Galatea

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Origin: Greek ( Γαλατεια )

Meaning: goddess of calm seas from galene γαλήνη (calm, gentle sea) or milky white from gala γάλα (milky white)

Though there are a few Galateas in Greek mythology, the most famous one I know is Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved such a beautiful figure out of ivory that he fell in love with it. After praying to Aphrodite, she turned the ivory statue into a living woman and they lived happily ever after.

There was also another Galatea, one of the Nereids, the 50 daughters of Nereus, god of the sea. Galatea was a sea nymph who caught the attention of the cyclops Polyphemos who tried to woo her but she rejected him for a handsome mortal named Akis (or Acis). Angry, Polyphemos crushed Akis beneath a rock and, grief-stricken, Galatea transformed Akis into a stream. Interestingly enough, Polyphemos is the same cyclops Odysseus later encounters and blinds, earning himself the wrath of Poeseidon and causing him to spend 10 years at sea before finally able to reach home.

Variants: Galateia, Galatia

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