1. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    What's in a name? - A dilemma.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by psychotick, Feb 11, 2012.

    Hi,

    As some of you may know I published Pawn three days ago, and have already got my first bit of feedback about it (from my sister). In amongst what she said, she mentioned one thing that I knew was going to come up when I wrote the book, the name of a character.

    Put simply the character is Agent Dike who wanders around as both an interpol agent, and later as the ancient Greek goddess of justice. (I didn't make that name up.) Of course readers are going to read Dike and draw their own conclusions about the slighting of female figures in positions of authority etc.

    My question is do I pull the book, make the changes and create a fictitious ancient Greek goddess of justice when all the other gods and goddesses are based on actual mythology? Or do I let it ride and wait the storm of criticism I'm sure will come.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  2. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    It's all about the way it's spelled versus the way it's pronounced - in Greek Δίκη would be said 'dee-kay' or 'dee-kee' rather than the monosyllabic 'Dyke' which seems to be where the disparaging connotation comes in. I'm not sure whether spelling it phonetically would work, or just undermine your theme because it changes the Greek name. But honestly, even with my background in classical Greek I still read it as 'Agent Dyke' ;)
     
  3. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Dike LMAO





    No that name is perfect.
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whatever possessed you to choose that name? :D
    I don't know, I'd probably leave it, there is a reason why you wanted it there in the first place.
    About your second question, I am not sure if I got it right, but the Greek goddess of justice is Athena, a very famous goddess, so if you already have Greek gods, most people would wonder what the hell happened to Athena and why is this Dike now it, imo.
     
  5. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    I'd change it to one of the phonetic versions suggested by kallithrix. I thought Deekay, or perhaps Dekay? Of course, then it sounds like Decay... oy, you can't catch break, can you! :D

    Or I'd change it to something completely different. jazzabel is right about Athena being goddess of justice. The problem with Athena is that it may be too familiar for readers and therefore come off as corny (?). Does it have to be a Greek goddess? Maybe you can look to other cultures for something equally meaningful but less familiar?
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a greek goddess of justice is 'dike' [pronounced 'dee-kee' in greek], not athena, who is the goddess of wisdom, among other things...

    to solve your dilemma [and dilemma it surely is!], why not change dike to themis [tem-ees], who is another greek goddess aligned with justice?...

    leaving 'dike' in place is definitely not a good idea, imo... will give most readers an altogether wrong idea about your character and your reasons for having given her that name...
     
  7. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    Athena is known primarily as goddess of wisdom, but according to wikipedia she's also goddess of "... courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill."

    But, yes. When we think of Athena, we tend to think wisdom. At least I did until today! I like mamma's suggestion of themis.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Unfortunately Themis is the Goddess of divine justice, Dike the goddess of moral justice and social order. I did check that out. Athena's role in justice and law and order is relatively minor and completely superceeded by her roles as the goddess of wisdom, philosophy, courage, strategy etc. She could not fit the role I needed her to, and her name would be instantly recognisable which would give the game away somewhat.

    I'm thinking about changing it slightly to give the name an accent above the e which I have seen it written with. Maybe that'll be enough.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    As per wikipedia, as well as what is clearly stated in most overviews of Greek mythology, this is what it says:
    "In Greek religion and mythology, Athena or Athene ( /əˈθiːnə/ or /əˈθiːniː/; Attic: Ἀθηνᾶ, Athēnā or Ἀθηναία, Athēnaia; Epic: Ἀθηναίη, Athēnaiē; Ionic: Ἀθήνη, Athēnē; Doric: Ἀθάνα, Athana), also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene ( /ˈpæləs/; Παλλὰς Ἀθηνᾶ; Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη), is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill."

    As for Dike:
    "In ancient Greek culture, Dikē (Greek: Δίκη, English translation: "justice") was the spirit of moral order and fair judgement based on immemorial custom, in the sense of socially enforced norms and conventional rules."

    So Athena is the goddess of justice. Personally, I always think of her as the goddess of justice and wisdom, as both are closely linked.
    I am not saying that choosing Dike over Athena was a bad idea though, for all the reasons OP stated.
     
  10. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well, actually in the Greek pantheon ZEUS is the mac daddy god of justice, the law giver, the cosmic judge of all. Athena has a sidekick role in justice at best ;-)
     
  11. Jamez
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    Jamez Member

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    Where's your story set? If it were the UK, she could be D.I. Ke or somethin' ;)

    Thinking outside of the box a little: what's the Roman equivalent God? Maybe she chose her Roman name as an alias to better hide who she really was. Or maybe use a different name altogether? Or call her Athena because it's so obvious. Hiding out in the open, so to speak. Or go with Dike and make her resent the fact that everybody makes that association with her name.

    Pick one. Good luck! :p
     
  12. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    What if you named her D.K.?

    Then it would actually be pronounced more like the Greek version.
     
  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, you are right, because he put himself in charge of the entire Olympus after he liberated all his brothers and sisters from Cronos' stomach. Athena is just his daughter and as such, subservient. But technically, Zeus is a god of sky and thunder.
     
  14. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    To be honest, it sounds like you're getting your info off Wikipedia, whereas (trumpet blowing imminent) having a Masters in Classical Greek I know a little bit about Greek mythology and theology.

    Zeus was the guardian of fate, he who holds the scales and tested the fates of men, ensuring that not even the gods could interfere with man's destiny; he was protector of guest friendships (xenia) and so known as Zeus Xenios, also protector of the state (polis), therefore Zeus Polieus; protector of suppliants, therefore Zeus Hikesios, and punished any infringement of a man's rights when asking for a god's protection or seeking sanctuary at a temple, therefore known as Zeus soter (protector); he also adjudicated over the dispute between Hades and Demeter over Persephone.

    All this makes him de facto god of justice. Athena was only known as a goddess of justice in the context of Athenian justice, credited with creating a model for their judicial system when she brought an end to the cycle of vengeance perpetrated by the house of Atreus (read Aeschylus' Eumenides).
     
  15. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi all,

    In the end I compromised this morning and reworked the book and went with Dikē. I don't even know what that funny symbol is above the 'e' but since I found it in an online textbook I'll assume it's legit. I just hope it gives readers enough distance from dyke.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh Kallithrix... I am not challenging your degree, why would I? You are right but also, I know what I am saying and why I am saying it.
    I have read all the Greek and Roman myths while I was still at school, and even though I am aware of Zeus being the arbitrator as you describe, all I was saying is that for me, and lots of people I know, when someone mentions "justice" and "Greek goddess" I think Athena.
    There are many things in many different fields of study that laypersons will think and an expert in the field will poo poo, but in my experience, I can explain some of those concepts 'till I'm blue in the face, people will still make the associations that the popular culture encourages.
    And regardless of what you are saying, lots of people, for many centuries now, associate Athena with justice. As seen in Tarot card titled "Justice" which, since early 13th, 14th century (Tarot de Marseilles, one of the earliest and still most popular decks), shows Athena holding a sword and scales.
    I don't have a degree in Classical Greek, and I have copied the sentences from wiki purely as a reference, so that nobody can come around and say "where are your references"?

    That sounds great :) And I am sorry for going off topic with this thread.
     
  17. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Oh, alright. We shall both claim a victory here - a sort of phyrric victory, where neither side really wins or loses ;)
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to whoever asked about the roman version of dike, it's justitia...
     
  19. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agreed :D
     
  20. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Not claiming any great knowlege of ancient Greel mythology here, but Lady justice with the scales etc is generally thought to be based on Dike, Themis and mostly Justitia.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    while dike and themis are indeed greek ['Greel' (sic) ;) ]goddesses, justitia is a roman counterpart...
     

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