Galatea

I’ve no idea what the inspiration for covering this name is, but here we are.

The name Galatea comes from the ever-fruitful pool of Greek mythology names, as she was borne by one of the Nereids with a less than happy tale: she had a rather tragic love affair with a shepherd by the name of Acis. The story ends with Acis being killed in a fit of rage by Galatea’s suitor.

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to put you off the name.

Indeed, I see her as a rather pretty name, which incidentally has no relation to the similar sounding Galilea.

You see, Galilea is the feminine form of Galileo, an Italian name of Latin origin which means either of Galilee or the Galilean.

On the other hand you have Galatea, which is of Greek origins. The first element of the name, gala, means milk and thus the name is said to mean milky-white woman.

There is however an alternate suggestion for the meaning of the name, which suggest the name instead derives from galene, which can be interpreted to mean calm, gentle (sea).

So, in a way, there is a link between the names Galatea and Galilea since both could possibly have sea-related meanings.

Now, just because this name may seem to be a little far-out it is worth mentioning the link to British life – there have been no less than 8 HMS Galateas, who all served the British Royal Navy.

Now, I kid ye not (and don’t I often find myself saying those 4 words?), there exists a naming committee within the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which is responsible for assigning names to new ships. Generally speaking, they tend to reuse names again and again, hence why there have been 8 HMS Galateas, rather than just one. There has also been at least one ship in the Royal Navy’s service with the name Galathee and another named simply Gala.

And thus, Galatea sudden becomes an attractive option if you’re looking for a not-so-obvious nod to the Royal Navy. I should mention here, that there are no HMS Galateas currently in service; the last one was decommissioned in 1987, whereas the first one was launched way back in 1776.

The final thing I wanted to mention about the name is that one of the moons of Neptune is called Galatea.

And if that doesn’t convince you that Galatea is a fabulous name, I throw my hands up in despair.

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Categories: Name Profile | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Galatea

  1. cristinajanusz

    Gorgeous name. She was once on my list with the nicknames Gala or Tea. (I pronounce it gah-lah-tay-uh, but I know others pronounce it more correctly as gala-tee-uh). I recall she was in some Robin Williams movie.

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  2. Beautiful name! I love the Moon of Neptune connection, as there is always seems to be something magical sounding about space & galaxy names.

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  3. Gala Brand, from the James Bond novel/film “Moonranker” was indeed named after one of the ships named “Galatea” from the British Navy, as her father was a sailor on one of them. It’s a very English name!

    Another Galatea from mythology is the statue of the nymph carved by Pygmalion, who so fell in love with his own handiwork that Aphrodite answered his slightly creepy prayer and brought her to life for him. As this was the inspiration for Shaw’s “Pygmalion” then “My Fair Lady” – another English literary connection!

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