Using the LGPN for documenting a Greek name

When we killed off our old characters and re-rolled new ones, I spent quite a bit of time  choosing and documenting our names for submission. It was a bit of a daunting task until I found the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (LGPN). This is a fantastic resource, but it might be overwhelming at first. I’m going to cover just a few features. My recommendation is to start here for naming practices and other basic information. You’re usually forming a name like “Jeff of Athens” or “Jeff son of Jeff” or occasionally “Jeff Biscuiteater” where “Biscuiteater” is a nickname. For the regional ethnic byname, e.g. “of Athens,” it can be that simple; pick a name you like and a place and put them together. You can also get fancy. For example, Athenaios is the Greek word for “an Athenian,” so “Jeff Athenaios” would be “Jeff of Athens” or “Jeff the Athenian.” Spartiates is the Spartan equivalent. (If anyone knows the general rule on how to form these based on the grammar, please let me know, ok? I’ve asked and apparently no one knows how to do this in the general case.) You can also search the LGPN by place to find a name that appears in the place you’re interested in. You can also search by name. Make sure to use the keyboard to enter the Greek characters. For example, there are 0 results for ANDROMEDA, but there are 5 results for ΑΝΔΡΟΜΕΔΑ. Don’t know what those characters are? The wikipedia page is actually a fairly good resource for looking up the Greek alphabet equivalents. You can also search by letter which is really helpful for parsing out differences in accents. For example, Λυκαίνα vs. Λύκαινα appear as two separate entries because of the different accents over the vowels. Women were frequently not talked about (surprise) especially in certain areas. While Gorgo was considered possibly the first female cryptanalyst and one of the smartest people (not women, people) in Sparta, in other areas (cough::Athens::cough) women were expected to stay in the home and live uneventful lives. Thucydides in Peloponnesian War, points out that the best thing for a woman is to be least talked about: “Great will be your glory in not falling short of your natural character; and greatest will be hers who is least talked of among the men whether for good or for bad.” This leads to a problem in trying to document female names. Another approach is to look at male names (by sex=[m.]) and then find the female equivalent. There are many examples for the male name Λύκος, and one could then argue that Λύκαινα should be registrable, if no evidence for that name existed. There are many other ways to use the LGPN, but this should be sufficient to get started. You can also contact me and I will help you if I can. One of my side hobbies is helping write documentation for Greek names and choosing Greek names for people, whether they want one or not! 😉

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