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Israelite Names:  Salem.
From History of Christian Names, by Charlotte M. Yonge, 1884.

It is remarkable to observe how the longing for peace is expressed in the names of almost every nation.  The warlike Roman may be an exception, but the Greek had his Eireneos; the German, his Friedrich; the Kelt, his Simaith; the Slave, his Lubomirski; testifying that even in the midst of war, there was a longing after peace and rest!  And, above all, would this be the case with the Hebrew, to whom sitting safely and at peace, beneath his own vine and his own fig-tree, was the summit of earthly content.

Schalem (peace)!  By the Prophet-King it was bestowed upon the two sons to whom he looked for the continuance of his throne, and the continuance of the promises of 'peace,'—Absalom (father of peace), and afterwards with a truer presage, Salomo, or Solomon, (the peaceful)!

Long before his time, however, Welsh and Breton saints had been called Solomon, as well as one early Armorican prince; and likewise an idiot boy, who lived under a tree at Auray, only quitting it when in want of food, to wander through the villages muttering "Salaum hungry"—the only words, except Ave Maria, that he could pronounce.  When he died, the neighbours, thinking him as soulless as a dog, buried him under his tree; but, according to the legend, their contempt was rebuked by a beauteous lily springing from his grave, and bearing on every leaf the words Ave Maria.  Certain it is that an exquisite church was there erected, containing the shrine of Salaun the Simple, who thus became a popular saint of Brittany, ensuring tender reverence for those who, if mindless, were likewise sinless, and obtaining a few namesakes.

Salomon and Salomone are the French and Italian forms; and Solomon is so frequent among the Jews as to have become a surname.

Russia and Poland both use it, and have given it the feminines, Ssolominija and Salomea; but Schalem had already formed a true feminine name of its own, well known in Arabic literature as Suleima, Selma, or Selima.

But returning to the high associations whence the names of Christians should take their source, we find Salome honoured indeed as one of the women first at the sepulchre; and it is surprising that thus recommended, her name should not have been more frequent.  It sometimes does occur in England, and Salomée is known in France; but it is nowhere really popular except in Switzerland, where, oddly enough, Salomeli is the form for the unmarried, and Salome is restricted to the wife.

In Denmark, similarity of sound led Solomon to be chosen as the ecclesiastical name, so to speak, of persons whose genuine appellation was Solmund, or sun's protection.  Perhaps it was in consequence that the Lord Mayor of London, of 1216, obtained the name of Solomon de Basing.  The county of Cornwall much later shows a Soloma.*  It is a question whether Lemuel be another name for Solomon.  It means "to God," or "dedicated to God," and was a favourite at one time with Puritan mothers.  Swift made it famous; but Lemuel Gulliver was by no means an improbable north country name, and Lemuel is not wholly disused even now.

* Proper Names of the Bible; Souvestre, Derniers Bretons.


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