Quiritis and Quirinus

The Quirinus section of this post is edited from last year’s A to Z post, since it’s hard to find significant deities whose names start with Q. Quetzalcoatl was out of the question, since my intent was to focus on deities who aren’t super-well-known.

Juno, by Jacques Louis Dubois

Quiritis is a Sabine goddess of motherhood, often associated with protection. I can imagine many a woman praying to her in the throes of childbirth, or for help and guidance with learning how to be a mother.

Quiritis is believed to be derived from the Sabine word quiris (spear, lance). She’s often depicted holding that weapon, presumably to defend someone or something. Perhaps because of this, she came to be associated with Juno (Iuno), the Roman equivalent of Hera. Juno is also frequently depicted holding a spear or lance, something which came from the earlier Quiritis.

Roman marriages traditionally included a ritual wherein the bride’s hair was cut or parted by a spear. Some scholars believe this was the influence of Quiritis and Juno’s association with marriage.

Juno was frequently worshipped under the name Juno Quiritis or Juno Curitis, and Juno Quiritis is said to be the only deity worshipped by all thirty curiae (military and political divisions) established by Romulus. By Campus Martius, an area of great religious, political, and military training importance, there was a temple to Juno Quiritis.

The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus and Remus to His Wife, by Nicolas Mignard, 1654

Quirinus is an alternate name for Romulus. Together with his twin brother Remus, he founded Rome. Later on, Quirinus/Romulus was elevated to deity status. Sources differ on whether the Roman god Quirinus is or isn’t one and the same as Romulus.

There are many versions of the twins’ origins, ancestry, and childhood, but all versions have a servant who can’t bring himself to murder the babies, and instead puts them in a basket on the banks of the Tiber River. The river floods and carries the twins downstream, unhurt. Tiberinus, a river god, makes the basket catch on the roots of a fig tree, and a wolf named Lupa discovers them and serves as their wetnurse. Picus, a woodpecker, feeds them.

The twins grew up as shepherds following their discovery by Faustulus, who took them to his hut and raised them with his wife Acca Larentia. The rest is history.

Quirinus came to stand for the Divine personification of the Roman people.

Quirinus is possibly derived from the Sabine word quiris (spear, lance). Other forms include Quirino (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish), Quirin (German), Quirijn (Dutch), Corin (French), Kyrinos (Greek), Kvirinas (Lithuanian), Kvirinus (Faroese), Kvirin (Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Croatian), and Kwiryn (Polish). A Dutch feminine form is Quirine.

Ariadne and Argos

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This year, my A to Z theme on my secondary blog is names from Greek mythology. Since the Greek alphabet doesn’t have certain letters, I’ve featured names from other cultures’ mythologies on those days.

Ariadne in Naxos, by Evelyn De Morgan

Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphaë of Crete, granddaughter of Zeus and Europa, and niece of Circe. Minos put her in charge of his famous Labyrinth (build by Daedalus), where reparation sacrifices were made to either Athena or Poseidon. At the center of the Labyrinth was the Minotaur, with the body of a man and the head of a bull. He was the result of bestiality between Pasiphaë and a bull Minos had refused to sacrifice to Poseidon.

According to one version, Minos attacked Athens after his son Androgeos was killed fighting a bull in Marathon. Androgeos had been sent to fight this bull as a result of winning the Panathenaeic Games. After a number of adventures and interventions from Zeus, Minos asked the Athenians to send seven boys and seven girls to Crete for sacrifice to the Minotaur every nine or seven years.

One year, Prince Theseus, son of King Aegeus, took the place of one of the intended victims, with the intent to slay the Minotaur and end this slaughter. He left in a boat with a black sail, promising his father he’d return with a white sail if he succeeded.

Detail of La Légende Crétoise (a.k.a. Thésée et le Minotaure), by Maître des Cassoni Campana

When Ariadne saw Theseus, she fell in instalove, and helped him to escape the Labyrinth by giving him a ball of thread and a sword. Theseus promised to leave with her if he succeeded. Once inside, he followed Ariadne’s instructions from architect Daedalus, to tie the string to the doorpost, and to keep going forward, never left or right.

Theseus got to the center of the Labyrinth and killed the Minotaur, then found his way out by following the string. He escaped with all the other Athenians, as well as Ariadne and her little sister Phaedra. However, on instructions from Athena, he set sail without Ariadne, and she was heartbroken. Sadly, Theseus forgot to replace his black sail with a white one, and his father committed suicide from grief.

The god Dionysus saw Ariadne weeping, and married her out of pity. In other versions, Dionysus, not Athena, was the one who demanded Theseus abandon Ariadne. She either was killed by Perseus at Argos, or hanged herself.

Ariadne means “most holy,” from the elements ari (most) and adnos (holy). Other forms of the name are Ariadna (Russian, Polish, Georgian, Spanish, Catalan), Ariane (French, German, Dutch), Arianne (French), Arianna (Italian), Ariadnė (Lithuanian), Ariadni (modern Greek), and Arijana (Croatian).

Drawn by Louis-Frédéric Schützenberger, 1884

Argos was the famously loyal dog of the great hero Odysseus, waiting twenty long years for his master to finally come home. Since Odysseus’s home has been overtaken by persistent suitors trying to marry Penelope, he disguises himself as a beggar and only tells his son Telemachus of his true identity.

As Odysseus draws near his home, he sees Argos lying on a heap of cow dung, ignored and neglected. He’s a far sight from the young, healthy dog Odysseus left behind. Argos was known for his tracking skills, strength, and speed.

Argos recognises his old master immediately. He drops his ears and wags his tail, but isn’t strong enough to stand up. Odysseus can’t greet him without ruining his disguise, but he sheds a tear as he passes Argos. Shortly after he enters the house, Argos dies, having lived long enough to see his old friend again.

Argos means “swift.”

The many forms of Claudia

I’ve always really liked the name Claudia, and am really glad it’s so low down in the Top 1000. It would be a shame if such a lovely, underrated name shoots up the charts and becomes super-trendy overnight. In the U.S., it was #714 in 2015, and #314 in England and Wales. The name is more popular in Catalonia (#12), Galicia (#24), Italy (#65), Spain (#14), and Romania (#49).

The spelling Claudia is used in English, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, German, and Dutch. The variation Cláudia is Portuguese, and Clàudia is Catalan. Other forms include:

1. Klaudia is Polish, Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, and German. One of my Hungarian characters is named Klaudia, with the less-common nickname Udika. More common Hungarian nicknames are Dia, Klaudi, and Klau.

2. Klavdia is Greek and Georgian.

3. Klavdiya is Russian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian, with nicknames including Klava, Klasha, Klasya, Ava, Klanya, Klavdyusha, Klavdyunya, Klakha, and Klavdyukha.

4. Klaudie is Czech. The last two letters are said separately, not as one.

5. Claudie is French.

6. Claudette is a variant French form.

7. Claudine is also French.

8. Claude is a unisex French name.

9. Klavdija is Slovenian.

10. Klaudija is Croatian.

11. Gladys is Welsh.

12. Gwladys is a Welsh variation.

13. Gwladus is the original Welsh form.

14. Claudiana is Brazilian–Portuguese.

15. Kládía is Icelandic.

16. Klaoda is Breton.

17. Klääša is Sami, a native Siberian language.

18. Klaudyna is Polish.

The many forms of Esther

Since Purim begins on Saturday night, 11 March, it’s only right to do a post about the name Esther. Queen Esther is the shero of the Purim story, and risked her life to save her people. I chose Esther as one of my Hebrew names in her honor.

Though Esther is a very common, popular Hebrew name, it’s actually of Persian origin, possibly meaning “star.” It may also be derived from Ishtar, the Babylonian and Assyrian mother goddess. The Hebrew form of the name is Hadassah, which means “myrtle.”

Esther is used in English, French, German, Dutch, the Scandinavian languages, Spanish, and Hebrew. Other forms are:

1. Ester is Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Scandinavian, Icelandic, Czech, Catalan, Persian, and Finnish. The alternate form Estèr is Jèrriais, a form of Norman (a Romance language) spoken on the islands of Jersey and Sark, part of the Channel Islands between France and England.

2. Eszter is Hungarian. The base nickname form is Eszti.

3. Yesfir is Russian. Though I’ve been a passionate Russophile for over 24 years now, this is one of those names I’m not exactly wild about!

4. Esteri is Finnish. The nickname form is Essi.

5. Estera is Polish, Slovak, Romanian, and Lithuanian. One of the Polish nicknames is Estusia (Eh-STUH-shah). This name is particularly precious to me because it was the name of one of the sheroes who enabled the Sonderkommando revolt in Auschwitz on 7 October 1944. For over a year, these brave women smuggled gunpowder to the men. Sadly, four of them (Estera Wajcblum, Róża Robota, Regina Safirsztajn, and Ala Gertner) were eventually implicated, but they bravely refused to name names under torture. They were publicly hanged on 5 January 1945.

6. Hester is Latin and English.

7. Aster is Ladino (Judeo–Spanish), Judeo–Catalan, and Judeo–Latin.

8. Eistir is Medieval Irish. It was traditionally given to girls born around Easter.

9. Esiteri is Fijian.

10. Êrsta is Greenlandic.

11. Estè is Haitian Creole. This is a rare name.

12. Estere is Latvian.

13. Esthir is Greek.

14. Estir is Macedonian, Bulgarian, and a rare Greek form.

15. Etke is Yiddish.

16. Ezter is Ladino.

17. Esthera is a rare, elaborated form of Esther.

18. Esterina is an Italian and Portuguese elaboration of Ester.

19. Esfir is an alternate Russian form. I’m not wild about this one either.

20. Îsta is another Greenlandic form.

21. Eseza is Lugandan, a Bantu language spoken in Uganda.

22. Jestira is Serbian.

The many forms of Victor and Victoria

I’ve always quite liked the name Victoria, which has been up and down the Top 300 in the U.S. over the years. Its rank has kept fluctuating in recent years, but it’s been holding steady in the Top 40. In 2015, it was #20. It’s also enjoying popularity in Chile (#27), Belgium (#24), British Columbia, Canada (#43), New South Wales, Australia (#50), Denmark (#24), Norway (#33), Portugal (#44), and Mexico (#14).

The name Victor isn’t quite so popular in the English-speaking world, and was down to #160 in the U.S. in 2015. It’s never charted any higher than #63, in 1918. However, it’s #7 in Belgium, #5 in Denmark, #33 in Spain, and #42 in France. The spelling Viktor is #3 in Iceland, #22 in Sweden, and #39 in the Czech Republic.

Forms of Victoria:

1. Victoria is English, Spanish, Scandinavian, Romanian, and sometimes German. This name was quite uncommon in the Anglophone world until Queen Victoria took the throne and began her long reign in 1837. The variation Victòria is Catalan, and Victória is Portuguese.

2. Viktoria is German, Greek, Scandinavian, and Estonian. The variation Viktória is Hungarian and Slovak, and Viktoría is Icelandic. Hungarian nicknames include Vica, Viki, Vikta, Vicu, Viktu, Vikica, and Vityi.

3. Viktoriya is Russian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian, with nicknames including Vika and Vita.

4. Viktorija is Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Croatian. Nicknames in the four Slavic languages include Vikica, Vika, and Viki.

5. Viktorie is Czech, with the nickname Viki. The last two letters of Viktorie are said separately, not as one.

6. Vittoria is Italian.

7. Vitória is Portuguese.

8. Victoire is French.

9. Wiktoria is Polish, with the nickname Wisia.

10. Wikolia is Hawaiian.

11. Vitòri is Provençal.

12. Victoriana is an elaborated Latin and Spanish form.

13. Wikitōria is Maori.

14. Vittorja is Maltese.

15. Vittoriana is an elaborated Italian form.

16. Viktoriana is a rare elaborated Swedish form.

17. Viktorina is an elaborated Hungarian form.

18. Fieke is Frisian.

19. Buddug is sometimes used as a Welsh form of Victoria.

20. Bikutoria is Japanese.

21. Barriaght is Manx. This is a modern, not traditional, name.

22. Victorique is a rare Québécois form. When used for a woman, it’s a feminine form of Victoricus.

23. Viktoryya is Belarusian. This may also be transliterated as Viktoryja.

24. Victorine is French.

Forms of Victor:

1. Victor is English, French, Romanian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Swedish. The variation Víctor is Spanish and Catalan.

2. Viktor is Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Icelandic, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Danish, German, Slovenian, Georgian, Greek, Estonian, Finnish, and Croatian. The Russian nicknames include Vitya and Vika, while the Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian nickname is Viki.

3. Viktoras is Lithuanian and Greek.

4. Viktors is Latvian

5. Veturían is an elaborated Aragonese form.

6. Vittore is Italian.

7. Wiktor is Polish, with the nickname Witek.

8. Bittor is Basque.

9. Gwythyr is Welsh.

10. Vítor is Portuguese and Galician.

11. Wiktoryn is Polish.

12. Wiktoriusz is also Polish.

13. Wiktorian is another alternate Polish form.

14. Vittorico is an elaborated Italian form.

15. Vittoriano is another elaborated Italian form.

16. Viktorin is a rare Russian, German, Slovenian, and Croatian form.

17. Viktorik is an alternate Croatian form.

18. Vihtori is Finnish.

19. Vihtor is also Finnish.

20. Vigtore is Greenlandic.

21. Victurnien is a rare, archaic French variation.

22. Victorin is a rare French and Romanian form.

23. Victorique is a rare Québécois form. When used for a man, it’s an alternate form of Victoric.

24. Victorien is an elaborated French form.

25. Victoric is French.

26. Victorico is Spanish.

27. Victoriano is an elaborated Spanish form.

28. Victoras is Romanian and Cypriot Greek.

29. Viktar is Belarusian.

30. Buadhach is Irish.

31. Vittorio is Italian.

32. Vittorino is yet another Italian form.

33. Victorino is an elaborated Spanish form.