What is the oldest name still in use?

Here's a question for you:  what is the oldest name still used by people today?

I had this fun conversation with Aven and Amalia on twitter yesterday, and we weren't able to come to a decisive answer.  Aven cleverly suggested Eve.  Amalia thought maybe Krishna.  My idea was Inana, who appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Some rules:

It has to be a name either written down or provably used by a real person of ancient times.

To be counted as still in use it has to be a name chosen by parents or in some sense natural (i.e. not one deliberately adopted in later life).

The floor is open for suggestions!


7 comments:

Anthony said...

According to the galacticpedia, the oldest name still in use is the common name Heshwa, which is an old sish word for “huntress.” When the sish created the galactic lexicon, they incorporated about 6% of the old sish tongue. There are more old navarian words in the lexicon than there are any of the other languages combined, possibly because of the poetic inflection of navarian curses.

But I digress. Heshwa is still in use as a familiar female name by all the species that use the common lexicon, with the most use seen in the UPT (United Planets of Terra), where fascination for the female-only sish species still holds artistic sway in literary and holo works. On the old terran time scale, Heshwa was recorded first in use by the sish approximately 165,000 B.C.

It is with some amusement the most common name for females across all species is “Elizabeth” due to the popularity of the all-navarian cast of the mega-series “Elizabeth, Daughter of Henry.” Considering EDH sold over 34 billion unlimited use licenses, this is not surprising.

Gary Corby said...

Anthony, that is...truly impressive.

Jane | @janelebak said...

See, I was going to come in here and be snarky and say "Adam" and "Eve" are both in use, so… but Anthony had a better response. :-)

Peter Rozovsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Rozovsky said...

Assuming you wish to restrict the field to our universe, some people think Esther comes from Ishtar, which takes us back at lease to the Epic of Gilgamesh. And if Tammy goes back to Tammuz, we're getting similarly far back into the ancient Near East.

Gary Corby said...

I like your Ishtar idea, Peter. I didn't realize about Tammy being cognate with Tammuz.

If the oldest name isn't Mesopotamian, then I guess it'd have to be a name from an inscription somewhere. I wonder if any of those incredibly ancient inscribed Chinese ox bones have names on them?

Peter Rozovsky said...

Note that I was just speculating about Tamar and Tammuz!