Cressida is a female given name, seemingly a Medieval English and Renaissance variant of Chryseis, an Ancient Greek female name, a patronymic meaning “daughter of Chryses“; Chryses is an Ancient Greek male name meaning “gold, golden” which seems to be derived from a Semitic source. Chryseis‘s real name was Astynome. Chryseis features in the Iliad, the daughter of an Apollon priest who was taken as a war prize by Agamemnon. When her father tried to ransom her back, Agamemnon refused and Chryses prayed to Apollo, who sent a plague upon the Greek armies, forcing him to return her to her father.
Cressida was used by Shakespeare for his play Troilus and Cressida (1602), based on the Trojan war. While the name was based on Chryseis, and Troilus is the son of King Priam of Troy, the story isn’t based on anything from Greek mythology, instead invented by a 12th century French poet named Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and seems to have been popular enough to be adopted and adapted by several other poets, such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio. Cressida is portrayed as a lover of Troilus during the last years of the Trojan war and while she professes her undying love for him, she later becomes attracted to the Greek warrior Diomedes.
- Chryseis (Ancient Greek)
- Criseyde (Medieval English)
- Cresseid (Medieval English)
- Cressid (Medieval English)
- Criseide (Medieval English)
- Criseida (Italian, Spanish, Catalan)
- Chryses (Ancient Greek)