Ancient history is fascinating to so many of us, particularly fans of fantasy. There’s just something magical about imagining the lives of people thousands of years ago, from the pedestrian to the wild tales of myth. When making your own character, choosing a name that not only sounds historically accurate, but also inspires readers to conjure their own image of the complex worlds of ancient times.
Good Ancient Greek Names
With their diligence in documentation, the Ancient Greeks established a strong roster of names to choose from. Expectations could be set for a child with the name of a famous Olympian, or one inspired by an important god. If you want to set up a character for a great fall, you could even choose a name everyone will recognise from a great tragedy of myth.
A mighty name for a man with a taste for freedom. When Astylos enters the room, every nation’s champion gets a shiver down their spine.
Hypatia flys the flag for women in the sciences, with a confidence and mastery of maths to match any man in the forum.
Female Ancient Greek Names
Women in Ancient Greece may not have had the same status or rights as men, but that didn’t stop them achieving some amazing feats and places among the pantheon of gods. When choosing a name for a female character, you can draw inspiration from these outstanding women who made their mark on history.
A name for one with the gravitas of the Gods, Olympia was born of the mountains but has her feet firmly planted in the senate.
With an aulos in one hand, and lyre in the other, Ptolemais uses her keen mind to strike the right chord with everyone she meets.
Male Ancient Greek Names
From fighters and athletes to senators and philosophers, Ancient Greek history is littered with men of great renown. To hint at your characters nature or skills, choose a name associated with one of these roles, or play around with the syllables to make something entirely new!
Quick as a flash and twice as strong, Epitelidas will collect every medal before the games are through.
Fairness for all is Cleisthenes’ motto, as he works to democratize power for all in the land.
Ancient Greek Last Names
Last names as we use them now didn’t appear in Ancient Greek society until the Byzantine period, when nobles began to take them on. Before this, people either used a single name, or made reference to their tribe or birthplace. To give your character an authentic name, you can combine elements of their town, role in society, and even reputation in the field of battle.
A rebel’s name, indicating to all who cross this family that they won’t be beaten down without a fight.
This family traces their lineage all the way back to the first counting house. It’s best to stay on their good side, because they’re experts in collecting debts.
What did you think of these names? I hope you discovered something new about the Ancient Greeks and their naming conventions. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and share the article with anyone other fans of ancient history!