Pronounced Pron. ha-REE-klee-a (Greek)
Other Forms FormsHarikleia, Chariclea, Charis, Chariklo
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Contributor Contrib.anonymous on 12/8/2015
Means "famous for her grace" from Ancient Greek χάρις (charis) "grace, kindness" and κλέος (kleos) "glory". This is the feminine equivalent of Charikles.The name Charikleia, also known as Chariclea, is mostly known from the heroine of the 3rd-century Greek novel « Αἰθιοπικά» (Aethiopica), also known as «Των περί Θεαγένην και Χαρίκλειαν» (Theagenes and Chariclea), an ancient Greek romance written by Heliodorus of Emesa. The novel narrates in ten parts the fiery and irresistible love between the beautiful Chariclea and strong Theagenes. Chariclea, the daughter of King Hydaspes and Queen Persinna of Ethiopia, was born white because her mother gazed upon a painting of the naked Andromeda just after her rescue by Perseus while Chariclea was being conceived (an instance of the theory of Maternal impression). Fearing accusations of adultery, Persinna gives her baby daughter to the care of Sisimithras, a gymnosophist, who takes the baby to Egypt and places her in the care of Charicles, a Pythian priest. Chariclea is then taken to Delphi, and made a priestess of Artemis. Theagenes, a noble Thessalian, comes to Delphi and the two fall in love. He runs off with Chariclea with the help of Calasiris, an Egyptian who has been employed by Persinna to find Chariclea. They encounter many perils: pirates, bandits, and others. The main characters ultimately meet at Meroe at the very moment when Chariclea is about to be sacrificed to the gods by her own father. Her birth is made known, and the lovers are happily married.