AGAMEMNON m Greek Mythology
Possibly meaning "very steadfast" in Greek. In Greek mythology he was the brother of Menelaus
. He led the Greek expedition to Troy to recover his brother's wife Helen
. After the Trojan War Agamemnon was killed by his wife Clytemnestra
AGAUE f Greek Mythology
Means "illustrious, noble" in Greek. This was the mother of Pentheus in Greek myth.
AJAX m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αιας (Aias)
, perhaps deriving from Greek αιαστης (aiastes)
"mourner" or αια (aia)
"earth, land". In Greek mythology this was the name of two of the heroes who fought for the Greeks in the Trojan War, the son of Telamon and the son of Oileus. When the armour of the slain hero Achilles
was not given to Ajax Telamonian, he became mad with jealousy and killed himself.
ALCYONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Αλκυονη (Alkyone)
, derived from the word αλκυων (alkyon)
meaning "kingfisher". In Greek myth this name belonged to a daughter of Aeolus and the wife of Ceyx. After her husband was killed in a shipwreck she threw herself into the water, but the gods saved her and turned them both into kingfishers. This is also the name of the brightest of the Pleiades, the seven stars in the constellation Taurus.
ALTHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αλθαια (Althaia)
, perhaps related to Greek αλθος (althos)
"healing". In Greek myth she was the mother of Meleager. Soon after her son was born she was told that he would die as soon as a piece of wood that was burning on her fire was fully consumed. She immediately extinguished the piece of wood and sealed it in a chest, but in a fit of rage many years later she took it out and set it alight, thereby killing her son.
ANDROMEDA f Greek Mythology
Means "to be mindful of a man" from the Greek element ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
) combined with μεδομαι (medomai)
"to be mindful of". In Greek mythology Andromeda was an Ethiopian princess rescued from sacrifice by the hero Perseus
. A constellation in the northern sky is named for her. This is also the name of a nearby galaxy, given because it resides (from our point of view) within the constellation.
ANTIGONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek αντι (anti)
"against, compared to, like" and γονη (gone)
"birth, offspring". In Greek legend Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. King Creon of Thebes declared that her slain brother Polynices was to remain unburied, a great dishonour. She disobeyed and gave him a proper burial, and for this she was sealed alive in a cave.
ARCADIA f Various
Feminine form of ARCADIUS
. This is the name of a region on the Greek Peloponnese, long idealized for its natural beauty.
ARIADNE f Greek Mythology
Means "most holy", composed of the Cretan Greek elements αρι (ari)
"most" and αδνος (adnos)
"holy". In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos
. She fell in love with Theseus
and helped him to escape the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, but was later abandoned by him. Eventually she married the god Dionysus
ATLAS m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "enduring" from Greek τλαω (tlao)
meaning "to endure". In Greek mythology he was a Titan punished by Zeus
by being forced to support the heavens on his shoulders.
BRISEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from Βρισευς (Briseus)
, a Greek name of unknown meaning. In Greek mythology Briseis (real name Hippodameia) was the daughter of Briseus. She was captured during the Trojan War by Achilles
. After Agamemnon
took her away from him, Achilles refused to fight in the war.
CARINA (1) f English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CHARON m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "fierce brightness" in Greek. In Greek mythology Charon was the operator of the ferry that brought the newly dead over the River Acheron into Hades.
CHRYSEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from CHRYSES
. In Greek legend she was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo
. After she was taken prisoner by the Greeks besieging Troy, Apollo sent a plague into their camp, forcing the Greeks to release her.
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.
CYBELE f Near Eastern Mythology (Hellenized)
Meaning unknown, possibly from Phrygian roots meaning either "stone" or "hair". This was the name of the Phrygian mother goddess associated with fertility and nature. She was later worshipped by the Greeks and Romans.
DAEDALUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Δαιδαλος (Daidalos)
which was derived from δαιδαλλω (daidallo)
meaning "to work cunningly". In Greek myth Daedalus was an Athenian inventor who was banished to Crete. There he designed the Labyrinth for King Minos
, but he and his son Icarus
were eventually imprisoned inside it because he had aided Theseus
in his quest against the Minotaur. Daelalus and Icarus escaped using wings fashioned from wax, but Icarus fell from the sky to his death.
DAMON m Greek Mythology, English
Derived from Greek δαμαζω (damazo)
meaning "to tame". According to Greek legend, Damon and Pythias were friends who lived on Syracuse in the 4th century BC. When Pythias was sentenced to death, he was allowed to temporarily go free on the condition that Damon take his place in prison. Pythias returned just before Damon was to be executed in his place, and the king was so impressed with their loyalty to one another that he pardoned Pythias. As an English given name, it has only been regularly used since the 20th century.
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-).
ELECTRA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ηλεκτρα (Elektra)
, derived from ηλεκτρον (elektron)
meaning "amber". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Agamemnon
and the sister of Orestes
. She helped her brother kill their mother and her lover Aegisthus in vengeance for Agamemnon's murder. Also in Greek mythology, this name was borne by one of the Pleiades, who were the daughters of Atlas
ERIS f Greek Mythology
Means "strife" in Greek. In Greek mythology Eris was the goddess of discord. She was the sister and companion of Ares
EUDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "good gift" in Greek, from the elements ευ (eu)
"good" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". This was the name of a nymph, one of the Hyades, in Greek mythology.
EUROPA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ευρωπη (Europe)
, which meant "wide face" from ευρυς (eurys)
"wide" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted and taken to Crete by Zeus
in the guise of a bull. She became the first queen of Crete, and later fathered Minos
by Zeus. The continent of Europe is named for her. This is also the name of a moon of Jupiter.
HECATE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek ‘Εκατη (Hekate)
, possibly derived from ‘εκας (hekas)
meaning "far off". In Greek mythology Hecate was a goddess associated with witchcraft, crossroads, tombs, demons and the underworld.
HERAKLES m Greek Mythology
Means "glory of Hera" from the name of the goddess HERA
combined with Greek κλεος (kleos)
"glory". This was the name of a hero in Greek and Roman mythology, the son of Zeus
and the mortal woman Alcmene
. After being driven insane by Hera
and killing his own children, Herakles completed twelve labours in order to atone for his crime and become immortal.
HERMIONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from the name of the Greek messenger god HERMES
. In Greek myth Hermione was the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. This is also the name of the wife of Leontes in Shakespeare's play 'The Winter's Tale' (1610). It is now closely associated with the character Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series of books, first released in 1997.
HERO (1) f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘ηρως (heros)
meaning "hero". In Greek legend she was the lover of Leander, who would swim across the Hellespont each night to meet her. He was killed on one such occasion when he got caught in a storm while in the water, and when Hero saw his dead body she drowned herself. This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599).
HESTIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘εστια (hestia)
"hearth, fireside". In Greek mythology Hestia was the goddess of the hearth and domestic activity.
HORATIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin hora
"hour, time, season", though the name may actually be of Etruscan origin. A famous bearer was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman lyric poet of the 1st century BC who is better known as Horace in the English-speaking world.
HYACINTHUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Υακινθος (Hyakinthos)
, which was derived from the name of the hyacinth flower. In Greek legend Hyakinthos was accidentally killed by Apollo
, who caused a lily to arise from his blood. The name was also borne by several early saints, notably a 3rd-century martyr who was killed with his brother Protus.
ICARUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Ικαρος (Ikaros)
, of unknown meaning. In Greek myth Icarus was the son of Daedalus
, locked with his father inside the Labyrinth by Minos
. They escaped from the maze using wings devised from wax, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and the wax melted, plunging him to his death.
IO f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Io was a princess loved by Zeus
, who changed her into a heifer in order to hide her from Hera
. A moon of Jupiter bears this name in her honour.
LAMIA (2) f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek λαιμος (laimos)
"throat". In Greek mythology this is the name of a queen of Libya who was a mistress of Zeus
, being jealous, kills Lamia's children, causing her to go mad and transform into a monster that hunts the children of others.
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel". In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa
, with a double s
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
meaning "lion", a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LOTUS f English (Rare)
From the name of the lotus flower (species Nelumbo nucifera) or the mythological lotus tree. They are ultimately derived from Greek λωτος (lotos)
. In Greek and Roman mythology the lotus tree was said to produce a fruit causing sleepiness and forgetfulness.
MARIS f English (Rare)
Means "of the sea", taken from the Latin title of the Virgin Mary
, Stella Maris
, meaning "star of the sea".
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.
MINOS m Greek Mythology
Possibly from a Cretan word or title meaning "king". This was the name of a king of Crete in Greek mythology. He was the son of Zeus
. Because Minos had refused to sacrifice a certain bull to Poseidon
, the god had caused his wife Pasiphaë to mate with the bull, which produced the half-bull creature called the Minotaur. Minos had Daedalus
construct the Labyrinth to house the beast, but it was eventually slain by Theseus
MOIRA f Irish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It also coincides with Greek Μοιρα (Moira)
meaning "fate, destiny", the singular of Μοιραι
, the Greek name for the Fates. They were the three female personifications of destiny in Greek mythology.
NEPHELE f Greek Mythology
From Greek νεφος (nephos)
meaning "cloud". In Greek legend Nephele was created from a cloud by Zeus
, who shaped the cloud to look like Hera
in order to trick Ixion, a mortal who desired her. Nephele was the mother of the centaurs by Ixion, and was also the mother of Phrixus and Helle by Athamus.
NEREUS m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Derived from Greek νηρος (neros)
meaning "water". In Greek myth this was the name of a god of the sea, the father of the Nereids. It is mentioned briefly in the New Testament, belonging to a Christian in Rome. This was also the name of a Roman saint of the 1st century, a member of the army, who was martyred with his companion Achilleus because they refused to execute Christians.
NYX f Greek Mythology
Means "night" in Greek. This was the name of the Greek goddess of the night, the daughter of Khaos and the wife of Erebos.
OENONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Οινωνε (Oinone)
, derived from οινος (oinos)
meaning "wine". In Greek mythology Oenone was a mountain nymph who was married to Paris before he went after Helen.
PHILOMELA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek φιλος (philos)
"lover, friend" and μηλον (melon)
"fruit". The second element has also been interpreted as Greek μελος (melos)
"song". In Greek myth Philomela was the sister-in-law of Tereus, who raped her and cut out her tongue. Prokne avenged her sister by killing her son by Tereus, after which Tereus attempted to kill Philomela. However, the gods intervened and transformed her into a nightingale.
PHOEBE f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Φοιβη (Phoibe)
, which meant "bright, pure" from Greek φοιβος (phoibos)
. In Greek mythology Phoibe was a Titan associated with the moon. This was also an epithet of her granddaughter, the moon goddess Artemis
. The name appears in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament, where it belongs to a female minister in the church at Cenchreae. In England, it began to be used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation. A moon of Saturn bears this name (in honour of the Titan).
POSEIDON m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek ποσις (posis)
"husband, lord" and δα (da)
"earth". In Greek mythology Poseidon was the unruly god of the sea and earthquakes, the brother of Zeus
. He was often depicted carrying a trident and riding in a chariot drawn by white horses.
THESEUS m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek τιθημι (tithemi)
meaning "to set, to place". Theseus was a heroic king of Athens in Greek mythology. He was the son of Aethra, either by Aegeus or by the god Poseidon
. According to legend, every seven years the Cretan king Minos
demanded that Athens supply Crete with seven boys and seven girls to be devoured by the Minotaur, a half-bull creature that was the son of Minos's wife Pasiphaë. Theseus volunteered to go in place of one of these youths in order to slay the Minotaur in the Labyrinth where it lived. He succeeded with the help of Minos's daughter Ariadne
, who provided him with a sword and a roll of string so he could find his way out of the maze.