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.

Klytemnestra and Kronos

Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra, Clytaemnestra, Klytaimnḗstra, Klytaimḗstra) was the wife of the great hero Agamemnon, mother of Iphigenia, ElektraOrestes, and Chrysothemis, and Queen of Mycenae. Her parents were King Tyndareus and Queen Leda of Sparta.

Zeus famously took on the form of a swan to couple with Leda. Since Leda slept with both Tyndareus and Zeus on that same night, she produced two eggs, with two kids each. One egg produced Klytemnestra and Helen; the other produced Castor and Pollux.

Accounts vary on who fathered whom, and which ones were Divine and which half-immortal. The only consistencies are that Helen was fathered by Zeus, and that if only one of the boy/boy twins is Divine, it’s Pollux.

Leda and the Swan, by Francesco Bacchiacca

Klytemnestra married Agamemnon, and Helen married his brother Menelaus, when they were hiding from their double-cousin Aegisthus. He’d murdered their father, King Atreus, and sworn gruesome revenge upon his children.

According to Euripides, Klytemnestra’s first husband was King Tantalus of Pisa, whom Agamemnon murdered before marrying her. The infant son she’d had with Tantalus was also murdered by Agamemnon. In another version, Klytemnestra’s first husband was the King of Lydia.

Before the Trojan War, Agamemnon killed a deer in a sacred grove of Artemis. She punished Agamemnon by interfering with the winds and making it impossible for his fleet to sail to Troy.

The seer Calchas told Agamemnon to sacrifice his oldest daughter Iphigenia to appease Artemis. This horrified Agamemnon, and he refused to do it until he succumbed to intense pressure from the other commanders. Iphigenia was tricked into coming to Aulis with Klytemnestra, believing she was going to marry Achilles.

The Anger of Achilles, by Jacques-Louis David, 1819

Agamemnon tried to back out of it, and Achilles was pissed when he discovered he’d been used as part of this most dastardly plot. He and Klytemnestra pled with Agamemnon to spare Iphigenia. In some versions, Iphigenia was spared.

During the ten years of the Trojan War, Klytemnestra began an affair with Agamemnon’s evil cousin Aegisthus. Her heart burnt with hatred on account of Iphigenia’s sacrifice, and her first husband’s murder.

Agamemnon arrived home with his own side lover, the seer Kassandra, who had a horrible vision of their murders. Sadly, no one believed her prophecies, due to a curse from Apollo. In the best-known version, Klytemnestra murders Agamemnon in the bathtub. Aegisthus then took the throne, and had three kids with Klytemnestra.

Clytemnestra Hesitates Before Killing the Sleeping Agamemnon, by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, 1817

Klytemnestra’s only son by Agamemnon, Orestes, eventually murdered her and his half-brother Aletes.

Klytemnestra is derived from klytos (noble, famous) and mnester (wooer, courter). The original form, Klytaimestra, may have a link to medomai (to scheme, to court).

Kronos was the youngest of the first generation of Titans, the son/nephew of Gaia and Uranus, and the father of Zeus. His Roman name is Saturn.

Uranus hated his kids, and hid them within Gaia’s body, causing her great pain. That all changed when Gaia made an adamantine sickle for Kronos and bade him hide in ambush. When Uranus approached Gaia to couple with her, Kronos sprang out and castrated him. The dripping blood produced the Furies, Meliae (ash tree nymphs), and Giants. Aphrodite was born from Uranus’s severed genitals falling into the sea.

Kronos’s queen was his sister Rhea. They ruled Ancient Greece’s Golden Age, the first of five Ages of Man [sic]. We’re currently in the Iron Age, a period of sadness, strife, turmoil, and brute force, comparable to Hinduism’s Kali Yuga. There was no need for laws during the Golden Age, since everyone did the right thing automatically.

Kronos knew he’d be overthrown by his kids, just as he’d overthrown Uranus. Thus, he swallowed each right after birth. With Gaia’s help, Rhea switched Zeus with a stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes. After Zeus grew to manhood, raised away from Kronos, he either cut Kronos’s stomach open or gave him an emetic to free his older siblings Poseidon, Demeter, Hades, Hera, and Hestia.

Zeus and his siblings waged war against Kronos and the other Titans, with the help of their newly-freed siblings the Cyclopses and Hecatonchires (Hundred-Handed Ones). All but six of the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus. Accounts vary on Kronos’s fate.

Kronos may be derived from the Proto–Indo–European ker, “to cut.”

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 nicknames for Katherine

In addition to being a venerable, versatile, timeless classic, Katherine also seems to be tied with Elizabeth as having the most nicknames, both in English and many other languages. It also has options for child-like nicknames vs. more grownup nicknames the bearer can eventually graduate to.

1. Kate/Cate is a nickname that works well on all ages.

2. Katie/Katy/Kati suggests a more youthful Katherine, the kind of nickname a young girl would go by before graduating to Kate.

3. Kathi/Kathie/Kathy/Cathy/Cathie might seem a bit dated now, since so many Boomer women have that nickname, but I’ve never found it intrinsically middle-aged. It helps when you’ve known people your age with a name more commonly associated with an older generation.

4. Kay/Kaye might be out of fashion now, but I’ve always loved this name. It’s so cute.

5. Kit is a nickname I’ve always loved, in no small part because this is the name of one of my favoritest characters.

6. Kitty is rather out of fashion, though I’ve never understood why it’s not used so much anymore. It’s so cute, and has really nice vintage vibes. The Hungarian version is Kitti, short for Katalin.

7. Kasia (KAH-shah) is the Polish nickname for Katarzyna.

8. Kaja is the Scandinavian and Slovenian nickname for Katarina, and an Estonian nickname for Katariina.

9. Kari is Norwegian.

10. Kaia is Estonian and Norwegian.

11. Katya is the Russian nickname for Yekaterina.

12. Karin is Swedish.

13. Katrin is Estonian, German, and Swedish.

14. Kadri is Estonian.

15. Kati (with a long A, not like the English Kati) is Estonian and Hungarian.

16. Käthe is the German nickname for Katharina.

17. Kätchen is German.

18. Katja is Scandinavian, Slovenian, Dutch (for Katrijn), and German.

19. Trijntje is Dutch. I think Dutch nicknames are just adorable!

20. Rina is Dutch and Italian (for Caterina).

21. Ina is Dutch, German, Scandinavian, Limburgish, and Croatian.

22. Carine is French.

23. Kát’a (pronounced like Katya) is a Czech nickname for Kateřina and a Slovak nickname for Katarína.

24. Katka is Czech and Slovak.

25. Kačenka is Czech and Slovak.

26. Katuška is Czech and Slovak.

27. Kat’ka is Czech and Slovak. The letter T’ is different from plain T, and pronounced like the TY in Katya.

28. Káča is Czech and Slovak.

29. Kačka is Czech and Slovak.

30. Katika is Hungarian.

31. Kató is Hungarian.

32. Kata is Hungarian, Finnish, and Croatian.

33. Katica is Hungarian, Slovenian, Serbian, and Croatian.

34. Karina is Scandinavian.

35. Ríona is an Irish nickname for Catriona.

36. Cáit is Irish.

37. Kajsa is Swedish.

38. Katyenka is Russian.

39. Katyusha is Russian.

40. Katrė is the Lithuanian nickname for Kotryna.

41. Tina is Dutch and Croatian.

42. Cadi is the Welsh nickname for Catrin.

43. Kaisa is Estonian and Finnish.

44. Riina is Estonian and Finnish.

45. Triinu is Estonian.

46. Karen is Danish.

47. Iina is Finnish.

48. Rini/Riny is Dutch.

49. Cato is Dutch.

50. Tineke is Dutch.

51. Eka is the Georgian nickname for Ekaterine.

52. Cátia is the Portuguese nickname for Catarina.

53. Kaatje is Dutch.

54. Kat is English.

55. Katici is Hungarian.

These names are going to the birds!

We’re probably all familiar with bird names like Robin and Lark, but what about some of the lesser-used bird names?

Unisex:

Agpa means “thick-billed Murre” (a type of bird) in Greenlandic.

Alaryn means “bird” in Welsh. This was more commonly used than Aderyn in the mid-20th century, during heavy immigration in the U.K.

Chim means “bird” in Vietnamese.

Jiguur means “bird” in Mongolian.

Manu means “bird” in Maori and Hawaiian.

Palila is the name of a bird in Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Polynesian.

Tairo means “little bird” in Arabic.

Tori means “bird” in Japanese.

Tui is a type of Maori bird.

Tziquin means “bird” in Tzeltal and Quiche-Kaqchikel.

Vireo is a type of U.S. bird.

Yonah means “dove” in Hebrew.

Female:

Aderyn means “bird” in Welsh. This is contemporary, not traditional.

Aëdon may mean “nightingale” in Greek.

Aerope may derive from an Ancient Greek word for the bee-eater bird.

Aghavni means “dove” in Armenian. I love this name.

Ainara means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Alondra means “lark” in Spanish.

Andlib, or Andleeb, means “nightingale” in Persian.

Asuka is a Japanese name which is composed of the elements asu (“to fly” or “tomorrow”) and ka (bird). Many other meanings are also possible.

Aquila means “eagle” in Latin. The Russian form is Akilina.

Balbala means “nightingale” in Pashto.

Chipeta means “white singing bird” in Ute.

Cholena means “bird” in Lenape.

Columba means “dove” in Latin.

Deryn possibly comes from Aderyn, with the same meaning.

Durna means “crane (bird)” in Azeri.

Elaia means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Enara means “swallow (bird)” in Basque.

Faigel means “bird” in Yiddish. Other forms include Faiga and Faigie. Beyond my frequent dislike of many Yiddish names, I’m not fond of this one because it looks too much like a certain homophobic slur. As a matter of fact, the diminutive form Faigeleh is indeed slang for a gay man!

Homa is a phoenix-like bird in Persian mythology. An alternate form is Huma.

Inyoni means “bird” in Zulu.

‘Iwalani means “heavenly frigate bird” or “heavenly man-of-war bird” in Hawaiian.

Karawek means “bird” in Thai.

Karlygash means “swallow (bird)” in Kazakh.

Kasika means “bird” in Thai.

Kayäkki means “bird” in Chuvash, a native Siberian language.

Kiya means “cooing of a bird” in Sanskrit.

Kría is a type of Icelandic bird.

Lóa means “golden plover” in Icelandic and Faroese.

Lushanya may mean “songbird” in Chickasaw.

Oanh means “oriole” in Vietnamese.

Paloma means “dove, pigeon” in Spanish.

Parastou means “swallow (bird)” in Persian.

Pëllumb means “dove” in Albanian.

Prinia is the Javanese word for a type of bird.

Sacagawea may mean “bird woman” in Hidatsa.

Sarika means “myna bird” in Sanskrit.

Seelasat means “oriole” in Vainakhish, an extinct language of North Transcaucasia.

Shakuntala means “bird” in Sanskrit.

Simurg means “eagle bird” in Pahlavi. This was a monstrous bird in Persian mythology.

Svala means “swallow (bird)” in the Scandinavian languages.

Toiba means “dove” in Yiddish.

Tsubame can mean “swallow (bird)” in Japanese.

Tzipporah means “bird” in Hebrew. Other spellings include Zipporah, Tziporah, Tzipora, Tsippora, Tsipora, Cipora, and Cippóra.

Tzufit means “hummingbird” in Hebrew.

Ulara means “snowcock” in Kyrgyz.

Usoa means “dove” in Basque. The name Uxue is etymologically related.

Yemima means “dove” in Hebrew. The popular Anglicization is Jemima.

Zarka means “crane (bird)” in Pashto.

Zitkala means “bird” in Sioux.

Male:

Andor means “Thor’s eagle” in Norwegian.

Anzu was a Mesopotamian demon depicted in the form of a lion-headed eagle or a huge bird breathing water and fire.

Arnkætill means “bird helmet” in Old Norse.

Colum means “dove” in Old Irish.

Dalbar means “chick (baby bird)” in Yakut, a native Siberian language.

Dalbaray means “white bird” in Yakut.

Énna possibly means “bird-like” in Irish.

Jonah is the English form of Yonah, and a male-only name. Other forms include Jonas (Dutch, German, and Scandinavian, and the name of the heroic Dr. Jonas Salk), Giona (Italian), Yunus (Arabic and Turkish), Jonáš (Czech and Slovak), Iona (Russian and Georgian), Jónas (Icelandic), Joona and Joonas (Finnish), Jona (Serbian and Croatian), Jónás (Hungarian), Jonás (Spanish), Jonass (Latvian), and Jonasz (Polish).

Kaur means “loon (bird)” in Estonian.

Mochni means “talking bird” in Hopi.

Nenaa’angebi means “beautifying bird” in Ojibwe.

Örn means “eagle” in Icelandic, Swedish, and Old Norse.

Orneus may mean “bird, chicken” in Greek.

Ornytos may be etymologically related to the Greek word ornis (bird, chicken).

Pungat means “bird” in Nivkh, an indigenous language in Russia and Japan.

Quetzun is a Guatemalan name referring to a type of bird.

Sibaguchu means “birdman” in Mongolian.

Stari means “starling (bird)” in Old Norse.

Tayfur may mean “bird” in Bashkir.

Þrǫstr means “thrush (bird)” in Old Norse.