Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dido

Dido_Elizabeth_Belle
Dido Elizabeth Belle

Dido is a name with deep historical roots. 

The Queen of Carthage who Virgil wrote about in the Aeneid was also known as Elissa, meaning "queen." She was written about by other Roman historians as well but their works have been lost. Elissa/Dido of Carthage may have originated as a goddess, however, if her brother Pygmalion (not to be confused with the one in the story with Galatea) was a real person as some evidence claims, then she may have been as well. In Virgil's story, Dido commits suicide when she can no longer be with Aeneas whom she loves. She later appears in several operas and dramas.

The most recently talked about Dido is Dido Elizabeth Belle, daughter of John Lindsay and a slave woman from the West Indies. Dido was later taken by her father from the West Indies where she was born to live with the Earl of Mansfield, Lindsay's uncle, and she lived there for 30 years until marrying John Davinier. It is perhaps because of his love for Dido that her uncle, who was Lord Chief Justice, ruled in two slavery cases that resulted in the end of slavery in England. There is a recent (2013) movie about her so I will not spoil any other details.

Dido may also refer to a stunning butterfly called Philaethria dido, an asteroid, and a British singer.

There are extremely few women in the US named Dido - probably under a hundred.

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