Tethys

Saturn’s moon, Tethys, from seasky.org

Today is my Nana’s 80th birthday! So a very happy birthday to her.

As a vague celebration, today we’re looking in depth at the name Tethys which is said either TEE-this or TEH-thiz.

It’s only really when it comes to the meaning of the name that it sudden becomes clear as to why covering this name today is apt because Tethys derives from Greek têthê and means grandmother. Of course, the name may also related to another Greek word, têthos, which means oyster.

But we’re sticking with the grandmother meaning, which shouldn’t be offputting at all. Remember Lola? She’s used as a name for grandmother in some parts of the world, in other parts of the world the name Nonna or Nona is used. Indeed, Nana and Nanna could also be used as names in other places. Marginamia recently spoke about the possibility of using Mum, which is what I call my own mother.

I guess with these names, it’s also a matter of which culture the child is being raised in because what’s a rude word some places, is the name of her Royal Hotness [insert sniggers here] in other places (if you’re wondering, we’re talking Pippa which is a less than nice word in Sweden).

In Greek Mythology, Tethys was a Titan and Goddess of the sea. She was the wife of Oceanus, and the mother of the Ocenaids. Since they number into the thousands, I’m not going to list them all but here are the names of a handful or so:

  • Asterope
  • Calypso
  • Cleodora
  • Dione
  • Electra
  • Ephyra
  • Europa
  • Ianthe
  • Merope
  • Nephele
  • Xanthe

It is possible that Tethys was the Greek mythology version of the Akkadian Goddess Tiamat, whose name means sea in Akkadian.

Another point to make about Tethys is that if you’re on the market for a name from the sky above us, one of the moons of Saturn is known as Tethys.

What’s more, in the Mesozoic Era, there was also an ocean which has since been dubbed the Tethys ocean – no doubt inspired by the mythology character. It existed between the then-continents of Laurasia and Gondwana. These days Laurasia has become Europe, sans the Balkans area, N.America and Asia, sans India. Most of the rest of the world today came from Gondwana, including India and the Balkans.

The most similar name to Tethys will be the remarkably similar name Tetha, the name of another Cornish saint whose origins are, like many other Cornish saints, unclear. She was a daugher of Brychan, like Endellion, and some sources spell her name Tedda. Her name most likely means tribe of the people.

What do you think of the name Tethys?

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Categories: Name Profile | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Tethys

  1. Happy birthday to your Nana!

    I think Tethys is really striking – I love all its ancient and sea-like associations. I think I prefer Tedda though, which is rather cute and nickname-friendly.

    Like

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