Slave names

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Dec 11 18:53:55 UTC 2007

On Dec 11, 2007 1:52 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> At 12:50 PM -0500 12/11/07, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
> >
> >In his 1937 article "Names of American Negro Slaves" [*], Newbell
> >Niles Puckett says: "Classical names, although less numerous than
> >certain writers on plantation life would have us think, also probably
> >reveal the hand of the master class." He also points out that
> >classical names such as Cato, Hector, and Pompey were also given to
> >mules and cows (as shown in probate records), so irony no doubt played
> >a role.
> Weren't some of these (at least Hector and Caesar) also popular as dog names?

Well sure... at least since Hector was a pup.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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