What Names Were Used in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, names held significant meaning and were often influenced by mythology, religion, and culture. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of names that were used during this fascinating period.

1. Personal Names

Personal names in ancient Greece usually consisted of two parts: a given name (or “onoma”) and a patronymic (derived from the father’s name).

For example, if the father’s name was “Alexander,” the son’s name would be “Alexandros” with the suffix “-son” or “-ios. “

Personal names often had deep significance as they were believed to embody individual characteristics or traits. For instance, the name “Nikephoros” means “bearer of victory,” which reflects bravery and triumph.

1.1 Male Names

  • Perseus: A hero in Greek mythology who famously slayed Medusa.
  • Achilles: The legendary warrior who fought in the Trojan War.
  • Hermes: The messenger of the gods known for his speed and cunning.

1.2 Female Names

  • Athena: The goddess of wisdom, courage, and inspiration.
  • Hera: The queen of gods and goddesses, associated with marriage and family.
  • Artemis: The goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and childbirth.

2. Descriptive Names

Ancient Greeks also had descriptive names that described physical attributes or qualities associated with an individual. These names were often used to differentiate between individuals with similar given names.

For example, “Kallisthenes” means “beautiful strength,” combining the words “kalos” (beautiful) and “sthenos” (strength).

3. Patronyms

As mentioned earlier, patronyms were derived from the father’s name and were commonly used in ancient Greece. These names served to establish lineage and maintain family connections.

For instance, if the father’s name was “Diomedes,” the son’s name would be “Diomedon.”

4. Mythological Names

Ancient Greeks drew heavily from mythology for naming their children. They believed that by bestowing a mythological name, they could invoke the qualities associated with that particular deity or hero.

Examples of mythological names include:

  • Hercules: The son of Zeus known for his incredible strength.
  • Aphrodite: The goddess of love, beauty, and desire.
  • Poseidon: The god of the sea and earthquakes.


Ancient Greek names provide us with a glimpse into their rich culture and mythology. Whether derived from personal traits or inspired by gods and heroes, these names carry stories and symbolism that reflect the beliefs and values of this ancient civilization.

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