Eponine Name Meaning & Origin
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- Nicknames for Eponine
'Ponine, Nina, Poe, Poni, Eppie, Penny, Ellie, Elle
- Meanings and history of the name Eponine
Epponina (which is the Latinization of her Gaulish name Empona, thought to have meant 'heroine') was the wife of Julius Sabinus - a Gaul who had become a naturalized citizen of Rome and an officer in the Roman army. When Julius staged a failed rebellion, Epponina helped him fake his death and kept him in hiding. When they were caught she begged for emperor Vespasian to show her husband mercy; when he refused she berated him to such an extent that she was ordered to be executed as well. Their story was famously recorded by Plutarch.
The modernized French version of Epponina's name, Éponine, became quite common in revolutionary France, because of its connotations of wifely virtue, patriotism and anti-imperialism. Even before the revolution there were several French works about Sabinus and Eponine. Michel-Paul-Gui de Chabanon's operatic tragedy Éponine was performed in 1762. Sabinus was a lyric tragedy in five acts composed by François-Joseph Gossec, premiered at Versailles on 4 December 1773. After the revolution Eponine et Sabinus (1796) was performed at the Lycée theatre. De Lisle de Salles' novel Eponine led to his imprisonment during the Reign of Terror, as it was interpreted as an attack on the Committee of Public Safety.
In his 1862 novel Les Misérables, the French author Victor Hugo used the name for a character who also aspires to die with her own beloved in a revolution.
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- Eponine in song, story & screen
Eponine Thenardier is a character in the novel and musical Les Miserables.