Friday, February 27, 2009

What's In a Name?

A lot of people ask us our daughter's name when we are out and about and of course the most popular reaction is :"Oh what a beautiful name! It's so unusual! Where does it come from? What does it mean?" I've been thinking about getting another tattoo to commemorate Sybilla's birth, and I wanted something that played on the meaning of her name, "prophetess." The name itself is derived from the Greek word for prophet (sibyl); and truth be told, Michael and I got it from a movie, Kingdom of Heaven.

When we were choosing names, we had a slew of boy names, but we couldn't decide on a girl name. One day we were listening to the score from the movie and the track titled "Sibylla" flashed across the display in the car. We both saw it and knew that was it. We changed the spelling from Si to Sy as the result of a spelling mistake. We knew that Sibylla was a real person, the queen of Jerusalem during the Second Crusades, and we also knew that there had been a Princess Sibylla of Sweden within the last 200 years. Good enough for us! While searching for tattoo inspirtion, I googled my daughter's name and here is what I found:
  • Sybilla is the name of an Alfred Hitchcock movie from 1960.
  • Sybilla Masters is the first female inventor on record for America. She was a colonist who invented a way for cleaning and curing corn crops that colonists received from the Native Americans (basically a special kind of mill to grind it).
  • The USS Sybilla III was a naval war "yacht" from 1917-1918. This was the second of five names for the ship. It was actually owned by a civilian and was commissioned by the Navy for both WWI and WWII! It was decommissioned in the late '40's and presumably sold for scrap at that time.
  • Sybilla Beckmann Kazez is a famous mathematician at the University of Georgia who specializes in number theory.
  • Sybilla Palmifera is the name of a painting by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, a painter from the 1800's. Beautiful!
  • Sybilla is the name of a "prediction engine applying neural network analysis methodologies to IP data."
  • Sybilla's Disco was the name of a disco that Beatle George Harrison invested in back in the 60's.
  • Sybilla is also the name of a European research program: "SYBILLA, systems biology of T-cell activation in health and disease, is a European Union-funded large integrated project in framework program 7 (FP7). It is funded for 5 years with 11.1 mio Euro and started in April 2008. It has 14 scientific and 3 industrial partners from 11 countries, lead by Dr. Wolfgang Schamel, Max Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg, Germany, as the scientific coordinator. The goal of SYBILLA is to understand the intracellular signalling network of T cells that determines T cell fate."
  • Sybilla pretiosa (aka Cryptic Mantis) is the scientific name of a species of praying mantis!
  • The Sybilla Contest for Museum Event of the Year award ceremony takes place on May 18 at the International House of Museums. The winners of the main award obtain the Sybilla—a statuette by the renowned Polish sculptor Zofia Wolska.

  • There is a Hotel Sibylla in Delphi, Greece, the home of the Oracle. The word 'sibyl' means prophet or oracle in Greek.
  • There is a German sporano named Sibylla Rubens (apparently Sibylla/Sybilla/Sibylle is to Germany what Kelly is to Ireland!)
  • There's an Australian actress named Sibylla Budd. She does mostly TV.
  • And lastly, my favorite of all..."Sybilla" is a slang term: "to take, hold, or steal your heart. a person who is a soulmate. a good lover."
Whatever she goes by, our little rose by any other name is still as sweet. If she ever has a little sister, we've got a tough act to follow!

Good night everybody!

P.S. And in case you were wondering, her middle name, Kathleen, is in honor of my cousin Katy!

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