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Derived from the Greek "melas" and associated with two Roman saints during the 5th century, a grandmother and granddaughter. St. Melania the Younger sold all of her property after inheriting her father's wealth, and gave the money to the poor. The "ie" ending was introduced to England by France during the Middle Ages. Influenced by Melanie Wilkes, the fictional character from Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel, "Gone With the Wind."