Sunday, October 01, 2006

Phoebe, Cynthia, Artemis, Diana and Selene

Seeing as I don't want this blog to be all about alternatives (it is interesting and useful to do them, I just don't want an overload).

So I'm going on Moon names or various names that have been attributed to the Greek goddess Artemis. A couple of years ago, the name Artemisia was among my favourite names. She was an architect - builder of one of the 7 wonders of the world, and named after the goddess of virginity and the hunt. Pure determination.

But if you really delve into Artemis it's either a safe name (artemes) or a butcher of a name (artemos), this is one of the problems I have with it - it does not mean beautiful one, or eagle or brave. It's meaning is debatable, and neither are stunning.

Want a twin set? Artemis and Apollo. Except that that would be horrendous. Together, they're names for twin cats or hamsters. I wouldn't advise Apollo on it's own - seems very he-man to me, like calling your child Hercules, Zeus or Achilles.

I suppose to finish off with Artemis - there is Artemis Fowl - a series of books by Eoin Colfer. Artemis is a boy. There is also in Bible a man named Artemas.

So if Artemis is not an option, what about the other names that derive from it:
Phoebe, Cynthia, Diana and Selene - I would say that they are all more popular than Artemis, more acceptable.

I'll start with Phoebe, certainly a name I've been hearing a lot recently. In the non-mythological, non-naming world Phoebe is famous for being the quirky 'Friend' and a witch in 'Charmed'. For English fans there's also a character on 'The Archers' named Phoebe.

Phoebe is sweet, and quite pretty - unusual sound that will stand out from the Emmas and the Amys. In the UK it's also borderline common (#35 to be exact), meaning that a Phoebe is unlikely to go through life without meeting another. It's a bright, pure name (phoibos), so unlike Artemis has a decent meaning.

Problem with it? Spelling - for the dyslexic (and non-dyslexic) Phoebe can be Phebe, Feebe, Phoeby, Pheobe, Phobe...

So lets get onto Cynthia - another name for Artemis due to her birthplace on Mt Cynthos. I tend to associate this name with older woman (all the Cynthias I know are older), but I still like it. It's a sensible name - not too frilly but not too bland. This is a name that has had a curve in popularity (in the US where I can get stats), In 1906 it was in the late 300s, 1957 it was #7 and last year it was #221. Cynthia has the thrilling meaning of 'woman from Cynthos' (reminiscent of Lydia - explored earlier, and Sabina - which will be in an upcoming thread)., not for me.

Diana - I have a personal reason for using this (or not using it as the case may be). Meaning is good - heavenly or divine. She was the Roman equivalent of Artemis - goddess of the moon, hunt, forests, childbirth...It's a name that has dipped in and out of the US top 100, it's rise hasn't been as extreme as it's spawn Diane.

Why not? Diana, Princess of Wales is just too big a block for me. I would use this name to honour someone else, but it may end up like I'm honouring her. I think I'll stick with Dinah - spunky and Biblical.

So finally we get onto Selene. It may have been irrevocably damaged by Celine Dion's 'My Heart will go on' hit. Except that apart from sound Selene and Celine are not closely related. Celine comes from Celio from Caelius meaning Heaven , Selene means moon. It's a fine name, another curve in popularity.

If I had to choose I'd go with Phoebe. It's spunky, a little different but still within the comfort zone.