Slave names

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Dec 11 14:59:09 UTC 2007

Since none of us are quite old enough to remember the period in question, the perception that slaves were often given Classical names ("Caesar" and "Pompey" in particular) must come from books or films.  Perhaps "assumption" would be a better word.

  Despite the proof that some slaves were indeed given these names, the  few numbers I've seen  don't indicate that they were actually "prevalent" at any time. There could have been a thousand more prosaically named slaves for every "Caesar."


"Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Joel S. Berson"
Subject: Re: Slave names

At 12/10/2007 05:19 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>I wonder about the source of our stereotype that slaves were so
>stereotypically named "Caesar" and "Pompey." Surely it comes from fiction?

Jon, why do you say "stereotype ... from fiction", if Caesar and
Pompey were so prevalent in the 18th century? (As I think they
were.) Cato, of course, would not make a good stereotype for the
docile, loyal slave.


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