Ancient Names for Babies

ancient baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran 

Can the rise of ancient names for babies be credited to the prominence of Sophia, Amelia, Zoe, and Atticus on international baby name popularity lists?

Or maybe it’s a reaction against all the new names and trends that have mushroomed over the past few decades, from word names to nature names to place names to invented names.

Or maybe it’s the start of a new millennium that makes us consider the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, or a new interest in names from mythology, or TV shows and movies starring hunky gladiators.

All these influences have undoubtedly helped revive ancient Greek and Roman names for modern girl and boy babies, appearing on birth announcements throughout the Western World.

If you’re looking for a really old name for your new baby, here are some that sound stylish today.



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13 Responses to “Ancient Names for Babies”

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blueylit Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 4:52 am

I adore the name Aphrodite with the nickname Aphra or Dittie but I imagine it’s a harder one to wear…

IslandMoon Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 5:40 am

I love so many of these names, especially Xanthe, Vita, Cecilia, Livia, Felix, Lucian, Zephyr and Cassius. Ambrosia just makes me think of custard though!

Flyingkids Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 5:55 am

Ophelia and Zephyr are my favorites but most of these ancient names are beautiful.

LadyBix Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 6:04 am

Great names list. I love to see something old get a new life. I especially like, Theodora, Tatiana, Roxana, Lysander, and Cassius. Can someone tell me how to pronounce Xanthe? It looks beautiful but I’ve never heard a pronunciation of it.

onomastodon Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 6:38 am

@LadyBix: Where I live, Xanthe is pronounced ZAN-thee (zan ryhmes with van/anne/can. Thee rhymes with sea/me/flea, with a ‘th’ as in thick/thin/three.

CocoaPuff Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 1:38 pm

I love the idea of Titus, but cannot shake the imagery of Titus Andronicus out of my head enough to use it myself.

baffled_jessica Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 1:51 pm

I love Aphrodite, Xanthe, Persephone and Artemis for girls. For boys I like Atlas, Lysander, Atticus and Felix. Mythology and history is one of my favorite places to look for inspiration about names. To me this stories and history of a name is very important to me. Not that more modern names can’t have that aspect of meaning.

brittanyanitarose Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 2:35 pm

My partner and I are definitely fond of older names and many from antiquity in particular. Our son is named Archimedes, and we have plans for our next to have a name in a similar vein. Xanthe up above is a potential middle name if we have a daughter.

Scorpio Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 7:22 pm

Magnus, Lysander, Octavia and Hester are all wonderful, in my opinion.

Bobcat108 Says:

March 27th, 2018 at 8:51 pm

This reminds me of a YA novel from the mid-20th century, The Luck of Daphne Tolliver. She was one of nine (I think) siblings & all of them had names that Mama had chosen from her beloved copy of Bullfinch’s Mythology. I don’t remember all of the siblings’ names, but there were Apollo (Poll) & Diana (twins), Daphne, Minerva (Minnie), Proserpina (Prossy), Ariadne, & Jupiter (Jupy).

nuttymussel Says:

March 28th, 2018 at 12:36 am

I love so many of these! Alba, Artemis, Athena, Cecilia, Hero, Octavia, Xanthe, Atlas, Augustus, Leon, Lysander and Theodore are all incredible!

Josie1497 Says:

March 28th, 2018 at 11:14 pm

I’ve always liked the idea of Aphrodite nn Rhodi (roh- dee)

IzzyH Says:

March 31st, 2018 at 10:35 pm

My daughter’s name is Ambrosia. She’s 9. We get a lot of compliments on it.

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