Shepherds & Sheep
"While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground"
Like the Magi, shepherds also feature as part of the Nativity in what is known as The Annunciation of the Shepherds. As such, they are commemorated around the world in Christian Christmas services. Sometimes they are represented as bringing along joyful instruments to play, hence the song The Little Drummer Boy. Shepherds are also a part in Nativity plays that most children get cast as. There can only be one Mary, one Joseph, one innkeeper, three wise men, but there can be any number of shepherds.
The reason for this is that no specific number of shepherds is mentioned in the Bible. Syrian Christians, however, consider there to be seven shepherds, and have even given them names. The Book of Bee lists: Asher, Zebulun, Justus, Nicodemus, Joseph, Barshabba, and Jose.
But why were shepherds chosen to visit the baby? Well, scripture isn't specific, but it is generally thought that they represent the humble lifted up by Christ. Shepherds were the ordinary, working men of Judea. They are also connected with the ideal of the nurturing caregiver. Christian writers often refer to God as a shepherd, with mankind being his flock. The oft-cited Psalm 23 starts with the line "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want."
The Greek ποιμήν (poimen) "shepherd" can also be found in the name Poimen, a saint in the Eastern Christian church. The term νομιος (nomios) "pastoral" was used as an epithet for the god Pan (Faunus in Latin), who was associated with shepherding, as well as the shepherd-god of Northern Greece, Aristaios, and Apollo who was the protector of wandering shepherds. Nomios "the Shepherd" was also one of the Panes, spirit sons of Hermes.
The Latin word for shepherd is Pastor, which was used as a Late Roman name. It is still found today in Spain, as is the feminine Pastora. In Hebrew רועי (roi) is used in the masculine name Roi. In Kurdish we can also find the term Sivan "shepherd" used as a name.
Shepherd, and it's many variant spellings, is a well known surname that has been used as a first name consistently over the last two centuries. Although rare, Shepherdess can occasionally be found used for girls in the 19th century.
While God is the shepherd, Jesus is agnus dei, "the Lamb of God". Although actually from the Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos) meaning "chaste," the name Agnes became associated with the Latin agnus; so much so that St Agnes is often depicted with a lamb. Janja is the Croatian form of Agnes, but it also relates to the Croation word for "lamb." The Breton name Oanez is derived from the Brythonic oen "lamb," while the Irish uan is thought to be the origin for Una/Oona.