The name Marcellus is the Latin word for “young warrior. “ The Marcellus Shale rock formation that lies beneath the Northeast U.S. is the not the first Marcellus in history. The Marcellus was originally a famous Roman warrior. Since 250 BC towns and even fictional characters have taken the name Marcellus.
Marcellus the Roman Warrior
Marcellus was a very significant name during the time of the Ancient Roman Empire. The first record of a Marcellus is 287 BC. After him came Marcus Claudius Marcellus in 268 BC who was a triumphant warrior during the Second Punic War. It was the second Marcellus who set the precedent for the famous name. Many warriors of ancient empires to come took the surname Marcellus as an honor for outstanding military duty.
According to Google Maps there are five different places called Marcellus on earth. Four of them are in the United States.
- Marcellus, Washington
- Marcellus, Michigan
- Marcellus, Kentucky
- Marcellus, New York (Which is in the Marcellus Shale)
There is also a Marcellus, France a very small town in the Lot-et-Garonne in the southwestern region of France.
The Marcellus Shale
For our purposes this is the most important of all the Marcellus name sakes. The Marcellus Shale field was named for the outcropping of Shale rock that is visible in Marcellus, NY. Geologists have known for many years that the Marcellus Shale was an extensive field of shale rock but it wasn’t until 2002 that the United States Geological Survey calculated that the Marcellus Shale contained around 1 .9 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Most notably William Shakespeare used the name Marcellus for one of his characters in his famous tragedy, Hamlet. In this case the character Marcellus plays a fairly minor yet important role in the plot line. Marcellus and Bernardo are the first characters in the play to see the ghost of Hamlet’s late father.
The most recent Marcellus is part of a new popular Television series called “The Originals” which is a spin-off of the widely popular “Vampire Diaries” franchise. The show is based around a power struggle between the character Marcellus Gerard and Klaus for the city of New Orleans. The character is meant to embody the meaning of “young warrior.” He was an illegitimate child of a slave owner and young female slave and was thus treated harshly by his father. He escapes his father and is taken in by a family of vampires who raise him as an adoptive son before turning him into one of them.