PICUS Etymology

Posted by openPicus | On: Mar 20 2010

PICUS is a great name (we think) for our open Hardware module.

Embedded in the name we have:
PIC (Microchip)
US (the project is Open from the beginning!)

However there is the official meaning (from Roman mythology):
Picus was the first king of Latium (Rome’s region). He was known for his skill at augury and horsemanship. The witch Circe turned him into a woodpecker for scorning her love.

He is featured in one of the Metamorphoses of Ovid. Virgil says that he was the son of Saturnus and the grandfather of Latinus, the king of the Laurentines whom Aeneas and his Trojans fought upon reaching Italy.

Italic people believed Picus was the son of the god of war Mars. After being turned into a woodpecker Italic tribes attributed to the bird divine qualities, connected with Picus’s original skills at augury.

One of the function he performed was to lead the deduction of colonies (made up of younger generation folk) with his flight, which traditionally took place in spring and was performed according to a religiuos ritual known as Ver sacrum. The people of the Piceni derived their name from the memory of this ritual.

Nice coincidence, eh!?


  1. well, and in czech “pičus” (pronounced pitchus) means very nasty swearword. it’s derived from “píča” (cunt) and the suffix “-us” adds to it expressivness. so yeah, PICUS might be a great name but be prepared that noone in the czech republic will ever call it anything else then “pičus”..

  2. picus says:

    Oh! Thanks for the info…we need absolutely to add a logo that will show that the PICUS is only a funny and small bird… :-)

  3. picus says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. i don’t know if it will be of much help since “bird” is also a coloquial term for “penis” in czech, so having a product named “cunt” with a logo refering to penis doesn’t sound like the greatest idea (at least in this part of the world) :o)))

  5. picus says:

    mmm we must have a nice logo that will not push people to think about sex!:-)

    Also in Italy bird is “penis”, I think Italian and Czech are the most paintful languages for badwords! :-)

  6. i think polish is even worse in that sense..

  7. rakuban says:

    i also want to share.in my country in south east asia,informally “bird” means penis. i think in german “Vogel=bird” ,if u dont pronounce it correctly,it can mean have sex

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