"Praxilla" by John William Godward

Meaning: N/A
Gender: Female
Pronunciation: I think PRA-zil-uh or possibly PRAX-il-uh
Origin: Greek
Other forms of the name: Possibly Priscilla

I really cannot find anything on the name Praxilla, or the pronunciation, so I’m winging this thing. Praxilla of Sicyon was a lyric poet from 5th century Greece. She was very popular in her day and not much of her work survived. She was named one of the nine earthly muses by Antipater of Thessalonica, along with Sappho.

Later on her poetry fell out of favor, many crictized her for mentioning cucumbers along with the sun and moon. In one of her hymns Adonis is asked “What is the most beautiful thing you left behind?” by some of the underworld dwellers, he replies:

“Finest of all the things I have left is the light of the sun,
Next to that the brilliant stars and the face of the moon,
Cucumbers in their season, too, and apples and pears.”

Some people think cucumbers were supposed to be used as a pun to mention her place of birth; in Greek cucumber is “sicyos”. Not much else is known about Praxilla, if anybody has any information on the name, please let me know.

Advertisements