1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Need help brainstorming name for my Ancient Greece detective.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Link the Writer, Dec 31, 2011.

    This is basically the gist of it:

    The thing starts in 401 BC, two years before Socrates' death and it's about one of his students, named Anaximander who solves murder mysteries in Athens, Greece.

    Problem? There was a philospher named Anaximander, so if this kid's named Anaximander as well...wouldn't that confuse people?

    I could mention it in dialogue where Socrates asks the boy why he's named this way and the boy replys that his father liked Anaximander, etc.

    Still, I don't want to confuse people.
     
  2. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I think it propably would.
    I mean when I think of past rulers like the Pharoahs, they use the first/the second/the great..and judgin by the history of the romans or the greeks they only had one name one person.
    They did not have that concept of passing their names their kids/family.
    They did not think it was important.
    So I think you should follow in the same track and just find another name.
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I am sure there was all kinds of people with the same names in ancient Greece. Just like there is people with the same names today; so I see no problem with it. Your readers will be smart enough to realize your character is not a philosopher and is an obvious detective.
     
  4. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Cacian, you are completely incorrect. In fact, there is a very ancient tradition of naming convention in Greek families - basically your eldest son would be named after his paternal Grandfather, so you would have generations of eldest sons going back in the male line with alternating names. They might also name sons after their fathers, uncles, or any other prominent ancestor, so your comment is complete rubbish and stated out of ignorance.

    I'm not sure sure that people would have been named after prominent citizens, unless they were slaves - slaves were often given grand sounding names out of amusement. For instance, an aristocrat of an oligarchic persuasion might find it amusing to call his slave Perikles, to make fun of the democratic party.

    Anyway, I think it would be a little confusing to have your main character named after a famous philosopher if that character had absolutely no other connection to the historical figure other than the name. Why is it so important to call him that? If his namesake is not significant to the plot I'd pick another.
     
  5. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Honestly, 95% of the people reading his book will never have heard the name before; the other 5% who know the name already will know who the philosopher was and will know right away it isn't him.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That's what I figured. I mean, I had no idea there was a Greek philosopher named Anaximander until last semester. The only big philosophers I knew existed before I took the Greek/Roman history class were Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates.

    If I had read a book this time last year, when I wasn't taking that Greek/Roman history course and saw that the protagonist was named 'Anaximander', I would have assumed it was a regular Greek man named 'Anaximander' unless told otherwise by the author.

    I picked the name for my character because I thought it fitting since he's under tutalage from a philosopher.

    I do get where the others are saying, though. If someone well-versed in Ancient Greek history saw the book, they might get flustered at first if they see 401 BC and Anaximander together; assume that I fail at research and not want to read the book.
     
  7. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    PLEASE tell me you didn't just write that? Most people, even uneducated ones, have heard of Alexander the Great and have some inkling that he was Greek. And if you yourself don't know that Alexander is a Greek name, what are you writing a Greek historical novel for??
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Sorry, sorry. Wasn't thinking. Yes, I've heard of Alexander the Great. Don't worry, I know.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    *cough* Macedonian *cough*
     
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  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yes. He was a Macedonian king, taking over after his father, Philip II was assassinated in 336 BC. He [Philip II] conquered Athens a few years before. Alexander was by his side, as a good son should be.

    I think he [Philip II again] was laughing himself sick at all the shmucks who kept calling him a useless barbarian from a land not worth mentioning.
     
  11. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Actually, the area that was THEN known as Macedon is in modern day Greece - the modern country of FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) is called by Greeks Skopje. They refuse to acknowledge it as Macedonia, which is just a name they stole, as far as they are concerned.

    So, although a 4th century Athenian wouldn't have called Alexander Greek, because he spoke a different language, and for the most part was considered no better than a barbarian goat herder, to say he was not Greek is debatable. He was certainly responsible for the hellenisation of most of the known world, and brought Greek language and culture to Egypt, the Persian empire and even into India. And what makes someone Greek anyway? Try telling a Greek that Alexander is Macedonian and see how long you remain standing ;-)
     
  12. arron89
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    I wouldn't dispute that he was responsible for Hellenising the ancient world, but there's no disputing his Macedonian heritage--despite having a Greek mother, he was (and remains) Alexander III of Macedon. To do so is nothing short of Revisionism, which is the kind of thing writers need to be careful about when writing about history, especially an area of history as well recorded as Alexander's reign.
     
  13. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Like I said, he was king of a country which is now part of Greece. I'm not disputing he was King of Macedon, or that Greek considered him a Barbarian. But saying Alexander the Great wasn't Greek is like saying that Chicken Tikka Masala isn't British.

    hehe
     
  14. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    It kind of goes back and forth between him actually being Greek, and him wishing he was actually Greek.

    This article says it the best out of the few sources I just read:

    http://historyofmacedonia.wordpress.com/2006/12/29/is-alexander-the-great-greek/

    P.S. I had the best Indian food of my life in Birmingham.
     
  15. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I'm not convinced. Birthplace and lineage is what matters, not where he ended up. I'd contest the anecdotal argument too; it might be popular in Britain, but it's Indian food. Alexander was a Greek general, but a Macedonian by birth. It was an important distinction then, and it's an important distinction now. Alexander was raised as a Macedonian and served the Macedonian army long before he commanded the Greeks. The dynamics of that position of being an outsider to Greece are integral to his character and his ascension--to say he was Greek is to gloss over some of the most interesting aspects of the myth he has become.
     
  16. iabanon
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    I don't think there was anything like a detective in ancient anywhere. You might want to research heirarchy and positions held by people in those days. My understanding is that Police weren't invented until hundreds of years later in England. I apologize if you have done research and found otherwise, but I'm going by what I know.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    whether or not there were actual 'detectives' in ancient times doesn't matter... the point is this guy solves crimes, period!... and crime-solvers in olden times is common enough in fiction... eco's 'the name of the rose' for instance... go farther back and you'll find many 'detective novels' set in ancient rome...

    as for your greek 'tec' link, i'd advise against naming him anaximander simply because it's an awkward name for many readers to read and/or pronounce... a more relevant name, imo, would be diogenes, since the most well-known greek by that name is the fellow who went around with a lantern, claiming to be seeking 'an honest man'... which would fit in, albeit a bit obliquely, with one who solves crimes...
     
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  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm reading detective novels set in Ancient Egypt as well, so I agree with you. 8)

    Diogenes? Good idea. I recant all my previous posts insisting he'd be called that other name. Pretend you didn't see them. They do not exist. <attempts Jedi mind trick wave>

    Even better, he's an average Greek person. I'm thinking to make it more realistic, he should be in his early 20s. Married? I'm not sure. I think he would have to get married, no?

    Maybe he can be a fisherman? Or...a pottery-maker? Maybe a pottery-maker would be best for Diogenes.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a wife could either complicate things, or make it more interesting, depending on your plot... early 20s is pretty young to have the knowledge and experience to be a good detective, though... however, a more mature pottery-maker would know about all kinds of chemicals and other stuff useful for detecting... keep brainstorming and i'm sure you'll come up with a good combo...
     
  20. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Birmingham is the curry capital of the world - well, outside India, obviously. The other week I also had the best curry of my life there, in a Punjabi restaurant called Pushkar. I've eaten a fair few curries in Brum, but that was something else. And every single person I was with (including several Asians) agreed it was the best curry they'd had too. We Brits do love our curry. No wonder it's now regarded as our national cuisine ;-)

    P.S no I'm not enployed by Pushkar restaurant! ;-)
     
  21. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I Imagine that Indian food for England is what Mexican food is for California. :D

    But seriously, I have been to England five times and every time I have to get Indian food and fish-n-chips; they have to be wrapped in newspaper as well. I swear it adds flavor, haha.

    I love England; I wish I could go more. I especially love the old architecture. America looks so, "new," and I mean that it in a bad way.
     
  22. astroannie
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    You could give him a name meaning hook-nose or some physical feature. Or maybe call him Cartboy for playing with a toy cart when he was a toddler or somesuch.
     
  23. Kallithrix
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    Well, that could be a nickname I guess, but he would have a proper Greek personal name as well. The Greeks didn't really go in for nicknames in the same way as the Romans did - in Roman naming convention the cognomen (third name) started out as a nickname, hence you get Marcus Tullius Cicero - cicero meaning 'chickpea'. Or Publius Cornelius Tacitus - Tacitus meaning 'silent'.

    Many Greek names are a reflection of class or status - names with 'hippos' in them show they are a member of the equestrian class, i.e. wealthy, because hippos means horse - 'Phillip' means 'lover of horses', Melanippos means 'black horse'.

    They can also be a reflection of political affiliation - Demosthenes means 'strength of the people'. Or it can be an expression of national pride, i.e. Nikolaos (Nicholas) meaning 'victory of the people'.

    I'd recommend you pick a name that has some significance to his character, so look at sites like http://www.behindthename.com/names/usage/greek
     
  24. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Honestly? When I first saw the name I thought, "But he didn't live at that time..." then I thought, "Maybe it's a different Anaximander."

    I think clarifying he's named after someone is a good idea, if you don't decide to change it. But I do like the name.
     

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