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Ancient Girl Names

Ancient Girl Names

There are so many ancient names for girls — from Rome and Byzantium, from Olde England and Germany, all the way to Mongolia — that deserve to be unearthed in the interest of cool. Ancient, historical female names such as Persephone and Octavia are currently staging a comeback, while plenty of even more rare girl names wait in the wings.

Along with Octavia and Persephone, other ancient girl names in the US Top 1000 include Arya, Aurelia, Calliope, Hadassah, Itzel, Lucia, Valentina, and Valeria. We have our eye on Minerva, Juno, Honoria, and Cyra to be among the next wave of ancient girl names to be revived.

Cool names for girls from neglected ancient name cultures include Maaza (Amharic), Belig (Mongolian), and Niloufar (Persian). Here's a selection of worthy ancient names for baby girls, from a range of eras and places.

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Ancient Boy Names

Ancient Names for Babies

  1. AureliaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "the golden one"
    • Description:

      Aurelia is the female form of the Latin name Aurelius, an ancient Roman surname. Aurelius is derived from the Latin word aureus, meaning "golden," which was also the name of a gold coin used in Ancient Rome. Aurelius was a cognomen, a third name in Roman culture that often referenced a personal characteristic or trait, likely used for someone with golden hair.
  2. PersephoneHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek mythology name
    • Description:

      Persephone is the esoteric name of the Greek mythological daughter of Zeus by Demeter, the queen of the harvest. After she was kidnapped by Hades to be Queen of the Underworld, it was decreed by Zeus that she would spend six months of the year with her mother, allowing crops to grow, and six in mourning, thus accounting for the seasons.
  3. CalliopeHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek mythology name
    • Meaning:

      "beautiful voice"
    • Description:

      Calliope is the name of the muse of epic poetry -- and also the musical instrument on the merry-go-round. Bold and creative, it would not be the easiest name for a girl lacking such qualities. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2016. While Americans usually pronounce this name with a long I sound and the emphasis on the second syllables, Greeks pronounce it with the emphasis on the third syllable -- ka-lee-OH-pee.
  4. MilaHeart
    • Origin:

      Slavic, Russian
    • Meaning:

      "gracious; dear"
    • Description:

      Mila is a given name with Russian and Slavic provenance. It began as the diminutive form for names such as Ludmila, Milena, and Milica. Mila can be a nickname for any name containing the element mil, meaning "gracious" or "dear."
  5. JunoHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "queen of the heavens"
    • Description:

      Juno is an ancient name that feels as fresh as if it had been minted — well, not yesterday, but in 2007. Since the release of the popular indie film Juno, this lively but strong o-ending Roman goddess name has become more and more prominent as a potential baby name — Coldplay's Will Champion chose Juno for one of his twins (whose brother is the kingly Rex).
  6. LuciaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian, feminine variation of Lucius, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      Lucia is derived from lux, the Latin word for light. It is considered to be the feminine form of Lucius as well as the Latinate spelling of Lucy. Due to its connection to light, Lucia was traditionally given to babies born as daylight was breaking.
  7. IsoldeHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "ice ruler"
    • Description:

      Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.
  8. ValentinaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "strength, health"
    • Description:

      Valentina is a more romantic and artistic ballerina-type successor to Valerie; a pretty, recommended choice. Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek and husband Francois-Henri Pinault named their daughter Valentina Paloma.
  9. CassiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Feminine form of Cassius or Greek
    • Meaning:

      "cinnamon"
    • Description:

      Cassia is related to the cassia tree, which has yellow flowers and produces a spice that can be a substitute for cinnamon. Keziah, the name of Job’s daughter in the Old Testament, derives from the name of the plant as well. Cassia also has ties to the Ancient Roman name Cassius, an Ancient Roman family name meaning "hollow."
  10. OctaviaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "eighth"
    • Description:

      Octavia began as the Latin, then Victorian name for an eighth child. While there aren't many eighth children anymore, this ancient Roman name has real possibilities as a substitute for the overused Olivia; recommended for its combination of classical and musical overtones. It was chosen for his daughter by Kevin Sorbo.
  11. GaiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "rejoicing"
    • Description:

      The name of the Greek mythological earth goddess and universal mother; actress Emma Thompson stated that she was attracted by its ecological element, so other "green" parents may want to follow her lead.

  12. LiviaHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Olivia or Latin
    • Meaning:

      "blue, envious"
    • Description:

      Though it sounds like a chopped-off variation of Olivia, which means olive, the distinctively attractive Livia has been an independent name since the days of the ancient Romans, when it belonged to Livia Drusilla—the powerful wife of the Emperor Augustus—and is still commonly heard in modern Italy.
  13. MinervaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "of the mind, intellect"
    • Description:

      Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength, one of the mythology names for girls that might appeal to adventurous feminist parents. With Juno and Jupiter, she made the Capitoline triad, whose worship was at the very center of Roman religion.
  14. AryaHeart
    • Origin:

      Sanskrit; Modern variation of Aria
    • Meaning:

      "noble; air/song"
    • Description:

      Arya was derived from an Indo-Iranian word meaning "Aryan" or "noble." It is a masculine given name in Iran, Indonesia, Bali, and Sanskrit-speaking regions of India. In Hindu- and English-speaking parts of the world, Arya is more often a feminine name, the latter influenced by the similar Italian name Aria, meaning "air" or "song."
  15. AshaHeart
    • Origin:

      Sanskrit; Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "hope; life"
    • Description:

      Asha is an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit word for hope or desire, but it is also a Swahili name derived from Aisha, meaning life. Since the ascendance of Ashley through the 1980s and 90s, all baby names Ash-related have been used in the U.S. for both girls and boys, from Ashlyn to Ashby, Ashton to Asher. Despite its separate roots, Asha is part of this group. Asha is finding new life through its Game of Thrones connections.
  16. CyraHeart
    • Origin:

      Persian or Greek
    • Meaning:

      "sun or throne, or lord"
    • Description:

      Cyra is an unusual name that can be pronounced either SEER-a or CY-ra. This name may be a feminine variation of Cyrus but is also a Persian name that stands on its own. One noted bearer is writer Cyra McFadden.
  17. SabinaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "Sabine"
    • Description:

      Sabina is a sleek but neglected name (possibly due to The Rape of the Sabine Women) from an ancient Roman tribal name that's well worth consideration. The equally alluring Sabine is heard in France. Related names include the more popular Sabrina or Serena. All are equally lovely. There have been characters named Sabina in Thornton Wilder's play The Skin of Our Teeth and the Milan Kudera novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
  18. VivianaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "life"
    • Description:

      Lively and rhythmic version of Vivian heard in Italy and Spain. A vivid choice.
  19. ValeriaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "strength, health"
    • Description:

      Valeria -- the original form of the name, used by early Christians -- is now more popular than the Franco-American Valerie.
  20. DrusillaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "fruitful"
    • Description:

      Drusilla is an ancient Roman name, (probably) borne by descendants of Antony and Cleopatra, and is one of the 'illa' names that are ready for a comeback, especially with its cute short form Dru.