The Great Greek Mystery (or Why I had a TL named Ulysses)


If you’re my age (27) or thereabouts and live in the Philippines, you’re likely to know or have known at least a few people named Nestor, Ulysses, Hercules, or any other great Greek mythological figure.  I myself had a neighbor named Nestor, a Team Leader named Ulysses, and once drew and wrote a comic strip for a man named Hercules.  I’d always thought this was peculiar.  Not that these are bad names by any means, it’s just that I find it extremely odd that Filipinos would name their children after Greeks, especially since we have no cultural ties with them whatsoever.  Jose and Juan and Michael and Ryan are easy enough to understand, given our former colonial masters, but Hector?

What singularity brought about the sudden grecophilia that gave this generation of children their unique names, I wondered.  I think I may have found the answer.  I did a bit of google work, researching movies about Troy.  My rationale was that it must have been some sort of pop cultural device that brought Filipinos to the the story of the Iliad.  Lo and behold, in 1956 a movie called Hlen Troy was released.  In the spirit of epics like Ben-Hur, which were popular at the time, the movie was released at almost the perfect time to influence young Filipino minds into naming their children after great Greek heros.  This may also explain why there are many women in that same age group who are namedHelen and corresponds with the “Helen Theory”, in which my college friends claim that almost 90% of the women that work in National bookstore are named Helen.

I’m obviously pulling this out of y ass, so if anyone has done any real research into this topic (and I don’t see why you wouldn’t), please do let me know what you’ve found out.


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