What Were Popular Names in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece is a civilization that has left an indelible mark on history. From their architecture to their philosophy, they continue to influence our modern lives today.

One of the lesser-known aspects of Ancient Greece is the names they used for their citizens. In this article, we will explore some of the popular names in Ancient Greece.

Male Names

1. Alexander: This name is derived from the Greek word Alexandros, which means “defender of men.” The most famous Alexander is Alexander the Great, who conquered much of the known world.

2. Demetrius: This name means “follower of Demeter,” who was the goddess of agriculture. It was a popular name among farmers and those who worked in agriculture.

3. Heracles: This name means “glory of Hera.” Heracles was a hero in Greek mythology known for his incredible strength.

4. Pericles: This name means “surrounded by glory.” Pericles was a famous statesman and orator in Athens during the 5th century BC.

Female Names

1. Athena: This name comes from the goddess Athena, who was known for her wisdom and strength in battle. Cleopatra: This name means “glory of her father” and was popular among Egyptian Greeks during Ptolemaic rule. Daphne: This name means “laurel tree” and was popular among nature-loving Greeks. Helen: This name means “bright one” or “shining one.” Helen was famously beautiful and was said to have launched a thousand ships with her face that launched them into war.


In Ancient Greece, surnames were not common. Instead, people were often identified by their father’s name or the place they were from.

1. Demetrius of Athens: This would indicate that the person named Demetrius was from Athens. Alexander son of Philip: This would indicate that the person named Alexander was the son of Philip. Cleopatra of Alexandria: This would indicate that the person named Cleopatra was from Alexandria.

The Importance of Naming in Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, names were an important part of a person’s identity. They often reflected one’s family, occupation, or beliefs. For example, someone named Demeterios may have worked in agriculture or worshiped the goddess Demeter.

Additionally, names were believed to have a certain power or influence over a person’s life. Many Greeks believed that a name could determine one’s fate and even affect their personality and behavior.

In conclusion

The names used in Ancient Greece are fascinating and reflect the culture and beliefs of this ancient civilization. From powerful heroes to wise goddesses, these names continue to inspire us today. Whether you’re looking for a name for your child or simply interested in history, exploring Ancient Greek names is sure to be an enlightening journey.