🔼The name Persis: Summary
- From the name Persia, in turn perhaps from the verb פרס (paras), to split or divide.
🔼The name Persis in the Bible
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Persis
The name Persis is identical to the common feminine noun Περσις, meaning either Persia or female Persian (the masculine version being Περσικος, Persikos). The empire of Persia was named after one of its provinces (namely Peris or Pars). And after the empire was established, quite a few items were named after it: Περσις may also denote a Persian cloak, and Περσικος may also denote a pair of slippers, a dance, a peach, a rooster or refer to the Persian war.
And this is not all that odd. We today still talk about Persian rugs and Persian cats, while the empire itself is long gone.
The Greek audience of Paul would probably not have had associations further than the one to Persia, but folklore tied the name of Persia to that of Persepolis, Perses and Perseus, and the noun περσις (persis), meaning a sacking, from the verb περθω (pertho), meaning to sack (a city).
Someone creative in Latin may have thought that the name Persis had something to do with the Latin verb persisto, meaning to continue steadfastly (hence our verb to persist), and since we know nothing about the Biblical Persis apart that she lived in Rome, and Persis is not at all a common personal name, we have no clue what to think of it. It may very well have been a truncated form of persisto.
Persis may mean Persian, Sacker or perhaps even Persister.