Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Cassandra

Cassandra originated from Greek mythology. The name probably comes from the Greek words “kekasmai” and “aner” which together mean ‘shining upon men.’ The name is also associated with ‘she who fills men with love.’ In the Greek legend, Cassandra was the mortal daughter and Trojan princess of King Priam, ruler of ancient city-state of Troy (circa 1300 B.C.). The god of poetry and prophesy, Apollo, was so enchanted by this beautiful woman he gave her the power to foretell the future. But when Cassandra rejected Apollo’s advances, he cursed her by declaring that no one would believe her prophesies. As the Trojan War proceeds, the Greeks hide inside the wooden horse. Foreseeing their eminent demise, Cassandra pleads with her fellow Trojans not to wheel the horse inside the gates of Troy – but of course they don’t believe her. As we all know, despite Cassandra’s desperate efforts, Troy is sacked by the Greeks. In the later Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, Cassandra is depicted as a madwoman, helpless and tormented in the grip of her prophetic powers which everyone ignores. The play “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus written in the 5th century B.C. tells the story of Agamemnon, King of Argos, and his homecoming after the Trojan War. Agamemnon takes Cassandra as a war-prize back with him to Greece. His angry wife Clytemnestra has been lying in wait to kill Agamemnon and also decides to murder Cassandra. Possessed by Apollo’s prophesies, Cassandra sees all too clearly her pending fate. She has no choice but to walk squarely into her own death, which she does so bravely. Cassandra is used as a metaphor for situations in which valid warnings are disbelieved or ignored. The name Cassandra was used occasionally in the Middle Ages but considered much more of a rare and exotic name. It has come back into favor in modern times.

All About the Baby Name – Cassandra

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME CASSANDRA

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME CASSANDRA

Cassandra made her debut on the U.S. popularity charts in 1942 and she made a splash entering in at position #546. This is a fairly high position to make her first appearance; it would seem there may have been some pop-culture influence back in the early 1940s but we were unable to find one. Cassandra slowly and methodically climbed the charts for the next 40 years and finally achieved a spot on the Top 100 list of most favored girl names in 1982. She would remain on this list for nearly 20 years. It was the early 1990s when Cassandra was at her height of popularity and even earned a spot on the Top 50 for one year (1990). Unfortunately for this mythological charmer, Cassandra has reversed her course as we’ve entered the 21st century. The name has dropped significantly in the past 10 years. The name has an exotically beautiful three-syllable sound and can easily be shortened to Cass or Cassie (even Sandra or Sandy). We like this name most for its ties to Greek mythology and great Greek literary tradition. It gives the name so much personality and interest. Yes, she meets with a tragic end, but she was a beautiful princess unfairly punished by a rebuffed god. Was that her fault? This name is gorgeous without being pretentious. Your daughter won’t be disappointed with such a beautiful name, and we could care less if you “believe” us on that prophesy!

Quick Facts

ON CASSANDRA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

American

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

459

PRONUNCIATION:

kə-SAN-drə

SIMPLE MEANING:

Shining upon men

Characteristics

OF CASSANDRA

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Cassandra

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME CASSANDRA

Cassandra is a princess of Troy in Aeschylus’ play Agamemnon. She basically becomes Agamemnon’s “war-prize” (translation: enslaved concubine) after the Trojan War wherein the Greeks sack Troy. She is cursed with the foreknowledge of her and Agamemnon’s eminent death at the hands of his jealous wife Clytemnestra – and even though she is able to prophesize this out loud, she is doomed that no one believes her. This curse was placed upon her by the god Apollo after she had the audacity to rebuff his amorous advances. She is of course horrified by her ability to see her and Agamemnon’s future death, but she quickly resolves herself to acceptance knowing that she has no power to change her fate. In part, she believes Agamemnon’s murder is warranted for the suffering he caused her fellow Trojans. She does not see Clytemnestra as her own destroyer so much as she blames Apollo (and rightly so).

Cassandra is a central character in George Whetstone's "Promos and Cassandra" published in the latter half of the 16th century. What makes this story interesting is that it was William Shakespeare's primary source for "Measure for Measure" wherein he modeled his heroine Isabella off of Cassandra. In the Italian version, Cassandra does marry Promos, her Svengali and the murderer of her brother. But the Renaissance play-goers of Shakespeare's England would have looked upon this union harshly and he would have risked losing his audience. As we all know, the lovely Isabella in Measure for Measure maintains her virtue through the clever plot twists engineered by The Bard. Whetstone's Cassandra is a little naughtier.

Popular Songs

ON CASSANDRA

Cassandra on the Dance Floor
a song by September 67

Cassandra
a song by ABBA

Famous People

NAMED CASSANDRA

Cassandra Austen (English artist and sister of Jane Austen)
Cassandra Steen (German singer)
Cassandra Wilson (jazz singer)
Cassandra “Cassie” Ventura (singer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED CASSANDRA

Charlie Sheen;

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME CASSANDRA

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Cassandra