Category: baby name Julian
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.
A pair of chart-topping singers dominated the baby name news with their name announcements this week.
Shakira issued a good old fashioned birth announcement.
Though I always want to know, I respect the right to delay or never make an announcement about your child’s arrival. Except that it seems to backfire. Remember the maelstrom when Tom and Katie declined to release details about Suri?
Or maybe Adele really was indecisive. My son was a few weeks old when I realized I’d overlooked the perfect middle name. Before our daughter arrived, we talked out every aspect of her name – first, middles, nickname – until we were rock solid sure.
I think we can all understand a certain hesitance to share when you’re still trying to make sure you’ve chosen well.
Because it can be tough to decide, can’t it? Does it match your other kids’ names, is it easy to pronounce, have you honored family tradition … No wonder it can take every minute of nine months and beyond to figure it out.
Considering July-inspired names?
Try Julian and Julia, the two endlessly popular offshoots of the classic Julius. Though more soft-spoken than the original, both retain an appealing measure of power and nobility that might explain why Hollywood A-listers like Jerry Seinfeld, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Kudrow chose Julian for their sons.
Yet there’s more to these J-names than meets the eye. Along with their many variants, Julian and Julia draw additional strength from their rich, historical roots, while also offering an assortment of sleeker, modern alternatives.
One of the earliest records of the surname Julius tracks back to Rome’s most famous patrician family, the gens Julia, who laid claim to history’s best-known Roman dictator, Gaius Julius Caesar, and boasted descent from the mythological hero Julus. The family’s shared bloodline with several Olympian gods was even outlined by Virgil in the Aeneid, leading many scholars to argue that Julian, translating to “Jove’s child” in English, references Jupiter, the Roman god of sky and thunder. Others suggest that Julian means everything from “youthful” to “downy-bearded,” leaving much of the name’s etymological origins shrouded in mystery.
Julian, borne by many illustrious saints and emperors, was coolly received in the Middle Ages, when it was first introduced, but quickly gained momentum in Italy and France during the Renaissance, in more regionalized versions like Giuliano and Julien. Julia — its female variant –mirrored such popularity trends, only becoming common in the English-speaking world during the 1700’s. Both names, however, were bestowed upon several important literary and religious figures in earlier centuries, including Saint Julian the Hospitaller, patron saint of travelers, Julian the Apostate, Rome’s last pagan Emperor, St. Julia of Corsica, and Proteus’ lover Julia in William Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. And Juliet— a softer, more romantic female variant– was, of course, also used by the legendary playwright in his best-known tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.