She’s known to history as a woman scorned. Is it any wonder that few parents have embraced this one for their daughters?
Thanks to Photoquilty for suggesting Medea as Name of the Day.
Medea has a lovely sound, either pronounced meh DEE ah or meh DAY ah. Her meaning is pleasing, too – either from the Greek medesthai, to consider, or the related medos, cunning.
Unfortunately, her story is tragic. In Greek mythology, Medea was a princess, and possibly a witch. Depending on the story, she wasn’t just nobly born – she could point to gods on her family tree. After helping Jason retrieve the Golden Fleece, the pair tied the knot and settled down to raise a family.
Wedded bliss eluded the pair. When Jason was offered a more advantageous marriage, he happily agreed to put aside his wife and children. In a fit of rage and vengeance, Medea killed her rival, her children or both.
The name has attracted more attention of late, thanks to Tyler Perry’s Madea. While the fictional matriach isn’t exactly the kind of character to inspire parents, she has made the name more familiar. As it happens, Madea is a nickname – she’s named Mabel Simmons. (And played by Tyler Perry himself!) Madea isn’t derived from Mabel; instead, it is a twist on Madear, a contracted form of “Mother Dear” – an affectionate address for a grandmother in the American South.
A handful of Medeas do appear in the US Census over the years. But she’s never made the Top 1000.
Can her attractive sound and long history be separated from her backstory? That’s tricky. Plenty of Biblical bad girls have been rehabilitated in recent years. And Jason’s popularity certainly wasn’t hurt by his exploits.
It may be that Madea is holding Medea back from being rediscovered – at least for now.