Girish Mahajan (Editor)


Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Gender  Male
Meaning  "Treasurer"
Word/name  Chaldean, Old Persian

Casper (with the same sounding Kasper) is a family and personal name derived from Chaldean that means "Treasurer". The origins of the name have been traced as far back as the Old Testament and variations of the name have been adopted by a variety of cultures and languages.



The name is derived from Gaspar which in turn is from an ancient Chaldean word, "Gizbar", which according to Strong's Concordance means "Treasurer". The word "Gizbar" appears in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament Book of Ezra (1:8). In fact, the modern Hebrew word for "Treasurer" is still "Gizbar". By the 1st century B.C. the Septuagint gave a Greek translation of "Gizbar" in Ezra 1:8 as "Gasbarinou" (literally, "son of Gasbar"). The transition from "Gizbar" to "Caspar"and "Kaspar" can thus be summarized as: Gizbar>Gasbar>Gaspar>Caspar>Kaspar...with "C" being a misreading of the manuscript "G" and "K" having the same phonetic value as "C".

There are numerous modern variations such as Gaspar (Spanish and Portuguese), Gaspare (Italian), Gaspard (French), Kaspar (German,Dutch), Kašpar (Czech), Casper (English), Kacper/Kasper (Polish), Kasperi (Finnish), Kasper (Danish), Gáspár (Hungarian), Kaspersky and Kasparov (Russian) and Kaspars (Latvian).

By the 6th century, the name Gaspar was recorded in mosaic at the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy as one of the traditional names assigned by folklore to the anonymous Magi mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew account of the Nativity of Jesus. The letter "G" in the name Gaspar was clearly different from the letter "C" used elsewhere, suggesting that the name Gaspar preceded the name Caspar, and not the other way around as some have supposed.

The Western tradition of the name Gaspar also derives from an early 6th Century Greek manuscript, translated into the Latin "Excerpta Latina Barbari". A pseudo-Venerable Beda text, called "Collectanea et Flores", apparently continues the tradition of the name Caspar: "Secundus nomine Caspar" (P.L., XCIV, 541). This text is said to be from the 8th or 9th century, of Irish origin. As a surname, Gaspar survives today in Spanish, Portuguese and French, although the latter adds a silent d. It also survives in the Armenian name, Gasparian.

Use of the name in Europe

The basic names Gaspar, and its variants Caspar and Kaspar, along with Melchior and Balthazar or (Balthasar), the other two saints, wisemen, and kings depicted in the above basilica became family names and spread throughout Europe. Eventually, there would be dozens of variations due to suffixes (e.g. "-son","-sen", "-ovitch","-ski", etc.) and variations of spelling, pronunciation, and alphabets. For example, since "s"(Hungarian)="sh"(English)="sch"(German)="sz"(Polish), and since "s"(English, German, Dutch)="sz"(Hungarian), it is easy to see how Kaspar could become Kaschpar or Kaszpar. Some of them if written in Russian or Armenian would be totally unrecognizable if seen, but recognizable if heard.

In British and American English, the initial a in Gaspar, Kaspar, Caspar, etc. is now pronounced as in the word "hat", whereas in continental Europe, it remains as in the word "father". This, and other changes in English pronunciation, took place between 1200 AD and 1600 AD and are now known as the Great Vowel Shift. There were some exceptions: for example "Watt" and "Watson".

Records indicate by the late 18th century a number of immigrants to America were changing the a to o in the first part of their names and -ar to -er in the last part, most likely to more closely approximate the continental European (rather than British) pronunciation. Examples include:

  • Caspar
  • Casper
  • Cosper
  • Gaspar
  • Gosper
  • Kaspar
  • Kasper
  • Kosper
  • Individuals named Caspar

  • Caspar Badrutt (1848-1904), Swiss businessman and pioneer of alpine resorts
  • Caspar Barlaeus (1584–1648), Dutch polymath, Renaissance humanist, theologian, poet and historian
  • Caspar Bartholin the Elder (1585–1629), Danish theologian and medical professor
  • Caspar Bartholin the Younger (1655–1738), Danish anatomist
  • Caspar Buberl (1834-1899), American sculptor
  • Caspar del Bufalo (1786-1837), Italian priest and saint
  • Caspar Commelijn (1668-1731), Dutch botanist
  • Caspar de Crayer (1582-1669), Flemish painter
  • Caspar Cruciger the Younger (1525-1597), German theologian, son of Caspar Creuziger
  • Caspar Creuziger or Caspar Cruciger the Elder (1504-1548), German humanist, professor of theology and preacher
  • Caspar Einem (born 1948), Austrian politician
  • Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), German painter
  • Caspar F. Goodrich (1847-1925), US Navy rear admiral
  • Caspar René Gregory (1846–1917), American-born German theologian
  • Caspar Frederik Harsdorff (1735-1799), Danish architect
  • Caspar Hennenberger (1529-1600), German Lutheran pastor, historian and cartographer
  • Caspar John (1903-1984), British First Sea Lord and admiral of the fleet
  • Caspar Lee (1994), South African youtuber and actor
  • Caspar Memering (born 1953), German former footballer
  • Caspar Neher (1897-1962), Austrian-German scenographer and librettist, best known for his work with Bertolt Brecht
  • Caspar Netscher (1639-1684), Dutch painter
  • Caspar Olevian (1536-1587), German theologian
  • Caspar Peucer (1525–1602), German reformer, physician and scholar
  • Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt (1773–1854), Prussian-born Dutch botanist
  • Caspar de Robles, (1527-1585), ruler of two provinces of the Netherlands
  • Caspar Schoppe (1576–1649), German controversialist and scholar
  • Caspar Schütz (c. 1540–1594), German historian
  • Caspar Schwenckfeld (1489 or 1490-1561), German theologian, writer, preacher, Protestant Reformer and spiritualist
  • Caspar Stoll (probably between 1725 and 1730-1791), Dutch entomologist
  • Caspar Voght (1752-1839), German merchant and social reformer
  • Caspar Weinberger (1917-2006), American politician and U.S. Secretary of Defense
  • Caspar Weinberger Jr. (born 1947), American writer
  • Caspar Wessel (1745–1818), Norwegian-Danish mathematician and cartographer
  • Caspar Wistar (glassmaker) (1696-1752), German-born glassmaker and landowner in Pennsylvania
  • Caspar Wistar (physician) (1761-1818), American physician and anatomist, grandson of the above
  • Caspar van Wittel (1652 or 1653-1736), Dutch painter
  • Caspar Whitney (1864–1929), American author, editor, explorer and war correspondent
  • Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1735–1794), German physiologist and one of the founders of embryology
  • Caspar Wrede (1929-1998), Finnish film and theatre director
  • Individuals named Casper

  • Casper Ankergren (born 1979), Danish football goalkeeper
  • Casper Asbjornson (1909-1970), American Major League Baseball catcher
  • Casper ten Boom (1859-1944), Dutch watchmaker who aided Jews during the Holocaust
  • Casper Christensen (born 1968), Danish comedian
  • Casper Elgaard (born 1978), Danish auto racing driver
  • Casper Helling (born 1972), Danish speedskater, particularly in longer distances
  • Casper Henningsen (born 1985), Danish footballer
  • Casper Holstein (1876-1944), New York City gangster
  • Casper Jørgensen (born 1985), Danish racing cyclist
  • Casper Ulrich Mortensen (born 1989), Danish handball player
  • Casper Reardon (1907–1941), classical and jazz harpist
  • Casper Sloth (born 1992), Danish footballer
  • Casper R. Taylor, Jr. (born 1934), American politician
  • Casper Van Dien (born 1968), American actor
  • Casper Wells (born 1984), Major League Baseball player
  • Casper Wollenhaupt (1755–1809), merchant and politician in Nova Scotia (now part of Canada)
  • Casper Yost (1863-1941), longtime editor of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper
  • References

    Casper Wikipedia