Nvidia, How The Company Got Its Name & Its Origins In Roman Mythology

Khalid Moammer
Posted Oct 5, 2016
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We got a fun one for you today folks. We’re going to be talking about how Nvidia got its name and its fascinating history in Roman mythology. In Latin, invidia is the sense of envy, an intense gaze associated with malice and the “evil eye”. Invidia is also the Roman name for the ancient Greek “Titan” deity, Nemesis. Who’s the personification of hatred and jealousy in Roman mythology.

Her face was sickly pale, her whole body lean and wasted, and she squinted horribly; her teeth were discoloured and decayed, her poisonous breast of a greenish hue, and her tongue dripped venom. … Gnawing at others, and being gnawed, she was herself her own torment. „ ~ Ovid (about Invidia) in Metamorphoses

She’s pitied by Roman deities, seen as a hideous and spiteful being. Seeking to poison all creation with the taint of hate, punishing those revelling in their own self-admiration and taking away wealth and fortune from those deemed undeserving. She’s often portrayed in the color green, which is closely associated with envy. In magic folklore envy or the “evil eye” is the principal vice that motivates demons. It’s also what drives the “biting eye” of witches who would cast their spells with poisonous tongues. It was a deeply held belief by the ancient Greek & Romans that envy originates from the eyes.

Nvidia’s Logo & Name

The company’s name “nVidia”, pronounced invidia, was carefully chosen because of its nuanced meanings which are tied to vision and envy. In addition to the way it sounds being quite similar to video.

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The company has long loved to employ word-play and symbolism, including in its marketing. Envy and vision are very closely connected in mythology. They in fact always shared the symbol of an eye. All of that plays into Nvidia’s green theme and logo. The slogan for the GeForce 8 series was in fact “Green with envy”.  The company’s highest-end offerings are also branded Titans. Again playing into the mythological background of it all

A name derived from ancient mythology with deep connections to the concept of vision is quite fitting for a graphics company which aspires to create unparalleled visual experiences that would be the “envy” of everyone to behold.

Invidia In Ancient Times

Invidia_the_Serpent
Invidia in her serpent form

 

Invidia

Portrayel of Invidia in the Roman amphitheater of Thysdrus in modern day Tunisia

 

Invidia In Early Modern Day Europe

Invidia by Jacques Callot

Modern Day, Pre-Raphaelite Style

Circe Invidiosa (“Circe, abounding in envy”) by John William Waterhouse

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