The Game of the Name: Honoria

Hello, and welcome back to the blog.

My apologies for missing this last Sunday. It was a fairly busy weekend for me and I quite simply forgot to post. I know it’s not a good excuse, but it’s the one I’ve got.

So, in case you didn’t read the title: we’re doing The Game of the Name again, and since I’ve Kept Calm and Blogged About Relatively Normal Names, I figure that it’s time to get a little bit funky fresh. We’re jumping from Sarah’s understandable, classic name faves to, well, quite a ways down the rabbit hole, if not near the bottom.

This week’s name is Honoria. (Pronunciation: ah-NOR-ee-uh. More or less phonetical.)

Now, I randomly came across this name through *cough cough* fanfiction and I immediately fell in love with it. I’m not going to disclose the name of the work I was reading or the fandom I was in, because I prefer to keep my fanfiction tastes relatively private— but I liked it because it suited the story it was used for. I also like it because it’s old-fashioned. I could see it on a little girl because I have a very gifted imagination, but I’m not going to lie: it’s kind of an old-lady name.

Honoria is that weird maiden aunt that has a huge house and one very spoiled-rotten cat. She’s not like, a cat lady kind of cat lady; she’s like a James Bond villainess cat lady. The cat is pure white and very fluffy and it sits on her lap all day. Honoria uses one room in her giant house; it’s the drawing room or the library and she sits in a tall armchair by the fire, petting her cat and brooding about the guy she didn’t get to marry when she was twenty years old, because he was in Europe for World War II and he really liked Honoria, but he got some French girl pregnant and they had to get married because that was what you did back then. Honoria isn’t mean— but she is very clever, and blunt, and she will tell you exactly what she thinks is wrong with you, and will not apologize if it hurts your feelings. However, she likes children, and she wishes she could have gotten married and been a mother.

I have a very, very clear mental image for this name. I don’t know why.

Anyway, here is some basic information about the name Honoria:

Honoria, obviously means “honor.” It’s a feminization of the late Latin name Honorius, which was the name of an emperor of the Western Roman empire, and later also several saints and popes. Honorius was the emperor during 417 AD, during which time his half-niece Justa Grata Honoria was born.

Now, Justa Grata Honoria is a character. She’s like, the first result you get if you Google the name Honoria. Justa Grata Honoria was born in 417 AD and named for her two maternal aunts and her half-uncle. JGH’s primary claim to fame, however, is a letter. You see, JGH was kind of, um, promiscuous. She slept around for power and personal gain, in short. Her brother, Valentinian III, caught wind of JGH’s sexual activity and decided that she had to be married off, to prevent her from sleeping with someone who could challenge his claim to the Western Roman Empire. He had a marriage all lined up for her, but JGH was super gutsy because she sent a letter, and one of her rings, to Attila the Hun. Yes, you read that correctly— Attila the Hun, conqueror and barbarian. JGH begged Attila the Hun for his help to get out of an unwanted marriage. That, my friends, takes some serious cojones.

Attilla the Hun had been looking for an excuse to gain power in Rome. He decided to interpret JGH’s letter as a proposal of marriage, and he sent notice to Valentinian III that yes, he accepted JGH’s proposal and he would like half of the Western Roman Empire as the dowry payment, thank you very much. Valentinian had no idea this was going on, but when he got Attila’s return letter he was furious and had JGH exiled. Attilla the Hun claimed that the proposal was made in good faith and innocence and invaded Rome because he decided that Valentinian was being a jerk about the whole thing and he just wanted to marry JGH, and get half of the Western Roman Empire, okay?

I’m not kidding. This actually happened. I was laughing when I was reading the story. It’s not really clear what happened to JGH after that, but we all kind of know what happened to Attila the Hun.

Other famous bearers of the name Honoria include: Honoria Somerville Keer, a British physician during World War I; and Honoria Acosta-Sison, the first Filipina doctor.

Fictional bearers of the name Honoria include: Honoria, Lady Dedlock (of Bleak House by Charles Dickens); Honoria Brady (of Barry Lyndon by W.M. Thackeray); and Honoria Glossop (of the Jeeves series by P.G. Wodehouse). Also notable (if not exactly Honoria) is the military science-fiction series called the Honorverse, written by David Weber and starring main character Honor Harrington. The Honorverse series is more or less Horatio Hornblower in space, and it is very, very high on my list of things to read in the future.

Some alternate forms of the name Honoria include English forms: Honora, Honor, Annora, Nonie, Nora, Norah, Noreen, Norene, and Norine; and Irish forms Nóirín and Onóra.

I actually find this very interesting on a personal level because my maternal grandmother’s name is Norine. I had no idea where the name came from, or the linguistic roots. I have a grandmother named Norine and a grandmother named Zeda and since I am named after one of my great-grandmothers, it would be sort of cool to name my daughters after one of their great-grandmothers. But I’m not… overly fond… of either name. My paternal grandmother’s middle name is Pearl (and I was born in June) so I was probably definitely going to use that, but my maternal grandmother Norine doesn’t have a middle name; she’s just Norine Butler, who married and became Norine Allen. So I was sort of not really sure how to incorporate her name into that of a potential future spawn. However, this is literally perfect because I adore the name Honoria so I can use that for a child and it makes sense. I’m literally squirming with happiness right now.

And with that, I’m going to close out today’s post. I know it’s a short one, but I was very occupied with a) the story of Justa Grata Honoria, which is a cool story about some pretty terrible people and b) the connection of Norine and Honoria, which makes me really, incredibly happy.

I also had some good news today. The other day, Gerald wasn’t working properly. (Gerald is my car. Well, he belongs to my parents, but he is more or less my car because I’m the primary driver.) Gerald was having problems getting uphill, he was vibrating wildly whenever I used the brake pedal, and there was a funky smell, and the check engine light was blinking when I went to pick up my little brother. Fun fact: if your check engine light is blinking, you should not attempt to drive the car because it means something major is wrong. So I pulled over and talked to my dad on the phone about it, and James and I were sitting in a no-parking zone on Charles Street in the middle of Red Lion and I was thinking oh no Gerald is borked and I won’t have a car anymore. My dad came and we took Gerald to our mechanic, who was luckily very literally around the corner of where I’d pulled over. We left Gerald and his key there, and since Gerald is kind of an old car, I was worried that my dad wouldn’t consider him worth the cost of repairs.

Fortunately, I just got a call from my dad. It was a loose sparkplug wire and there’s nothing else wrong with Gerald. I am very relieved and very happy that I don’t have to give up my car. I really like having a car.

It’s the little things, you know? I have a working car, I got to learn about Justa Grata Honoria and Attila the Hun, and I can name a daughter Honoria someday because it’s sort of a family name. It’s the little things. There’s a great big thunderstorm outside and I can hear the rain. Today is a really, really good day. I hope I get a lot more days like today.

If you’re looking forward to seeing this blog in the future, consider following. If you want to see Occasional Pictures of My Face and Food I Have Made, you can follow me on Instagram at hypotheticalelephants. If you want to see me being a Whiny, Immature Human, you can follow me on Twitter at sadINFJwriter.


One thought on “The Game of the Name: Honoria

  1. I love great big thunder storms! Also love Honoria, and so happy for you that you get to use it without too many people giving you weird looks. I’m gonna use Zeda as a middle name for my first daughter- with Mum’s first name, and my mom’s name as a second middle name, because WHY NOT have two middle names?? 😀 I’m super glad you’re having a good day and that Gerald gets to be fixed.


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