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This name derives from the Pre-Greek “pēnelōps (πηνέλοψ / πηνέλωψ) Pēnelópē (Πηνελόπη),” composed of two elements: “pḗnē (πήνη)” (plot, weft, spool, tale, story) plus “ōps (ὤψ)” (to the eye, in the face, eye). The usual meaning is “weaver, duck, some bird.” It should be noted that the second part of the name could be from the Pre-Greek suffix "-elōps (-έλωψ)," often used for predatory animals. In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope is Ulysses' wife, who keeps her suitors under control in her long absence before rejoining him. Latin references to Penelope revolved around the sexual loyalty to her absent husband. It suited the martial aspect of Roman society representing the tranquility of the worthy family. She is mentioned by various classical authors including Plautus, Propertius, Horace, Ovid, Martial, and Statius.

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