Category: July baby names
by Linda Rosenkrantz
July has arrived, the month of beaches and barbecues, kids off at camp—and lots of relevant baby name possibilities—including ancient names dating back to Julius Caesar, saints’ names, and July flower and month names. If you want to look further afield for inspiration, July also contains Video Games Day (the 8th), Moon Day (the 20th), Amelia Earhart Day (the 24th), Aunt and Uncle Day (the 26th) and, last but not least, Father-in-Law Day (the 30th).
But the following are more directly related.
July—Though the other warm weather months May, June and August have been used long and often for babies, July has rarely been found. But it could make a cute middle name for either gender. As the fifth month, it was originally called Quintilis, but when Caesar, whose birth month it was, reformed the Roman calendar in 46 BC—becoming the Julian calendar—it was renamed for him.
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.