One Steve Limit/Oral Tradition
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- A very old exception is the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde contains two characters named Isolde, both of whom pursue a romance with Tristan. The two are typically referred to as "Isolde of Ireland" and "Isolde of Brittany" to minimize confusion.
- Arthurian Legend on the whole is bad about this. There were at least four Elaines, three of which were associated with Lancelot: Elaine of Benoic (his mother), Elaine of Astolat (the Lady of Shalott), and Elain of Carbonek (the mother of Galahad). The last was one of Arthur's interchangeable third half-sisters, and to make matters more confusing, T.H. White combined Astolat and Carbenok in The Once and Future King. Yet another Elaine was Percival's mother-in-law. There were also three Guineveres, two of which were half-sisters/twins known as the "True Guinevere" and the "False Guinevere." The True Guinevere was Arthur's wife, although the false one switched places with her on at least one occasion. Partly this is because the French re-tellings adapted the original Old Welsh names of the sisters Gwenhwyfar and Gwenhwyfach in such a manner that they became identical, although given that these names mean "Gwenhwy the Greater" and "Gwenhwy the Lesser", respectively, it's not really much better.
- The Bible
- Jesus' twelve apostles included two Jameses, two Simons and (according to some gospels at least) two Judases. Furthermore Jesus' own brothers included another James, Simon and Judas. Oh, and then there's John the Baptist, John the Apostle, John the Evangelist (who may or may not be the apostle) and John from the Book of Revelation who may the apostle, the evangelist, or a different John altogether. People would try to avoid praying to the loyal Judas for fear that it would be answered by the more famous one, so he only got the prayers of the truly desperate, who had tried beseeching everyone else. St Jude thus became the Patron Saint of Lost Causes.
- There are an astounding numbers of Marys that appear in the New Testament. The Virgin Mary, obviously, but then there's Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany—the latter two are often mixed up and confused as being the same person. This is probably the reason why most people don't know who Mary of Bethany is, and also why Mary Magdalene is often wrongly identified as being a prostitute. Thus helping to explain why we have a One Steve Limit in the first place, since it was a pope who originally caused this confusion.
- Jesus/Joshua/Yeshua was just about the most popular boy's name in New Testament times given the political climate, which is why Jesus was often referred to with the qualifier "of Nazareth"; according to some people, Barabbas (the guy who was released in Jesus' place) was also named Jesus. Also, the Apostles contained two Jameses and two Judases (Yehudah of Kerioth/Yehudah the Sicarius became Judas Iscariot; the other Yehudah was called "Thaddaeus", meaning "the friend", and is also called Jude.
- There are two Noahs in the Old Testament, one of whom was a woman. That's because the one who built the ark is properly called "Noach". The Hebrew pronunciation of the two names is quite different.
- There are two Michaiah's too, again a man and woman.
- Or Elijah and his disciple, and also prophet, Elisha.
- A more direct example would be Jeroboam and Jeroboam II, two unrelated kings of Israel.
- Manasseh: son of Joseph, or initially-wicked king who repented?
- Rahab, the woman from Jericho who repented or the sea monster that got put down?
- There are two men named Lazarus in the New Testament, but one of them is fictional (a character made up by Jesus).
- St. John the Greater and St. John the Lesser.
- In Greek Mythology - Ajax the Great and Ajax the Lesser.
- Averted with Robin Hood. We have both Little John and Prince John.
- One Russian fairy tale centered around two identical brothers who were both named Ivan. Also, nearly every male protagonist in Russian fairy tales is an Ivan.
- In Norse Mythology, we have the more famous Loki son of Laufey, a giant who lives with the gods in Asgård, and the less famous giant Utgarda-Loki, who lives in the castle of Utgard in Jotunheim.