Friday, January 30, 2009

Theodora - the name

It's funny that some are having trouble with the name Theodora that we have picked out for our new bundle of joy.

Some, in our family, have suggested 'Thea' instead of 'Theo' as the shortened version. But why?

Samantha becomes 'Sam' which is a boys name, Joanne becomes 'Jo', Phyllis becomes 'Phil'... or is it because Theodora is not so common that people struggle with it?

We didn't choose it for any particular reason - just loved it and thought Theo sounded cute. It's a beautiful strong name. When she grows up, Theo can be a 'Dora', 'Theo', 'Thea' or whatever she chooses but now she is Theo.

Artist: Meister von San Vitale in Ravenna
circa 547 - mosaic - location: The Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy

I have finally googled the name Theodora to find out the history. I had heard it was Greek & Byzantine, meant 'gift of the gods' and that Theodora was a Byzantine Empress.

Theodora (Greek) (c. 500 - 548) was empress of the Byzantine Empire and wife of Emperor Justinian I. Like her husband, she is a saint in the Orthodox Church. Theodora was perhaps the most influential and powerful woman in the Byzantine Empire's history.

In the writings of her life she was an actress, prostitute and dancer. Then Justinian fell violently in love with her, keeping her first as mistress then raised her to patrician rank. Through him Theodora was able immediately to acquire an unholy power and exceedingly great riches. She seemed to him the sweetest thing in the world, and like all lovers, he desired to please his charmer with every possible favour and requite her with all his wealth.

Theodora participated in Justinian's legal and spiritual reforms, and her involvement in the increase of the rights of women was substantial. Garland points several laws of Justinian who seem surprisingly favorable to women. Theodora had laws passed that closed brothels. She also expanded the rights of women in divorce and property ownership, instituted the death penalty for rape, forbade exposure of unwanted infants, gave mothers some guardianship rights over their children, and forbade the killing of a wife who committed adultery.

Read more here...
she's done so much I can't write it all out!

Interestingly, Teodora, a variant, is among the top 10 most popular names for girls born in Serbia between 2003-2005.


citrus daisy said...

I am biased of course because my lovely daughter who is now 2 & 8months is called Thea. I fell in love with the name when I was about 5 months pregnant with her. Yes for you it is probably something different people struggle with... but they will get it in the end. I reckon Theodora is lovely and gives her so many choices in years to come. Congratulations...

meet me at mikes - crafty! said...

Well... that Theodora was totally hardcore and (apart from the hooker dalliance) an excellent chick all round. I love Theo for a girl. I think you chose a lovely name.

Our cat is a girl, and she's called Mike.. so I think you should do what you guys think is right and everything will turn out just super.


Kara said...

Thanks guys! We love the name and want something a little classic but unique. Yes, the original Theodora certainly was a 'ground breaker' in so many ways!!!

Skye Rocket Sews said...

That's the thing about having a baby,everyone has an opinion and it's really hard not to take things to heart.
It's perfect,she look's like a Theo.
I did think she was a boy for a nanosecond,but then you said Theodora it fit's,right?
She really looks like your partner,like my girl's when they were born.Not your partner,mine :)
I was chatting to you in the madeit forums a few months back,so congrats and good to see you are all doing well.
It's such a special time,your first baby.
Well done!!!!!

Kara said...

Hi there... yeah I know... but its funny how people project their wishes on you!
It doesnt help that we dress Theo in stripes and stuff rather than pink all the time, so we get a lot of 'how old is he' - hee hee!

Toria said...

Theodora is a beautiful name, and Theo seems a good shortening of it for me. But then I do know a Sam & several Jo's, all girls.

"It doesnt help that we dress Theo in stripes and stuff rather than pink all the time, so we get a lot of 'how old is he' - hee hee!" - I don't think it matters, I've had a daughter in a ruffly pink outfit & have still had her called a him.

Jo said...

It's a great name! It is beautiful and strong like you said.

Theodora said...

I am a Theodora and I am so proud of my name. I don't like it when people call me Dorothy or Dora but I love the Theo. I guess because it's cute and personal. Theodora is nice for the signature and I love its meaning! It makes me feel classic and I appreciate my parents selecting it for me, much like your daughter will one day as well! :)