Saturday, March 26, 2016

Names for Dogs Ancient Greece

Wonders and Marvels:
Atalanta, the famous huntress of Greek myth, called her dog Aura (Breeze). An ancient Greek vase painting of 560 BC shows Atalanta and other heroes and their hounds killing the great Calydonian Boar. Seven dogs’ names are inscribed on the vase (some violate Xenophon’s brevity rule): Hormenos (Impulse), Methepon (Pursuer), Egertes (Vigilant), Korax (Raven), Marpsas, Labros (Fierce), and Eubolous (Shooter).

The Roman poet Ovid gives the Greek names of the 36 dogs that belonged to Actaeon, the unlucky hunter of Greek myth who was torn apart by his pack: among them were Tigris, Laelaps (Storm), Aello (Whirlwind), and Arcas (Bear). . . .

Popular names for dogs in antiquity, translated from Greek, include Lurcher, Whitey, Blackie, Tawny, Blue, Blossom, Keeper, Fencer, Butcher, Spoiler, Hasty, Hurry, Stubborn, Yelp, Tracker, Dash, Happy, Jolly, Trooper, Rockdove, Growler, Fury, Riot, Lance, Pell-Mell, Plucky, Killer, Crafty, Swift, and Dagger.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

Ultimately almost all names are derived from such simple, singular epithets. In our modern world, we've simply forgotten the meanings of many of our names over many centuries and across the barriers of numerous cultures. We often give names based purely on how they sound or feel, or based on references and associations completely separate from the actual meanings of the names.

For example, I very highly doubt almost any of the many millions of men currently named John - which means "Yahweh is gracious" - were given that name with any understanding of its meaning, much less the express intention of the name glorifying the deity in question, as was the original point and purpose of it.

It's really quite fascinating just how much history and meaning is buried all around us in the very fabric of our own language that we simply haven't taken the time to think about or more closely investigate.