, 23 were named John, fifteen were Thomas, and ten were William, with a small sprinkling of Old Testament names in the mix as well.
November is almost upon us, the month that conjures up red-and-gold spangled leaves, exciting football games, and warm family gatherings. There are countless wonderful names relating to November, from Thanksgiving-themed monikers to intriguing literary choices. Whatever your taste, you are certain to find a standout choice that is perfect for your November baby!
By Lauren Apfel
As both a classicist and a lover of names, I find myself in a unique position. On the one hand, I have been exposed, from a relatively young age, to a swathe of wonderful monikers that wouldn’t otherwise be on my radar: Achilles, Antigone, Andromache (to mention a few off the top of my head that all happen to start with A). On the other hand, I have spent many years studying and internalizing the tales of woe that accompany these names. Achilles, for instance, is not just an interesting three-syllable option to me with the benefit of a double letter. He is an angry man, with a delicate ego, who spent a long time sulking in his tent before embarking on a brutal killing spree. Not exactly the connotation I was looking for, you can imagine, when it came to naming my sons.
Okay, to be fair, I was never really tempted to call any of my sons Achilles. But there are some ancient Greek names that make me swoon, names I might even have considered using for my own modern offspring had their backstories not been so utterly problematic. Here are five:
Baseball is a game of statistics and trivia, but there’s one area that often goes unexamined: the names of baseball players.
So with the World Series starting next week, it seemed like a good time to explore the rich trove of amazing names that the sport has to offer.
I took to this task by poring over the active rosters of all 30 major league teams, looking for naming patterns that were unique to the sport. I also studied the 300-plus players inducted into the Hall of Fame. That’s where you’ll find the real motherlode of naming awesomeness.
Many classic baseball names may be a tough sell for today’s parents (Honus, anyone?). But they could provide inspiration if you’re looking for offbeat choices associated with America‘s pastime. And who knows…maybe with the right fate-sealing name, your kid will be able to support you later as a shortstop for the Astros.