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ancient baby 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.

AugustusAugustus, 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.

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posted by: Nook of Names View all posts by this author
peake

By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names

The first volume of the magnificent Gormenghast trilogy by British novelist Mervyn Peake was published in 1946, and his books are still widely read today. Here are some of the best names (and characters!) from the trilogy:

Titus. Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Groan is the hero of the series, and Titus Groan is the title of the first book, despite the fact that Titus is only a baby in it. He becomes the major protagonist, however, in the following novels, and though he doesn’t actually do much in Titus Groan, he is the pivot around whom the story unfolds. Titus was a Roman praenomen — i.e. the closest thing Romans had to a first name. Probably the best-known bearer was the Emperor Titus (39-81 CE). The origins are very obscure; it may possibly be related to Latin titulus ‘title’ or titio ‘fire-brand’. It was first used as a given name in the English-speaking world in the sixteenth century.

Fuchsia. Lady Fuchsia Groan is Titus’s sister, a girl on the cusp of womanhood. Virtually ignored by her parents, she is half-feral,  fiercely proud and passionate. Her name is taken from the delicate, ballerina-like flower, named in the eighteenth century in honor of the sixteenth century German botanist Leonhard Fuchs — a surname meaning ‘fox’ in German. Fuchsia is first found as a given name in the nineteenth century, when flower names first came into fashion.

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classboyblog

Classic names are just as hot for boys as they are for girls right now—but there’s a difference. Most of the vintage boys’ names that are rising in popularity aren’t the  traditional classics like William and James, which have never been subject to the whims of fashion, or fusty Victorian vestiges like Clarence or Elmer, but are mainly names that date from further back in time.
The classic boys’ names that are hottest–and coolest–at this moment are either a) offbeat biblical choices rarely heard in modern times, or b) true classics dating from the Roman era.  Those listed below—some of which might surprise you—all feature on the official list of fastest-rising boys’ names in the past year.

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