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Patriarchal Names:  Simeon.
From History of Christian Names, by Charlotte M. Yonge, 1884.

Of the twelve sons of Jacob, four only have names of sufficient interest to deserve individual notice, and among these, the first requiring notice is Simeon, from schama, to hear.

Simeon's name passed on to numerous Jews, and was very common in the Gospel times, no less than five personages being so called, namely, the aged man in the Temple, the son of Jonas, the other apostle called the Zealot or the Canaanite, and the leper, besides the tanner of Joppa, and the magician whose attempt to purchase spiritual gifts has given the title of simony to sins of the same nature.

By this time, however, the Hebrew Simeon had been confounded with the Greek Σίμων (Simon), snub-nosed.  St. James, in his discourse at Jerusalem, called St. Peter 'Simeon,' and it would thus seem likely that this was used as their true national name, and that Simon was a Graecism used in intercourse with strangers, or in writing.

The anchorite who took that strangest freak of fanaticism, the perching of himself for life upon a column, is called both Simeon and Simon Stylites, but the latter form has generally been the prevalent one, and has belonged to numerous saints in both the Eastern and Western Church.  The Greek Church has both St. Seeméön on the 3rd of Frebruary, and St. Ssimon on the 10th of May, and the Russian contractions are Ssemen and Ssenka.  The West, too, had sundry Simons of its own, besides those common to all Christendom.  We had a monastic St. Simon Stock, and though the Christian name is now uncommon, it has left us many varieties of surnames, as Simmonds, Simkins, Simpson, Simcoe, Sykes, etc., the spelling but slightly varied.  It was more used among the French peasantry, and acquired the feminine Simonette.  The Italian Simone was not unfrequent, and has made the surname Simoncelli; the Portuguese had Sima; the Spaniards, Ximon; and the Slavonians have the odd varieties of the Polish Szymon, the Illyrian Simej, the Lusatian Schymanz.

It is the same word Schama that named the first of the prophets of Israel.  "Asked of God" is the import of Samuel, a name so endeared by the beautiful history of the call to the child in the temple, that it could not be quite forgotten.  A Samuel, native of Palestine, who perished in the persecution of Maximian, obtained a martyr's place in the calendar, and his name has been a favourite in the Eastern Church, as Samuil, Samoilo, in Russia; Schombel in Lusatia; Zomelis in Lithuania.  The reading of the Holy Scriptures was, however, no doubt, the cause of its use here and in Switzerland, since we scarcely find it before the Reformation, though now Samuel is common in Switzerland, and Sam here.*

* Proper Names of the Bible; Butler; Lower's English Surnames; Michaelis; Pott.


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