Do ancient names persist in modern culture?

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  • #1
Klystron
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A thread on the shape of Jupiter's clouds led several members to list contributions from early cultures to modern. This partial table lists solar system objects with Latin, Greek and Frisian (Germanic, English) names. Please correct and expand. [Note: using insert table function.]

LatinmodifierGreekderivationsFrisianDay
Sol
Mercury
Venus
Terra
Luna
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
solar
mecurial
venusian
terran
lunar
martian
jovian
saturnine
Helios
Hermes
Aphrodite
Geos
Selene
Ares
Zeus
Cronos
heliocentric
hermetic
aphrodisiac
geology
selenology
arean
zeusological?
chronicle
Sun
Odin
Freya
Earth
Moon
Thor
Wotan
Ymir ?
Sunday
Wednesday
Friday
Tuesday
Monday
Thursday
Wednesday
Saturday
 

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  • #2
fresh_42
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Not sure how to read this table. The German word for Saturday is Samstag, from Old German Smabaztac, which was vulgary Greek for sabbaton = Sabbath. Dienstag for Tuesday comes from day of Tyr, same in English.
 
  • #3
Klystron
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The table contains loose associations as the historical record appears vague. The Frisian/Germanic references in particular are difficult to fathom. Adding days to a list of solar objects probably obfuscates more than clarifies.

French Samedi = Saturday derived from Sabbath, as you say. So, any relation to Saturn?
 
  • #4
fresh_42
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I doubt that Frisian is correct. Although variants of it are still spoken around the coastlines up today, it is quite a bit different from what modern English and German came from. Most Germanic words which we still use have their origin from Old German, from where on English and German developed into different phonetics. Frisian took another road, closer to English. If you look at Old English, e.g. Shakespeare's original language, one can still find the common origin. The "th" for example was often a simple "d" or "t".

Saturday is from Saturn, not Sabbath. It is originally Latin: Saturni dies = day of Saturn. Wednesday was in Latin Mecurii dies = day of Mercury and still is in French, but they took the Germanic loan Wotan's (=Odin) day. Our Wednesday is simply called midweek.
 
  • #5
WWGD
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Maybe somewhat -(un) related. I regret modern Greeks use names like Peter, John, etc. instead of the ( to me) cooler names like Pythagoras, Demosthenes, Euclid, etc.
 
  • #6
DarMM
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Shakespeare's original language
Shakespeare spoke Early Modern English. Old English is what you would see in Beowulf.
 
  • #7
mjc123
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"Chronicle" derives from "chronos" (time), not "Cronos" (Saturn). Begin with chi and kappa respectively.

Many personal names are very old in origin, though often they have been naturalised in forms that don't "feel" old, like Peter and John, But these, like Paul and James and Samuel and Daniel, are biblical names, and are common in Jewish and Christian cultures. Recently there has been a revival of non-naturalised biblical names, like Zachary and Nathan. The Greeks do still use their old classical names, e.g. Aristotle Onassis.
 
  • #8
jim mcnamara
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Greek wife, family from Corfu, some names of relatives: Athena, Persphone, Penelope, Demosthenes. So I do not buy the idea that modern Greeks do not use traditional names at all. They do use monikers and nicknames - Demosthenes is called Demie.

This site shows derivation of Western (only, I think) names.
My name is James:
https://www.behindthename.com/name/james
James is derived from Jacob, a very old name, per the site.
 
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  • #9
jim mcnamara
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@DarMM -Early modern English is not always that easy for modern English speakers to derive the correct meaning for a lot of words. The King James translation of the christian bible, written in Elizabethan English, Shakespeare's time, has a lot concordances written for it. Simply so speakers of Modern English do not get the 'wrong' message. This is in large part because words and sayings have different modern meanings, theology is the other main input, obviously.

Non-biblical example word from Richard III:


Naught to do with mistress Shore! I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,...


naught (not naughts which is checker's ancestor ). Meaning?
Modern: nothing, zero, or not much
Back then: a common meaning was to 'have sex with', where the modern word naughty comes from.
Elizabethan English was at a point where meanings diverged. That divergence goes on today. Like "the bee's knees" and "swell" (meaning good, which has morphed into not so good).
 
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  • #10
Klystron
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"Chronicle" derives from "chronos" (time), not "Cronos" (Saturn). Begin with chi and kappa respectively.
Correction noted. I first spelled Greek Saturn as "Chronos", with chronicle as a derivative, denoting Time.

Proper lexical tables would not jumble adjectives, adverbs and nouns. Once I labeled this thread with "... ancient names ...", I halted the list at Saturn since Uranus, Neptune and disgruntled Pluto were discovered using telescopes, thus belong to modern culture though the names derive from ancient cultures.

Saturnine is a favorite modifier used by authors with a proclivity for astronomy such as Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven and even Ian "Bond, James Bond" Fleming. Could not think of a similar term from Cronos probably since I studied Latin but not Greek.

Many personal names are very old in origin, though often they have been naturalised in forms that don't "feel" old, like Peter and John, But these, like Paul and James and Samuel and Daniel, are biblical names, and are common in Jewish and Christian cultures. Recently there has been a revival of non-naturalised biblical names, like Zachary and Nathan. The Greeks do still use their old classical names, e.g. Aristotle Onassis.
I sense a connection. Aristotle Onassis => Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis nee Bouvier. Jacqueline Bouvier was the first French name not from a book I learned to pronounce correctly. Also was taught that France provided parents with a list of approved French names for children.

Americans tend to butcher proper names in conversation. Peter becomes Pete, Daniel to Dan, James is Jim, Jacqueline called Jackie; and we mispronounce Genevieve as "Jen-a-veev", often shortened to "Jen".
1565366544197.png

Jacqueline Kennedy 1961
 
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  • #11
WWGD
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Greek wife, family from Corfu, some names of relatives: Athena, Persphone, Penelope, Demosthenes. So I do not buy the idea that modern Greeks do not use traditional names at all. They do use monikers and nicknames - Demosthenes is called Demie.

This site shows derivation of Western (only, I think) names.
My name is James:
https://www.behindthename.com/name/james
James is derived from Jacob, a very old name, per the site.
I don't know how representative my experience is, but I have met many Greeks casually , all with classical western names. And I have not known of people of Greek descent in the US that use classical names. Not an all/nothing thing but it does not seem to be a frequent practice.
 
  • #12
DennisN
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A thread on the shape of Jupiter's clouds led several members to list contributions from early cultures to modern. This partial table lists solar system objects with Latin, Greek and Frisian (Germanic, English) names. Please correct and expand.
I wrote the Swedish names below as a comparison. Regarding the solar system objects, some of the Swedish names are identical to the Latin. Four of the Swedish names for weekdays are from Norse mythology (Odin, Freya, Tyr and Thor).

LatinSwedishDaySwedish
Sol
Mercury
Venus
Terra
Luna
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Solen
Merkurius
Venus
Jorden (which means Earth)
Månen
Mars
Jupiter
Saturnus
Sunday
Wednesday
Friday
Tuesday
Monday
Thursday
Saturday
Söndag ("Sun day")
Onsdag ("Odin's day")
Fredag ("Freyja's day")
Tisdag ("Tyr's day")
Måndag ("Moon day")
Torsdag ("Thor's day")
Lördag ("Bathing day")
 
  • #13
fresh_42
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Good that they didn't name it all-in-one-water-bathing-day.

By Mercury, what has been meant? The element, the profession, or the God?
 
  • #14
Klystron
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I doubt that Frisian is correct. [snip...]
Hah! (Shakesperean) LOL (modern acronym).
Frisian has been circulating the language part of my mind since it appeared in a recent PF post. Have been 'chomping at the bit' to use it :wink:.
 
  • #15
Klystron
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I wrote the Swedish names below as a comparison. Regarding the solar system objects, some of the Swedish names are identical to the Latin. Four of the Swedish names for weekdays are from Norse mythology (Odin, Freya, Tyr and Thor).

LatinSwedishDaySwedish
Sol
Mercury
Venus
Terra
Luna
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Solen
Merkurius
Venus
Jorden (which means Earth)
Månen
Mars
Jupiter
Saturnus
Sunday
Wednesday
Friday
Tuesday
Monday
Thursday
Saturday
Söndag ("Sun day")
Onsdag ("Odin's day")
Fredag ("Freyja's day")
Tisdag ("Tyr's day")
Måndag ("Moon day")
Torsdag ("Thor's day")
Lördag ("Bathing day")
Fascinating. I have read several novels translated from Swedish but missed much of the humor and significance of names. IIRC a main character, matriarch of a line, was called "Jorden". Her doggie, and sometimes her doting husband, was translated as Manen. I finally get the joke!

I WONDER Who is "Tyr" in Swedish mythology and why he is so important to rank with Sun and Moon? Thanks.
[Edit: corrected gender.]
 
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  • #17
WWGD
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Good that they didn't name it all-in-one-water-bathing-day.

By Mercury, what has been meant? The element, the profession, or the God?
Freddy, the god of modern rock.
 
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  • #18
Klystron
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We called him several names, from Ziu to Tyr, and he is also responsible for our Tuesday. He is in the Edda.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Týr
Frankly, I am amazed after reading this entry. Tyr and Thor remind me of the numerous myths about (twin) brothers such as Castor and Pollux, Romulus and Remus. Tuesday as Tyr's day, Wednesday as Wotan's and Thursday as Thor's day now make sense given the strong mythological relationship among these figures.

As a child I was taught by nuns of the French order of the Sacred Heart of Mary that Tuesday was named for a Norse goddess "Tiu" mother or daughter to "Freya" or "Frigu" (spellings approximate) leading to names for Tuesday and Friday. This teaching order of nuns with intense devotion to the "blessed virgin" Marianist cults frequently emphasized female saints in songs and stories. Each day of the year was assigned to a patron or matron saint long before our calendar became standard.
 
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  • #19
Michael Price
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A thread on the shape of Jupiter's clouds led several members to list contributions from early cultures to modern. This partial table lists solar system objects with Latin, Greek and Frisian (Germanic, English) names. Please correct and expand. [Note: using insert table function.]

LatinmodifierGreekderivationsFrisianDay
Sol
Mercury
Venus
Terra
Luna
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
solar
mecurial
venusian
terran
lunar
martian
jovian
saturnine
Helios
Hermes
Aphrodite
Geos
Selene
Ares
Zeus
Cronos
heliocentric
hermetic
aphrodisiac
geology
selenology
arean
zeusological?
chronicle
Sun
Odin
Freya
Earth
Moon
Thor
Wotan
Ymir ?
Sunday
Wednesday
Friday
Tuesday
Monday
Thursday
Wednesday
Saturday
There's also the seven classical planets and metals in alchemy..
Mercury - Quicksilver
Venus - Copper
Sun - Gold
Moon - Silver
Mars - Iron
Jupiter - Tin
Saturn - Lead

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_planet
 
  • #20
pinball1970
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I have always liked the Biblical names, Sarah, Rebecca, Daniel, Mathew, John, James. Those names must be quite old relatively speaking
 
  • #21
jim mcnamara
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Well, James is a variant of Jacob - Yakov, and apparently arose when Greek became the Lingua Franca of Palestine. So, it dates at least to the first century BCE. See the external link on name origins in a couple of posts above - on James
 
  • #22
Michael Price
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Well, James is a variant of Jacob - Yakov, and apparently arose when Greek became the Lingua Franca of Palestine. So, at least the first century BCE. See the external link on name origins in a couple of posts above - on James
and Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Samuel are probably all equally old.
 
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  • #23
jim mcnamara
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FWIW - early manuscripts in Koine Greek appeared to start naming angels, and all the names ended in "el", e.g., Archangel Michael. Jews in 2 & 3 century BCE mostly did not read Hebrew, so they relied on a Greek translation of the Torah.
Interesting.
Example:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Archangels
 
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  • #24
pinball1970
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Well, James is a variant of Jacob - Yakov, and apparently arose when Greek became the Lingua Franca of Palestine. So, it dates at least to the first century BCE. See the external link on name origins in a couple of posts above - on James
I associate those names with the stories too, James is a very British sounding name, kingly. I looked up the Celtic names which will be the most ancient in the UK but there are not that many I recognize in use today.
 
  • #25
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Physicist Xerxes Tata has a name that goes back 2500 years, as does the many Alexanders. And along Biblical lines, don't forget "Adam". 😉
 
  • #26
DennisN
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Fascinating. I have read several novels translated from Swedish but missed much of the humor and significance of names.
Regarding the Scandinavian languages (which are North Germanic languages), Swedish, Norwegian and Danish have similarities. Furthermore, I live in Scania which has belonged to Denmark once, and I can quite easily understand Danish, and have no problems at all reading it.

Due to various Viking invasions and the Danelaw (where Danish settlers ruled over a significant part of England), the English language has got some influences from Scandinavian languages. "Window" comes from Old Norse and means "wind eye". Also, there are quite many place-names in England which are due to Norse/Scandinavian influence, e.g. places-names that end with "-by" (and "by" exists in Swedish and means "village").

Orkney has been ruled by Norwegians, and when I visited Orkney I found it very funny that the language was English but it sounded Scandinavian. It was very weird, it sounded quite like Swedes speaking English :smile:.
 
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  • #27
fresh_42
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We have a language here in the North, well, the linguists argue whether it is a language or a dialect, but compared to what I understand it is a language. It's called plattdütsch and is partly closer to English than it is to German.


I saw a tv show where he visited a Canadian village where they still spoke "platt". Funny.
 
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  • #28
DennisN
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Regarding the Scandinavian languages
I did some more reading on Wikipedia and learned something I did not know; England, Denmark (including Scania where I live) and Norway has once been united under the king Cnut the Great in which was called the North Sea Empire (1013-1042 CE):

1280px-Cnut_lands.svg[1].png
 
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  • #29
DennisN
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It's called plattdütsch and is partly closer to English than it is to German.
It sounds very funny to me. I understand German pretty well (I've learned it in school and I've also been to Germany and Austria many times), but I would not have understood the plattdütsch counting 😄 . To my ears, it sounds a bit like Dutch, which I don't understand very well.
 
  • #30
fresh_42
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Interesting map! It's completely new to me that Germany was in the Roman Empire! As far as our world heritage memorials tell, the Rhine (more or less) in the west has been the border. This map is BS.
 
  • #31
DennisN
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  • #32
fresh_42
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It sounds very funny to me. I understand German pretty well (I've learned it in school and I've also been to Germany and Austria many times), but I would not have understood the plattdütsch counting 😄 . To my ears, it sounds a bit like Dutch, which I don't understand very well.
Dutch is different again. But if you look at (listen to) the numbers, then replacing "d" by "th", "ig" by "y" then you have the English words, at least a couple of them.

The real funny part was as I saw him, born in Ethiopia, walking around in a Canadian village deep on the landside, talking this very Northern dialect / language to the people there. I was constantly laughing.
 
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  • #33
fresh_42
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Please note that The Holy Roman Empire has very, very little to do with the ancient Roman Empire, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Roman_Empire#Name. If I remember correctly, it was a sort of a name theft/name lending to give the empire more prestige. But some parts of Germany has been in the Roman Empire, e.g. Trier, which has some very fine preserved Roman architecture.
Trier is west of the Rhine, far west! It's delta is on the left border of this map, going south. So the entire part where they wrote "Holy Roman Empire" wasn't Roman at all. However, in the middle ages, the German kings called themselves "King of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation". This had nothing to do with the Roman Empire, except that they at times ruled as far south as Italy.
 
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  • #34
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Voltaire once said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.
 
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  • #35
DennisN
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Voltaire once said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.
Yeah, I remember that quote. It is incredibly funny :oldbiggrin:.
 
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