Monday, September 3, 2012

Calliope


Calliope is one of the prettiest (in my opinion) names from Greek Mythology. Pronounced kah-LY-oh-pee, she was one of the nine Muses that were the inspiration of poetry, music and dance. Specifically, Calliope was the muse of epic poetry, and was thought to be the muse of Homer, the author of "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad". The meaning of Calliope is 'beautiful voiced', which is possibly why the musical instrument you hear when on a merry go round was given the same name.

Some may find Calliope slightly hard to say - I've heard of people confusing it with Cauliflower or Cantaloupe. Which makes me think they weren't really making any effort to understand it. Strange. This problem should lessen as we see more characters in television and books with this name. In the 80's, 'Days of Our Lives' had a quirky character named Calliope. In current times, Dr Calliope Torres on 'Grey's Anatomy' goes by the more familiar Callie. There are also central characters in Jeffrey Eugenides' novel "Middlesex", Amy Carter's "Goddess Test" and Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler's "Scrambled Eggs at Midnight" with this name.

I feel that Calliope has a magical, musical quality to it. Some might say it is a big, fanciful name that would be hard for a girl to wear if she wasn't particularly talented in the creative arts. But not everyone will be immediately aware of the musical and creative connections with this name. For me, Calliope actually falls into the category of beautiful, feminine names with spunkier nicknames that make it easier to wear in everyday life. Cute nicknames of Poppy, Calli and Calla spring to mind. Or another option is to spell Kalliope with a K, which gives the longer version a slightly less classic, more modern feel. I think this is one name we'll slowly start seeing more of in the future.

6 comments:

  1. I once wrote a character named Calliope, nn Callie, who was named after her grandma Poppy. Only people who didn't know her well called her by her full name. I guess I liked the name better than she did, although she loved that she was named for her grandma.

    I have heard the name being used on girls now, and I think it's a beautiful choice.

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  2. I think I prefer it spelled Kalliope, because not only is that closer to the Ancient Greek (so maybe actually more classic?), but it also distinguishes it from the musical instrument.

    Pretty name! So far I have only seen it as a middle name.

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  3. I agree with you about her being such a pretty name, I do love her, although because I prefer Callisto I've never really paid much attention to her.

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  4. Calliope is beautifull BUT it's a huge housing project in New Orleans and is often in rap songs... I think you'd have to NOT live in Louisiana to use this name. :)

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  5. As a (recently graduated) literature major, I love the name Calliope, but I also have a quick correction- Eugenides' Calliope was in his novel "Middlesex" ("Middlemarch" is a novel by George Eliot, written over a century earlier).

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    1. Thanks for picking up my oversight! This has now been corrected :)

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