According to Genesis in the Old Testament Adam was created from the earth by God (there is a word play on Hebrew אֲדָמָה ('adamah) "earth"). He and Eve were supposedly the first humans, living happily in the Garden of Eden until they ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As a result they were expelled from Eden to the lands to the east, where they gave birth the second generation, including Cain, Abel and Seth.
As an English Christian name, Adam has been common since the Middle Ages, and it received a boost after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790).
In the Middle Ages this name was common in England due to the popularity of medieval tales about the Trojan War. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
As a given name, Diana has been regularly used since the Renaissance. It became more common in the English-speaking world following Sir Walter Scott's novel 'Rob Roy' (1817), which featured a character named Diana Vernon. It also appeared in George Meredith's novel 'Diana of the Crossways' (1885). A notable bearer was Diana Spencer (1961-1997), the Princess of Wales.
Famous bearers of the name include the English poet Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), the German-Czech philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the first person to climb Mount Everest.
This is one of the few Old English names to be used throughout Europe (in various spellings). A famous bearer was the British composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934). It was also used by author Charlotte Brontë for the character Edward Rochester, the main love interest of the title character in her novel 'Jane Eyre' (1847).
The popularity of the name Eleanor in England during the Middle Ages was due to the fame of Eleanor of Aquitaine, as well as two queens of the following century: Eleanor of Provence, the wife of Henry III, and Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I. More recently, it was borne by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), the wife of American president Franklin Roosevelt.
Hector has occasionally been used as a given name since the Middle Ages, probably because of the noble character of the classical hero. It was historically common in Scotland, where it was used as an Anglicized form of Eachann.
The name was originally used among early Christians in honour of the saint, as opposed to the classical character. In England it was commonly spelled Ellen during the Middle Ages, and the spelling Helen was not regularly used until after the Renaissance. A famous bearer was Helen Keller (1880-1968), an American author and lecturer who was both blind and deaf.
Heinrich was popular among continental royalty, being the name of seven German kings, starting with the 10th-century Henry I the Fowler, and four French kings. In France it was rendered Henri from the Latin form Henricus.
The Normans introduced the French form to England, and it was subsequently used by eight kings, ending with the infamous Henry VIII in the 16th century. During the Middle Ages it was generally rendered as Harry or Herry in English pronunciation. Notable bearers include arctic naval explorer Henry Hudson (1570-1611), British novelist Henry James (1843-1916), and American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford (1863-1947).
It has been common as a given name in the English-speaking world only since the 18th century. A famous modern bearer is American actress Julia Roberts (1967-).
Although this name was borne by several early saints, including a pope, it was rare during the Middle Ages. It was revived in Italy and France during the Renaissance, and was subsequently imported to England.
In the Celtic legend of Tristan and Isolde this was the name of a king of Cornwall. It was also borne by the American author Mark Twain (1835-1910), real name Samuel Clemens, the author of 'Tom Sawyer' and 'Huckleberry Finn'. He took his pen name from a call used by riverboat workers on the Mississippi River to indicate a depth of two fathoms. This is also the usual English spelling of the name of the 1st-century BC Roman triumvir Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony).
The name has been used in the English-speaking world since the 18th century, though it did not become overly popular until the last half of the 20th century. Its rise in popularity in America was precipitated by a character on the 1970s television series 'The Waltons'.
Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in medieval Europe, especially in Spain and France. It was also borne by a 16th-century king of Portugal who died in a crusade against Morocco.
In medieval and Renaissance versions of the legend, Troilus is the youngest of Priam's five legitimate sons by Hecuba. Despite his youth he is one of the main Trojan War leaders. He dies in battle at Achilles' hands. In a popular addition to the story, originating in the 12th century, Troilus falls in love with Cressida, whose father has defected to the Greeks. Chaucer and Shakespeare are among the authors who wrote works telling the story of Troilus and Cressida. Within the medieval tradition, Troilus was regarded as a paragon of the faithful courtly lover and also of the virtuous pagan knight. Once the custom of courtly love had faded, his fate was regarded less sympathetically.