|"Leander's Body Washed Ashore" by Axel Anderson|
Meaning: "Lion of a man"
Other forms: Leandros, Leandro, Léandre
The tale of Leander and his lover, Hero, is a tragic one (Surprise, surprise! This is Greek Mythology!). But before we get to that, let's talk about Leander's name. The name Leander comes from the Greek Leandros, which comes from leon, meaning "lion", and andros, which means "man". Leander surprisingly hasn't ranked in SSA's name list for the US since 1969, when it was number 971, so it is definitely an unusual and inspiring choice.
The legend goes that Hero, a priestess for the Goddess Aphrodite, lived in a tower in Sestos, on the European side of Dardanelles. Leander, a young man who fell in love with Hero, lived on the other side of the strait, Hellespont, in Abydos. So every night, Leander would swim across Hellespont to visit Hero, who would hold up a torch so he could find his way to the other side.
After convincing Hero that Aphrodite, being a Goddess of love, would not want the worship of a virgin, made love to her. So this continued all through the rest of the summer, until one night, a bad storm started to brew while Leander was swimming across the strait. The breeze from the storm blew out Hero's torch, and Leander became lost, and drowned.
Upon seeing his dead body, Hero threw herself from the edge of the tower so she could be with him in death.