AGATHA f English, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Αγαθη (Agathe)
, derived from Greek αγαθος (agathos)
meaning "good". Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.
AGNES f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne)
, derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos)
meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus
"lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England in the Middle Ages.
ALEXANDRA f English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Feminine form of ALEXANDER
. In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera
, and an alternate name of Cassandra
. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. She was from Germany and had the birth name Alix
, but was renamed Александра (Aleksandra)
upon joining the Russian Church.
ALEXIS m & f German, French, English, Greek, Ancient Greek
From the Greek name Αλεξις (Alexis)
, which meant "helper" or "defender", derived from Greek αλεξω (alexo)
"to defend, to help". This was the name of a 3rd-century BC Greek comic poet, and also of several saints. It is used somewhat interchangeably with the related name Αλεξιος
, borne by five Byzantine emperors. In the English-speaking world it is more commonly used as a feminine name.
ANASTASIA f Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, English, Spanish, Italian, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of ANASTASIUS
. This was the name of a 4th-century Dalmatian saint who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Due to her, the name has been common in Eastern Orthodox Christianity (in various spellings). As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, who was rumoured to have escaped the execution of her family in 1918.
ARTEMISIA f Ancient Greek
Feminine form of ARTEMISIOS
. This was the name of the 4th-century BC builder of the Mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the world. She built it in memory of her husband, the Carian prince Mausolus.
BERENICE f English, Italian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Βερενικη (Berenike)
, the Macedonian form of the Greek name Φερενικη (Pherenike)
, which meant "bringing victory" from φερω (phero)
"to bring" and νικη (nike)
"victory". This name was common among the Ptolemy ruling family of Egypt, a dynasty which was originally from Macedon. It occurs briefly in Acts in the New Testament (in most English Bibles it is spelled Bernice
) belonging to a sister of King Herod Agrippa II. As an English name, Berenice
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
CHARMION f Ancient Greek
Greek name derived from χαρμα (charma)
meaning "delight". This was the name of one of Cleopatra's servants, as recorded by Plutarch.
CLEOPATRA f Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κλεοπατρα (Kleopatra)
which meant "glory of the father", derived from κλεος (kleos)
"glory" combined with πατηρ (pater)
"father" (genitive πατρος
), This was the name of queens of Egypt from the Ptolemaic royal family, including Cleopatra VII, the mistress of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. After being defeated by Augustus she committed suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp. Shakespeare's tragedy 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1606) is based on her.
CORINNA f English, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Κοριννα (Korinna)
, which was derived from κορη (kore)
"maiden". This was the name of a Greek lyric poet of the 5th century BC. The Roman poet Ovid
used it for the main female character in his book 'Amores'. In the modern era it has been in use since the 17th century, when Robert Herrick used it in his poem 'Corinna's going a-Maying'.
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the ancient Greek name Δωρις (Doris)
which meant "Dorian woman". The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-).
ELPIS f Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "hope" in Greek. In Greek mythology Elpis was the personification of hope. She was the last spirit to remain in the jar after Pandora unleashed the evils that were in it.
GAIANA f Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Γαιανη (Gaiane)
, a derivative of GAIA
. This was the name of a (perhaps fictional) martyr who was killed in Armenia during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian in the late 3rd century.
HELENA f German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Finnish, Estonian, Slovene, Croatian, English, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinate form of HELEN
HERODIAS f Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of HEROD
. This was the name of a member of the Herodian ruling family of Judea, a sister of Herod Agrippa and the wife of Herod Antipas. She appears in the Old Testament, where she contrives to have her husband Antipas imprison and execute John the Baptist.
HYPATIA f Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek ‘υπατος (hypatos)
meaning "highest, supreme". Hypatia of Alexandria was a 5th-century philosopher and mathematician, daughter of the mathematician Theon.
IRENE f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ειρηνη (Eirene)
, derived from a word meaning "peace". This was the name of the Greek goddess who personified peace, one of the ‘Ωραι
(Horai). It was also borne by several early Christian saints. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.... [more]
KALLISTO f Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek καλλιστος (kallistos)
meaning "most beautiful", a derivative of καλος (kalos)
"beautiful". In Greek mythology Kallisto was a nymph who was loved by Zeus
. She was changed into a she-bear by Hera
, and subsequently became the Great Bear constellation. This was also an ancient Greek personal name.
LIGEIA f Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λιγυς (ligys)
meaning "clear-voiced, shrill, whistling". This was the name of one of the Sirens in Greek legend. It was also used by Edgar Allan Poe in his story 'Ligeia' (1838).
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
NIKEPHOROS m & f Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "carrying victory" from Greek νικη (nike)
"victory" and φερω (phero)
"to carry, to bear". This name was borne by several Byzantine emperors, including the 10th-century Nikephoros II Phokas. Besides being a masculine personal name, it was also a title borne by the goddess Athena
OLYMPIAS f Ancient Greek
Feminine form of OLYMPOS
. This was the name of the mother of Alexander the Great. It was also borne by a 4th-century saint.
PELAGIA f Ancient Greek, Greek, Polish
Feminine form of PELAGIUS
. This was the name of a few early saints, including a young 4th-century martyr who threw herself from a rooftop in Antioch rather than lose her virginity.
PHOTINE f Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek φως (phos)
meaning "light" (genitive φωτος (photos)
). This is the name traditionally given to the Samaritan woman Jesus
met at the well (see John 4:7). She is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Church.
ROXANA f English, Spanish, Romanian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latin form of Ρωξανη (Roxane)
, the Greek form of the Persian or Bactrian name روشنک (Roshanak)
which meant "bright" or "dawn". This was the name of Alexander the Great's first wife, a daughter of the Bactrian nobleman Oxyartes. In the modern era it came into use during the 17th century. In the English-speaking world it was popularized by Daniel Defoe, who used it in his novel 'Roxana' (1724).
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
Means "wisdom" in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
THAÏS f Ancient Greek
Possibly means "bandage" in Greek. This was the name of a companion of Alexander the Great. It was also borne by a 4th-century saint from Alexandria, a wealthy socialite who became a Christian convert. She has been a popular subject of art and literature, including an 1891 novel by Anatole France and an 1894 opera by Jules Massenet.
THEODORA f English, Greek, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of THEODORE
. This name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by several empresses including the influential wife of Justinian in the 6th century.
XANTHIPPE f Ancient Greek
Feminine form of XANTHIPPOS
. This was the name of the wife of Socrates
. Because of her supposedly argumentative nature, the name has been adopted (in the modern era) as a word for a scolding, ill-tempered woman.
XENIA f Greek, Ancient Greek
Means "hospitality" in Greek, a derivative of ξενος (xenos)
"foreigner, guest". This was the name of a 5th-century saint who is venerated in the Eastern Church.
ZENOBIA f Ancient Greek
Means "life of Zeus", derived from Greek Ζηνο (Zeno)
, a prefix form of the name of ZEUS
, combined with βιος (bios)
"life". This was the name of a 3rd-century queen of Palmyra. After claiming the title 'Queen of the East' and expanding her realm into Roman territory she was defeated by emperor Aurelian.
ZOE f English, Greek, Italian, Ancient Greek
Means "life" in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of EVE
. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe
has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).