Valentine’s Day Names: The world’s greatest lovers– beyond Romeo and Juliet

Many of the world’s great lovers in myth, legend and history have highly romantic names—or so they have come to seem as the result of their provenance. From ancient Greek mythology to Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Persian and Italian lore, we find some intriguing names that– despite the often tragic fates of their bearers—continue to celebrate the power of love.

Acme & Septimus

This pair became known via Catullus’s lovely Song 45, in which they were portrayed as the personification of ideal love and devotion. Septimus is one of the more plausible of the Latin numeral names, and a principal character in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

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20 Responses to “Valentine’s Day Names: The world’s greatest lovers– beyond Romeo and Juliet”

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rainierloner Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 8:23 am

Chloe is a gorgeous name, if only it wasn’t so popular… Diarmuid intrigued me and is starting to grow on me as well as Heloise, Leander, Abelard, and Francesca. At first, I thought Hero was just another word name, but after reading this and doing a little research, this name has now become one of my favorites for a girl! Better save it as a middle, though. Isolde and Tristan is one of the best love stories; I have always loved Isolde and it’s cold, wintry feeling. Oh, and Guinevere is really beautiful!

Names that I already liked or am OK with are Septimus, Daphnis, Layla (I actually love this name, but it’s ruined by a certain Laela that I know), Majnun, Niamh, Oisin, Nicolette, Paolo, Tristan, and Thisbe.

Names that I don’t like are Acme (sounds too much like acne), Grainne (sounds too much like grain or granny), Lancelot (a one-person name), Aucassin (too hard to pronounce and spell!), Pyramis (sounds too much like pyramid).

I am surprised and a bit disappointed that the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades was not included on this list… It is my all time favorite love story! But anyways, altogether a great list!

Cupcake3690 Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 8:47 am

@rainierloner Gráinne doesn’t sound anything like grain or granny. Like GRAWN-ya. Though people sometimes use granny as a nickname (I used to call my friend Granny when we were younger and she liked it back then). It can also have a cute nickname Grá which is the Irish word for love.

Oisín is also pronounced like uh-SHEEN where I’m from in Ireland (For a small country, Ireland has a lot of different pronunciations)

I love Chloe (but it’s so popular), Niamh, Isolde, Tristan, Oisín, Francesca, Hero and Lancelot (but I wouldn’t personally use it.

Frankie Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 11:28 am

My eldest, Isolde, was due Valentine’s Day and born five days after – a funny coincidence since it’s not at all why we chose her name.

I love Thisbe. Chloe, Septimus, Niamh, and Lancelot are nice and Grainne is starting to grow at me.

@rainierloner I wouldn’t really consider Hades and Persephone’s myth to be a love story, seeing as he kidnapped and raped her.

iolite Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 12:37 pm

The story of Tristan and Isolde was always my favourite love story, so i was glad to see them here. I love both their names and if I ever had a baby on Valentine’s day, then they’d definitely be called Tristan or Isolde. Great post!

Sorceress Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 1:28 pm

The most interesting part in this blog were pictures. Don’t like many names, but I do like Isolde, Tristan, Francesca, Thisbe, Arthur’s Queen (hard to spell), Lancelot…

RainstreamofSpiritClan Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

One ofmy favorite mythological couples is Hector and Andromache. I also love Eros and Psyche.

findemaxa13 Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

@RainstreamofSpiritClan I feel you about Hector and Andromache! Both are on my list, probably as middle names. Of the names in this article, I love Tristan and Guinevere. Some of my favorite names are from Arthurian legend, both GP and not so GP. Elaine, Gawain, Agravaine, Mordred, Morgana, Emrys, and my ultimate guilty pleasure, Vortigern. (Seriously, how cool of a name is Vortigern?) I also really like Hero and Francesca, and Layla, although I prefer the spelling Leila.

Dantea Says:

February 14th, 2014 at 5:35 pm

@Frankie — Greek priestess here 😛 Hades didn’t kidnap her. He though she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and asked Zeus for her hand (as was the custom back then) and Zeus agreed that Hades could marry her. When Persephone as several other goddesses were picking flowers, Hades came and got her as agreed upon. Demeter hadn’t been informed of the deal, so she was understandably angry. Persephone was offered food and she willingly took it. To passify everyone, Zeus offered the deal that Persephone could spend half her time with her husband and half with her mother, which everyone agreed to. Hades is actually, in the Greek religion, considered to be a fair and just ruler of the Underworld.

And as for the list, I liked most of them, actually, but none I was really use (except Guinevere).

spotlightstarlit Says:

February 15th, 2014 at 11:36 am

I love that the Saracen woman depicted is a blond white woman! Lol.

I think this is a spectacular list and I wish it could go on and on! My favorites are Thisbe, Hero and Leander, all of which are on my list.

Giinkies Says:

February 15th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I love Nicolette, if this was the 80s when Nicole was a top name, I would have used this variation. Nicolette or Nicola.
Tristian I like, but I do prefer Iseult to Isolde.

tori101 Says:

February 15th, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Such a great read! Loving so many of these romantic choices : )

miloowen Says:

February 15th, 2014 at 5:00 pm

So many lovely names, such as Tristan, Paolo, Septimo (which I prefer to Septimus), and Diarmuid for boys; Chloe, Francesca, Grainne, and Iseult for girls. I can’t ever hear of either Pyramus or Thisbe without thinking of the Mechanicals’ goofy play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though. It would be hard to take those names seriously, after the performance my son’s troupe did of that play (he was Peter Quince).

Too bad you weren’t inclusive though. You could have added David and Jonathan, Richard and Philip, Edward and Piers, Walt and Peter, Larry and Danny….Hector and Achilles….Iphis and Ianthe, Gertrude and Alice….etc.

auroradawn Says:

February 15th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I really like a few of these, especially Oisin, Diarmuid and Isolde. Septimus might be a real favorite of mine if it wasn’t a number name…I think I’d have to find some numerical significance somehow to be able to consider it!

@miloowen, I’m not sure if your comment is tongue-in-cheek or not, but David and Jonathan were NOT lovers.

WarpedBritt Says:

February 15th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

I love Thisbe so much, but my husband’s first reaction was, “like frisbee?” 🙁

linda Says:

February 15th, 2014 at 7:43 pm

@miloowen: unfortunately when we do a slideshow we’re limited to 12 – 14 names.

findemaxa13 Says:

February 16th, 2014 at 9:54 am

When viewing this for the second time, I came to the disturbing revelation that the picture of Lancelot looks disturbingly like Prince Humperdink from the Princess Bride.

findemaxa13 Says:

February 16th, 2014 at 9:55 am

@findemaxa13 In fact, it was so disturbing that I used the word twice in one sentence!

miloowen Says:

February 16th, 2014 at 7:39 pm

auroradawn, my reading of the Torah says differently….one of the best openly-kept secrets in Judaism.

linda, I know.

auroradawn Says:

February 17th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

@miloowen–is your reading of the Torah modern? It seems impossible to me that the writer(s) of 1 & 2 Samuel, Kings and Chronicles would have let a homosexual relationship, something that would have been repugnant to most of Jewish society at the time, pass without comment. Look at the story about David’s adultery with Bathsheba, or Amnon’s incestuous affair with his sister Tamar–given to us in detail, complete with morals. Homosexual practice is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments, but David and Jonathan were secret lovers who were praised as righteous men? I don’t think so.

tfzolghadr Says:

February 18th, 2014 at 5:20 am

Khosrau and Shirin (aka. Farhad and Shirin), and Ramin and Vis should so be on here! However, I think only Shirin would be usable.

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