Given that The Iris Project is named after the beautiful goddess Iris, I thought I’d do a bit of digging this week and see what I could uncover about her. You probably already knew that Iris was the goddess of the rainbow in ancient Greece. Maybe you also remember that she was one of the messengers for the gods on Olympus (Hermes was the other one). But did you know that there’s a statue of her right around the corner in London? Or that she gave her name to a hugely popular South Korean TV series? If not, read on – you might be surprised what you find out!
Let’s start with Iris’ name. What does it mean? Well, don’t feel bad if you don’t know – because not even the ancient Greeks could really decide! One definition said it came from the word iris, meaning ‘rainbow’. But another claimed that it actually came from the root eiro, meaning ‘I speak’ – because Iris was a messenger. Perhaps (and I’m inclined to think this is probably closer to the truth) it allowed for both meanings together, making Iris the messenger goddess who used the rainbow as her pathway to slide down to earth.