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Category: John Lennon

July baby names

For this first day of July, guest blogger and prized nameberry intern, Sonia Tsuruoka looks into the special name possibilities for a baby born this month.

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 JulienJulia — 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.

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muhammad-ali-19749

It’s Pop’s turn!  For Mother’s Day we took a look at some of the more interesting names of the mothers of distinguished people, and now we do the same for the paternal parent.  Once more,  it turns out that an unusual number of past (and a few present) notables have had Dads with interesting, and sometimes surprising, names.  Here are some examples to prove the point:

ABRAHAM –Bob Dylan

ALFRED (called Freddie) — John Lennon

ALLANHerman Melville

ALLESSANDRO — Maria Montessori

ANDREJ — Andy Warhol

ARCHULUS — Truman Capote

AUGUSTINE –  George Washington

BAILEY –  Ray Charles, Maya Angelou

BELMONT — Humphrey Bogart

CASSIUS –  Mohammed Ali (pictured)

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