A Gehennese baby is given his or her name on the tenth day after his or her birth. This is the occasion of a family celebration, and a time when gifts are given to the child (although many will be practical gifts useful to the parents in raising or caring for the child).

There is a pool of native Gehennese names often given to Gehennese children, besides which babies are sometimes named for flowers, gems, natural features, etc. Foreign names are frequently borrowed in naming Gehennese children, for euphony, to flatter foreign-named friends of teh parents, because of their meanings, or in reference to favourite stories and legends. Elusian names are an important class of these: these are natural to the Elusian-speaking educated classes, and are imitated for their upper-class sound by pretentious members of the lower orders.

The surnames which are employed to further distinguish people have no formal status, and are prone to vary with time and place: many people have several. They often refer to profession, rank, place or birth or residence, or personal or physical characteristics. Titles of rank (Anaxos, Aretos, Kyrion, Kreion etc.) or office (too many to list) are used exactly like surnames. So for example the same man is referred to as “Jasper of Suvein”, “Jasper Anaxos” (his rank), Jasper Polemarkhos (his office), “Jasper Deinos” (= “the Terrible”, a personal characteristic), and “Jasper the Tall” (a physical characteristic).

For legal purposes, people are identified by their name, their father’s name, their father’s profession at the time of their naming, and the place (city) of their birth. The aforementioned Jasper is legally “Jasper, son of Palamon Anaxos, of Suvein”. It is in this form that names are recorded on the citizenship rolls in the later historical periods.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.