Wednesday, April 04, 2012
What's in a name?
After almost three years, I've finally settled on a name for the Starwind 27. I just couldn't bring myself to make another horrible pun or to name it after a girlfriend. I've settled on something simple -- Seahorse.
The hippocamp or hippocampus (plural: hippocamps or hippocampi; Greek: ἱππόκαμπος, from ἵππος, "horse" and κάμπος, "monster"), often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognised is purely Greek; it became part of Etruscan mythology. It has typically been depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling, scaly, fishlike hindquarter.
Homer describes Poseidon, who was god of horses (Poseidon Hippios), earthquakes, and the sea, drawn by "brazen-hoofed" horses over the sea's surface, and Apollonius of Rhodes, being consciously archaic in Argonautica (iv.1353ff), describes the horse of Poseidon emerging from the sea and galloping away across the Libyan sands. In Hellenistic and Roman imagery, however, Poseidon (or Roman Neptune) often drives a sea-chariot drawn by hippocampi. Thus hippocamps sport with this god in both ancient depictions and much more modern ones, such as in the waters of the 18th-century Trevi Fountain in Rome surveyed by Neptune from his niche above.
The mythological seahorse in the graphic was borrowed and adapted from Plate 46 in Fairbairn’s Book of Crests, which was first published in 1859. I don't know the actual age of the seahorse woodcut.
Of course, I had to make one more for my dinghy.