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Origin of the name LAURENTIUS.
Etymology of the name LAURENTIUS.
Meaning of the baby name LAURENTIUS.

  

LAURENTIUS.  Latin name, meaning "a bay or laurel tree." 

It appears natural to refer Laurentius direct to laurus (the bay or laurel); but there is reason to think that it, as well as the tree, must go farther back to the dim vestiges of early Roman mythology.  From the Etruscans the Romans learnt the beautiful idea of guardian spirits around their hearths, whom they called by the Etruscan word lar or lars, meaning lord or master.  The spirits of great statesmen or heroes became public lares, and watched over the welfare of the city; those of good men, or of innocent infants under forty days old, were the lares of their home and family.  Their images, covered with dog-skins, and with the figure of a dog beside them, were placed beside every hearth; and, curiously enough, are the origin of the name dogs, still applied to the supports on either side of a wood fire-place.  They were made to partake in every household festival; cups were set apart, in which a portion of every meal was poured out to them; the young bride, on being carried across her husband's threshold, made her first obeisance to these household spirits of his family; and on the nones, ides, and calends of each month, when the master returned from the war, or on any other occasion of joy, the lares were crowned with wreaths and garlands.  Pairs of lares stood in niches at the entrance of the streets; other lares guarded districts in the country; and the lares of all Rome had a temple to themselves, where stood twin human figures with a dog between them.  All these wore green crowns on festival days, especially on those of triumph; and thus there can be little doubt that the evergreen whose leaves were specially appropriated to the purpose was thence called laurus, as the poplar was from forming people's crowns.  The special feast of the lares was on the 22nd of December, and it was immediately followed by that of a female deity called Acca Laurentia.
     Laurentius does not occur in early history; but it belonged to the gentle Roman deacon who, on the 10th of August 258, showed the "poor and the maimed, the halt and the blind," as the treasures of the Church, and was martyred, by being roasted over a fire on bars of iron.  Constantine built a church on his tomb, and seven other Churches at Rome are likewise dedicated to him.  Pope Adrian gave some of his relics to Charlemagne, who took them to Strasburg, and thus rendered him one of the regnant saints in Germany, where the prevalence of shooting stars on the night of his feast has occasioned those meteors to be called St.Lorenz's sparks.  In fact, his gentle nature, his peculiar martyrdom, and his church at Rome, caused him to be a saint of universal popularity; and a fresh interest was conferred on him, in Spanish eyes, by Philip II.'s belief that the battle of St. Quentin, fought on his day, was won by his intercession, and the consequent dedication of the gridiron-palace convent of the Escurial to him. 
     Besides the original saint, England owns St. Laurentius among the band of Roman missionaries who accompanied St. Augustine, and, in succession, became archbishops of Canterbury. (History of Christian Names, Yonge, 1884)

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