ALPHONSUS m History
Latinized form of ALFONSO
. This name was borne by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, an 18th-century Italian bishop who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church.
ALWILDA f History
Latinized form of ALFHILD
. This was the name of a legendary female Scandinavian pirate, also called Awilda.
ATTILA m History, Hungarian
Possibly means "little father" from Gothic atta
"father" combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of a 5th-century leader of the Huns, a nomadic people from Central Asia who had expanded into Eastern Europe by the 4th century. Attila
was the name given to him by his Gothic-speaking subjects in Eastern Europe; his real name may have been Avithohol.
AURANGZEB m History
Means "honouring the throne" in Persian. This was the name of a 17th-century Mughal emperor of India.
BADEMUS m History
Latinized form of a Persian name of unknown meaning. Saint Bademus was a 4th-century Persian martyr who was a victim of Shapur II's persecutions.
BEDE m History
Modern form of the Old English name Baeda
, possibly related to Old English bed
"prayer". Saint Bede, called the Venerable Bede, was an 8th-century historian, scholar and Doctor of the Church.
BLEDA m History
Possibly from a Turkic root meaning "wise". According to other theories the name was of Gothic origin, or was a Gothicized form of a Hunnic name. This was the name of the brother of Attila.
BORIS m Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Georgian, German, History
From the Turkic name Bogoris
, perhaps meaning "short" or "wolf" or "snow leopard". It was borne by the 9th-century king Boris I of Bulgaria who converted his country to Christianity, as well as two later Bulgarian emperors. The name was popularized in the Slavic world due to the 11th-century Saint Boris, who was a Russian prince martyred with his brother Gleb. His mother may have been Bulgarian. Another famous bearer was the 16th-century Russian emperor Boris Godunov, later the subject of a play of that name by Aleksandr Pushkin.
BUDDHA m History
Means "enlightened" in Sanskrit. This is a title applied to Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, as well as to a handful of other enlightened individuals.
CAEDMON m History
Meaning unknown, though the first element is likely connected to Brythonic caed
meaning "battle". Saint Caedmon was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon poet who supposedly received his poetic inspiration from a dream. Our only knowledge of him is through the historian Bede.
CALIGULA m History
Means "little boot" in Latin. This was a nickname for the Roman emperor Gaius Caesar Germanicus given to him in his youth by his father's soldiers.
CAMBYSES m History
From Καμβυσης (Kambyses)
, the Greek form of the Old Persian name Kambujiya
, which is of unknown meaning. Two Persian kings bore this name, including Cambyses II who conquered Egypt.
CHARLEMAGNE m History
From Old French Charles le Magne
the Great". This is the name by which the Frankish king Charles the Great (742-814) is commonly known.
CONFUCIUS m History
Anglicized form of the Chinese name Kong Fuzi
. The surname 孔 (Kong)
means "hole, opening" and the title 夫子 (Fuzi)
means "master". This was the name of a 6th-century BC Chinese philosopher. His given name was Qiu
CONSTANTINE m History
From the Latin name Constantinus
, a derivative of CONSTANS
. Constantine the Great (272-337) was the first Roman emperor to adopt Christianity. He moved the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople (modern Istanbul).
CYRA f History
Meaning unknown. Saint Cyra was a 5th-century Syrian hermit who was martyred with her companion Marana.
DIOCLETIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Diocletianus
, a derivative of DIOKLES
. This was the name of a Roman emperor of the 3rd and 4th centuries. He is remembered for persecuting Christians, but he also reformed and stabilized the crumbling Empire.
DOMITIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Domitianus
, itself derived from the family name DOMITIUS
. This was the name of a 1st-century Roman emperor, Titus Flavius Domitianus.
FLAVIAN m History
From the Roman family name Flavianus
, which was derived from FLAVIUS
. This was the name of several early saints including a 5th-century patriarch of Constantinople who was beaten to death.
FRIDESWIDE f History
Modern form of the Old English name Friðuswiþ
, formed of the elements friþ
"peace" and swiþ
"strong". Saint Frideswide was an 8th-century English princess who became a nun. She is credited with establishing Christ Church in Oxford.
GENGHIS m History
From the title Genghis
, meaning "universal ruler", which was adopted by the Mongol Empire founder Temujin
in the late 12th century. Remembered both for his military brilliance and his brutality towards civilians, he went on to conquer huge areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.
GERONIMO m History
, a Spanish form of JEROME
. This is the better-known name of the Apache chief Goyathlay (1829-1909). It was given to him by the Mexicans, his enemies.
GORDIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Gordianus
which meant "from Gordium", Gordium being the capital of Phrygia in Asia Minor. This is the name by which three Roman emperors are known.
GRATIAN m History
From the Roman name Gratianus
, which meant "grace" from Latin gratus
. Saint Gratian was the first bishop of Tours (4th century). This was also the name of a Roman emperor.
HADRIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Hadrianus
, which meant "from Hadria" in Latin. Hadria was a town in northern Italy (it gave its name to the Adriatic Sea). A famous bearer of the name was Publius Aelius Hadrianus, better known as Hadrian, a 2nd-century Roman emperor who built a wall across northern Britain.
HAMMURABI m Ancient Near Eastern, History
From the Akkadian name Hammu-rapi
, possibly derived from Amorite meaning "uncle is a healer". This was the name of an 18th-century BC king of Babylon who conquered Sumer and Akkad. He is also known for devising a written code of laws.
HIAWATHA m History, Native American, Iroquois
From the Iroquoian name Haio-went-ha
meaning "he who combs". This was the name of a 16th-century Mohawk leader who founded the Iroquois Confederacy. He was later the subject of a fictionalized 1855 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
HYACINTHA f History
Latinate feminine form of HYACINTHUS
, used to refer to the 17th-century Italian saint Hyacintha Mariscotti (real name Giacinta).
INNOCENT m History
From the Late Latin name Innocentius
which was derived from innocens
"innocent". This was the name of several early saints. It was also borne by 13 popes including Innocent III, a politically powerful ruler and organizer of the Fourth Crusade.
IVES m History
English form of YVES
, used to refer to Saint Ives (also called Ivo) of Huntingdonshire, a semi-legendary English bishop.
JOSEPHUS m Dutch, History
Latin form of JOSEPH
. This form is used by Dutch Catholics. In English, it is used primarily to refer to the 1st-century Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus.
JULITTA f History
Diminutive of JULIA
. This was the name of a 4th-century saint who was martyred in Tarsus with her young son Quiricus.
JUSTINIAN m History
From the Latin name Iustinianus
, which was derived from Iustinus
). This was the name of a 6th-century Byzantine emperor who attempted to restore the borders of the Roman Empire.
JUVENAL m History, Portuguese
From the Roman cognomen Iuvenalis
which meant "youthful" in Latin. Juvenal was a Roman satirist of the 1st century.
KATERI f History
From the Mohawk pronunciation of KATHERINE
. This was the name adopted by the 17th-century Mohawk woman Tekakwitha upon her baptism. She has been beatified by the Catholic Church.
KREKA f History
Meaning unknown, possibly of Turkic or Germanic origin. This name was borne by the most powerful of Attila's wives.
LEONARDO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, History
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of LEONARD
. A notable bearer was Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), an Italian artist and scientist of the Renaissance. He is also known as the inventor of several contraptions, including flying machines, as well as the painter of the 'Mona Lisa'. Another famous bearer was Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th-century Italian mathematician. A more recent bearer is American actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-).
LUCAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Lucanus
, which was derived from the name of the city of Luca in Tuscany (modern Lucca). Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, commonly called Lucan, was a 1st-century Roman poet.
MACBETH m History
Anglicized form of the Gaelic given name Mac Beatha
meaning "son of life", implying holiness. This was the name of an 11th-century Scottish king. Shakespeare based his play 'Macbeth' loosely on this king's life.
MAHATMA m History
From the Indian title महात्मा (Mahatma)
meaning "great soul", derived from Sanskrit महा (maha)
meaning "great" and आत्मन् (atman)
meaning "soul, spirit, life". This title was given to, among others, Mohandas Karamchand, also known as Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).
MAKEDA f History
Possibly means "greatness" in Ethiopic. This was the name of an Ethiopian queen of the 10th-century BC. She is probably the same person as the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon in the Old Testament.
MARTIAL m History
From the Roman cognomen Martialis
, which was derived from the name of the Roman god MARS
. The name was borne by Marcus Valerius Martialis, now commonly known as Martial, a Roman poet of the 1st century.
MICHELANGELO m Italian, History
From Italian, meaning "MICHAEL
angel", referring to the archangel Michael. The Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti, from Florence, was the man who created such great works of art as the statue of David
and the mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This name was also borne by the Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio.
MILBURGA f History
Derived from the Old English elements milde
"gentle" and burg
"fortress". Saint Milburga, the sister of Saint Mildred, was a daughter of a 7th-century Mercian king. She was supposedly in possession of magical powers.
NAPOLEON m History, English
From the old Italian name Napoleone
, used most notably by the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was born on Corsica. It is possibly derived from the Germanic Nibelungen
, the name of a race of dwarfs in Germanic legend, which meant "sons of mist". Alternatively, it could be connected to the name of the Italian city of Napoli (Naples).
OCTAVIAN m History, Romanian
From the Roman name Octavianus
, which was derived from the name OCTAVIUS
. After Gaius Octavius (later Roman emperor Augustus
) was adopted by Julius Caesar he took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.
ORIGEN m History
From the Greek name Ωριγενης (Origenes)
, which was possibly derived from the name of the Egyptian god HORUS
combined with γενης (genes)
"born". Origen was a 3rd-century theologian from Alexandria. Long after his death some of his writings were declared heretical, hence he is not regarded as a saint.
OVID m History
From the Roman family name Ovidius
, which was possibly derived from Latin ovis
"a sheep". Alternatively, it could have a Sabellic origin. Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, was a 1st-century BC Roman poet who often wrote on the subjects of love and mythology. He was sent into exile by emperor Augustus for no apparent reason.
PÉPIN m History
Frankish name of unknown meaning. It possibly means "awe-inspiring" from Frankish bib-
"to tremble". This was the name of three majordomos of Austrasia including Pépin III the Short, who became the first Carolingian king of the Franks. He was the father of Charlemagne
PLINY m History
From the Roman family name Plinius
, which is of unknown meaning. Two 1st-century Romans are known by this name: Gaius Plinius Secundus (called Pliny the Elder), a scientist and historian who died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; and Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (called Pliny the Younger), an author and statesman.
POMPEY m History
Modern form of the Roman family name Pompeius
, which was probably derived from a Sabellic word meaning "five". A notable bearer was the 1st-century BC Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey the Great.
PTOLEMY m History
From the Greek name Πτολεμαιος (Ptolemaios)
, derived from Greek πολεμηιος (polemeios)
meaning "aggressive, warlike". Ptolemy was the name of several Greco-Egyptian rulers of Egypt, all descendants of Ptolemy I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. This was also the name of a Greek astronomer.
QUINTILIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Quintilianus
, which was itself derived from the Roman name QUINTILLUS
. A notable bearer was the 1st-century rhetorician Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, simply known as Quintilian in English.
ROXELANA f History
From a Turkish nickname meaning "Ruthenian". This referred to the region of Ruthenia, covering Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia. Roxelana (1502-1558), also known by the name Hürrem, was a slave and then concubine of Süleyman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire. She eventually became his wife and produced his heir, Selim II.
SARGON m History
From the Akkadian name Sharru-kinu
meaning "true king". This was the name (or title) of the first emperor of Akkad (23rd century BC). It was also borne by the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Sargon II, who named himself after the first Sargon.
SPARTACUS m History
Means "from the city of Sparta" in Latin. Spartacus was the name of a Thracian-born Roman slave who led a slave revolt in Italy in the 1st century BC. He was eventually killed in battle and many of his followers were crucified.
SWITHIN m History
From the Old English name Swiðhun
, derived from swiþ
"strong" and perhaps hun
"bear cub". Saint Swithin was a 9th-century bishop of Winchester.
TÁHIRIH f History
Variant of TAHIRA
. This was the title of Fatimah Baraghani, a 19th-century Persian poet, theologian and reformer.
TARQUIN m History
From the Roman name Tarquinius
which is of unknown meaning, possibly Etruscan in origin. This was the name of two early kings of Rome.
TEMUJIN m History
Means "of iron" in Mongolian, derived ultimately from the Turkic word temür
"iron". This was the original name of the Mongolian leader better known by the title Genghis
Khan. Born in the 12th century, he managed to unite the tribes of Mongolia and then conquer huge areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.
THEODORIC m History
From a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the people", derived from the elements theud
"people" and ric
"power, ruler". It was notably borne by Theodoric the Great, a 6th-century king of the Ostrogoths who eventually became the ruler of Italy. By Theodoric's time the Ostrogoths were partially Romanized and his name was regularly recorded as Theodoricus
. The Gothic original may have been Þiudreiks
TIMUR m History, Tatar, Chechen, Kazakh, Uzbek, Russian
From the Turkic name Temür
meaning "iron". Timur, also known as Tamerlane
(from Persian تیمور لنگ (Timur e Lang)
meaning "Timur the lame"), was a 14th-century Turkic leader who conquered large areas of Western Asia.
TRAJAN m History, Macedonian
From the Roman cognomen Traianus
, which is of unknown meaning. The Roman emperor Trajan (full name Marcus Ulpius Traianus) is considered among the most capable men to have led the empire. His military accomplishments include victories over Dacia and Parthia.
TULLY m History
Form of Tullius
) used to refer to the Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.
VEDASTUS m History
Possibly a Latinized form of a Germanic or Celtic name, possibly Germanic WIDOGAST
. This was the name of a 6th-century saint who helped to convert the Frankish king Clovis to Christianity.
VESPASIAN m History
From the Roman cognomen Vespasianus
, derived either from Latin vesper
meaning "west" or "evening" or vespa
meaning "wasp". This was the name of a 1st-century Roman emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the founder of the Flavian dynasty.
XERXES m History
Greek form of the Persian name Khshayarsha
which meant "ruler over heroes". This was a 5th-century BC king of Persia, the son of Darius the Great. He attempted an invasion of Greece, which ended unsuccessfully at the battle of Salamis.
ZARATHUSTRA m History
Possibly means "golden camel" in Old Iranian, derived from zarat
meaning "golden" combined with ushtra
meaning "camel". Zarathustra was the Persian prophet who founded the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism about the 10th century BC.