Nameberry Picks: 12 Most Modern Mythic Names

Baby namers have started to dig deep back into ancient history and myth in their search for fresh and interesting choices.  Roman names like Atticus are rising up the charts, and the whole pantheon of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses is up for rediscovery—already there have been such starbaby sightings as Atlas (Anne Heche), Mars (Erykah Badu) and Hermes (Kelly Rutherford).

Here, Nameberry’s Top Dozen picks in this category:

1. Clio is the name of the Greek muse of history; it’s lively and attractive but without  the heavy Cleopatra association that the Cleo spelling carries.

2. Echo was a mythological mountain nymph and her o-ending name carries pleasant reverberations.

3. Flora, the name of the Roman goddess of flowers and fertility, is symbolic of spring and apt for a baby born in that season.  Like cousin Florence, it is definitely having a rebirth among retro name-seekers.

4. Juno, the name of the patron goddess of ancient Rome, has become a hot modern option, especially since the release of the popular eponymous film. Coldplay’s Will Champion chose it for one of his twins.

5. Jupiter was the Roman king of the gods, and his rhythmic 3-syllable name is just beginning to be considered by cutting-edge namers.

6. Maia was a GrecoRoman goddess of the earth, and her name, especially with the Maya spelling, has become a trendy option, used for their daughter by Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.

7. Mars was the Roman god of war, and could make for a striking and strong middle name.  Singer Erykah Badu used it as her son’s first.

8. Orion, a great hunter in Greek mythology, gave his name to a constellation and dropped down to earth as the son of Mr. Big—Chris Noth.  Makes a distinctive O-starting name, and its similarity to Ryan lends familiarity.

9. Thalassa was the primal spirit of the sea, and could make a soft, pretty and unusual girls’ name

10. Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy and pastoral poetry, is an underused Greek choice that would work well for a contemporary child.

11. Venus, the Roman goddess of beauty, fertility and love, has come down to earth after centuries of seeming overly powerful for a baby girl; the athletic image of tennis star Venus Williams helped humanize it.

12. Zeus, the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus, is another imposing name which still might be too powerful as a first name, but could be striking as a middle.

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25 Responses to “Nameberry Picks: 12 Most Modern Mythic Names”

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Catherine Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 5:20 am

Wow, my hippie hometown was ahead of the times! There was a Jupiter in my class and an Orion in my sister’s (not siblings either!) as well as an Andromeda (who went by Dee), an Autumn (girl), a Spring Dawn (girl), a Django, and an Eau-Vive (girl)..and I graduated in 1997.

caitydaisy Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 8:32 am

I went to college with a girl from Greece named Thalassa. Very cool name. I adore the name Clio too!

Lola Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 8:43 am

Clio is lovely, but I adore Cleo. Looks richer to me. Flora, though has my heart. So sweet and strong! One I think is usable but not on this list is my favorite mythological guy: Apollo. Even as a first with a simple surname. Anyone else ever watch Rockyandd think Apollo Creed had the coolest name, hands down? I like Apollo better than Zeus, anyway. Zeus is a dog name for me!

SJ Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 10:57 am

I think Clio, Flora, Maia, Orion, and Thalia are perfectly usable. Flora is my favorite of them.

Juno seems very trendy/pop culture to me at the moment, and Thalassa is a lot of name.

I think Echo, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Zeus are just WAY too much trouble for an ordinary kid.

katybug Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 11:11 am

Are Thalassa and Thalia pronounced with a th- sound or a hard t- sound?

Charlotte Vera Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I have friends named Talia, Echo (more than one), Venus, and Neptune (all girls). Venus and Neptune are sisters, but other than that my friends aren’t related or even from the same country. I would be fascinated to find the other names on this list on real flesh-and-blood people.

Emmy Jo Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

What a great post!

For a while, I had Clio and Thalia on my “if I ever have twins” list. I think they’d be lovely for sisters. Flora is beautiful, and I’ve known a couple boys with Orion as either the first or middle name. I’m intrigued by Thalassa — I’ve never heard it before. How exactly is it pronounced? I’m saying thuh-LASS-uh, but there’s a good chance that’s not correct.

And you really think Echo is usable? It’s one I’ve always WANTED to be usable, but I’m not so sure it is.

spotlightstarlit Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I love Clio, Echo (or Ekko) and Thalia!

SadieSadie Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Echo is a name I would use if I ever lost my mind and used an unusual name!

Sparrow Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I think Juno is lovely, and I don’t think a three-year-old movie makes it pop culture/trendy–it’s such an old name! Clio is fantastic, and I love Orion too. Maybe I just love O names?

JossieChris Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I like the Norse Gods too… Thor, Odin, Loki, Freya

Macy Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I know an Echo and a Juno, but they’re boys.

Jennie Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Could Orpheus work or is that too out there/too close to Morpheus to use?

Catherine Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Orpheus is 1) too close to Morpheus, IMO and 2) only usable if you plan on raising a kid who never ever researches what his name means.

Anonymous Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 3:24 am

It’s THAH-luh-sah and THAL-ya. If you wanna do it Greek style.

Also the 1st A in both names is pronounced is like AH (what a relief), not like AL(-bert).

Lola Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 8:48 am

Aww, Catherine, Orpheus would make an awesome middle name! Something like: James Orpheus would be stellar, in my book. I think Orpheus is rather tragic, so he fits nicely with Cassandra to me. (I actually know a sibset of Cassandra Diane & Adam Orpheus, pretty!)

I like mythological names quite a bit!

Freddy Says:

December 10th, 2010 at 6:51 am

Love the names Flora and Clio (but the last is also used for a type of car in Europe), Thalia and Juno are really pretty.

Mars = chocolate bar
Orion not nicely pronounced in the Netherlands, but would be a good second name

Freya Says:

December 12th, 2010 at 12:23 am

I have a Jupiter in my class (9th grade), but it’s a nickname (for William, long story). It’s what EVERYONE calls him though. Even the teachers. And my name is Freya. 🙂

Em Says:

December 13th, 2010 at 3:25 am

I know a guy in his early 20s named Orion. I go to school with a boy whose middle name is Zeus.

isabel Says:

February 24th, 2011 at 8:53 pm

love so many of these! I think Calliope is pretty accessible, especially considering the nn Callie.

Kisha Cooper Says:

February 25th, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I’ve always loved loved loved Isis!!

JuliaDrucilla Says:

April 24th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I would not recommend using a lot of these due to bad connotations. The Greeks have a habit of ending their myths somewhat tragically. Especially Echo. Yes, it’s a cool name, but she was a cursed nymph who died after the man she loved (Narcissus– and he only loved himself, not her) perished (he was obsessed with his reflection and forgot to eat and drink). That said, many Greek mythological names are very beautiful. Some really pretty ones that don’t die tragically or anything:
Gaea- Mother Earth, basically.
Rhea- Mother of about half of the major Greek gods/godesses.
Hestia- Nicest of all the gods/godesses.
Leto- Kind mother of Apollo and Artemis.
Ilithyia- Minor godess of childbirth.
Eos- Lovely dawn.
Europa- One of Zeus’s wives (so very beautiful) and queen of Crete.
Io- One of Zeus’s wives. He changed her into a cow, which the jealous Hera took. Eventually she escaped Hera and her wrath and ran to Egypt, where she was proclaimed a godess.
Andromeda- Beautiful wife of Perseus.

Demi Says:

May 20th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I think my name is a pretty modern Greek name. My name is Demetria. My whole family calls me by my full name, my friends and “peers” call me Demi, and a few closer friends call me Tria kinda as a joke. My sisters have greek names too. There’s Alexandra, we sometimes call her Xandra and Calyncia (my parents mispronounced a name and came up with that) Calyncia is kind of like Callista who was a Greek goddess and constellation.

rollo Says:

June 16th, 2011 at 7:14 am

Why have you left out Xanthe?

dotmyiis Says:

April 11th, 2012 at 8:26 am

I love Icarus, Artemis, and Arcadia. I used Icarus for my cat. I think there is a strong possibility of my using the latter two for daughters…

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