Menu
ADVERTISEMENT

Cool Boy Names from Ancient Cultures

Cool boy names are the order of the day, yet why invent a unique name when there are so many ancient names — from Rome and Old Scandinavia to the Himalayas — that deserve to be unearthed in the interest of cool? Ancient boy names ending in -us are particularly popular right now, such as Atticus and Titus.

Along with Atticus and Titus, other cool boy names from ancient cultures in the US Top 1000 include Alexander, Cassius, Cyrus, Felix, Jasper, Magnus, Orion, and Sebastian. We predict that Caius, Ramses, Rhodes, and Zephyr will be among the next wave of ancient boy names to catch on.

Cool names for boys from neglected ancient name cultures include Osiris (Egyptian), Zenebe (Amharic), and Polo (Tibetan). Here's a selection of worthy ancient choices, from a range of eras and places, that make cool unique baby names for boys.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

AtticusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from Attica"
  • Description:

    Atticus derives from the Greek Attikos, meaning “from Attica,” the Ancient Greek region that contained Athens. Atticus is a literary name in more ways than one. Before it became synonymous with Atticus Finch, the name Atticus was associated with Titus Pomponius Atticus, a Roman literary figure.

FelixHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "happy, fortunate"
  • Description:

    Felix was originally a Roman surname but was adopted as a nickname by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that he was especially blessed with luck by the gods. It is the name of four popes and sixty-seven saints; in the Bible, Felix is a Roman procurator of Judea.

CassiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "hollow"
  • Description:

    Cassius, a Shakespearean name rooted in antiquity, is coming into fashion in a major way. There were two notable Ancient Roman figures named Cassius. Cassius Dio wrote an 80-volume history of Rome. Gaius Cassius Longinus, a senator who led the assassination plot against Julius Caesar, is the main figure in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. In more modern times, Cassius Clay was an abolitionist and also the birth name of boxer Muhammad Ali. It was chosen for their sons by singer Bobby Brown and Getty heir/actor Balthazar Getty. Vanessa Marcil and Brian Austin Green used the nouveau Kassius spelling for theirs. With these namesakes, it's no surprise this name has become popular in recent years.

AtlasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology
  • Meaning:

    "bearer of the heavens"
  • Description:

    Previously thought too powerful for a baby boy – who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders – Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names now in the realm of possibility, along with Mars, Zeus and Apollo. It was one of the fast-rising names on the list in recent years in the USA, jumping from oblivion in 2012 into the Top 500 in 2015, and climbing several hundred places higher since then. Anne Heche was one of the first to make this audacious choice, but several celebrity parents have followed suit.

SebastianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "person from ancient city of Sebastia"
  • Description:

    Sebastian is derived from the Greek Sebastianos, meaning “from Sebastia.” Sebastia was a city in Asia Minor—modern day Sivas, Turkey. Sebastian is a name with a substantial history, first as the third-century martyr whose sufferings were a favorite subject of medieval artists, then as the name of memorable characters in such varied works as Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Tempest and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
ADVERTISEMENT

OrionHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Orion is a rising star, with both mythical and celestial overtones.

JasperHeart

  • Origin:

    Persian
  • Meaning:

    "bringer of treasure"
  • Description:

    Jasper originated as a variation of the Latin Gaspar, which ultimately derived from the Persian word ganzabara, meaning “bringer of treasure.” As a given name, Jasper’s etymology is unrelated to that of the gemstone, which comes from a Semitic word meaning “speckled stone.” Jasper is the usual English form for one of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to the infant Christ according to medieval tradition and appears in the Bible as a reference to the stone itself in Revelations 4:3.

CyrusHeart

  • Origin:

    Persian
  • Meaning:

    "sun"
  • Description:

    Very popular in the Iranian community, this name of the founder of the Persian Empire has had a more down-home, corncob pipe-smoking image for most Americans in the past, but this has begun to change.

BodhiHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "awakening, enlightenment"
  • Description:

    Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as "enlightenment" or "awakening" which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego. The Bodhi tree is a large fig tree under which the founder of Buddhism received enlightenment. Spelling variations include Bodie and Bode.

OttoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Cutting-edge parents have revived this German name a la Oscar.
ADVERTISEMENT

MagnusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "greatest"
  • Description:

    Magnus is a Latin name, literally meaning “greatest,” that has a Scandinavian feel. It dates back to Charlemagne being called Carolus Magnus, or Charles the Great. Norwegian king Magnus I, named after Charlemagne, introduced it to his culture, and thus Magnus was the name of six early kings of Norway and four of Sweden. It is still a highly popular name in Denmark and Norway.

AlexanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Alexander is derived from the Greek name Aléxandros, composed of the elements aléxein, meaning “to defend,” and aner, meaning “man.” According to Greek legend, the first Alexander was Paris, who was given the nickname Alexander by the shepherds whose flocks he defended against robbers. He was followed by Alexander the Great, aka Alexander III, who conquered much of Asia.

LuciusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucius is an exotic old Roman clan name that has lots of religious and literary resonance, yet is still vital today. It was the name of three popes, appears in several Shakespeare plays, and, like all the names beginning with 'luc' relates to the Latin word for light.It was one of a limited number of forenames used in ancient Rome.

ZephyrHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "west wind"
  • Description:

    If you're looking for a boy's name that's light and breezy, this could be it. A name from mythology: Zephyrus/Zephyr was the Greek god of the west wind-- with many European variations, it's a name that's frequently seen in computer and video games, is a character in the children's book Silverwing, and appears in the Babar books--as a monkey.

AureliusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "the golden one"
  • Description:

    Since Aurelius was given the supermodel seal of approval by Elle Macpherson, this is one of the Roman emperor names, like Augustus, now in the realm of possibility. Like the female Aurelia and Aurora, Aurelius has a particularly warm golden aura.
ADVERTISEMENT

CaiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "rejoice"
  • Description:

    Caius is classical and serious but also has a simple, joyful quality. There was a third century pope named Caius, as well as an early Christian writer, several Shakespearean characters, and a Twilight vampire. We would pronounce the name to rhyme with eye-us though at Cambridge University in England, where it's the name of a college, it's pronounced keys. Caius is currently Number 164 on Nameberry.

TitusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, meaning unknown, possibly "title of honour"
  • Meaning:

    "title of honour"
  • Description:

    Titus, once seen as a slightly forbidding Roman, New Testament, and Shakespearean name, was brought back to contemporary life in the USA by the TV series Titus 2000, increasing in popularity along with other revived ancient names like Linus and Silas.

RufusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "red-head"
  • Description:

    Rufus is a rumpled, redheaded (it was the nickname for red-haired King William) ancient Roman name popular with saints and singers (e.g. Rufus Wainwright); now, Rufus is on the cutting edge of cool.

OsirisHeart

  • Origin:

    Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "with strong eyesight"
  • Description:

    Osiris is the name of Egyptian mythology god-king who died and was reborn every year. Emerging from centuries of obscurity, Osiris has several ingredients for success in the modern world: Roots in ancient myth, an uplifting meaning, an s ending and the cute nickname Os or Oz.

CosmoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "order, beauty"
  • Description:

    We all heard it on "Seinfeld" as the long-concealed first name of Kramer, now some pioneering parents are wondering if this expansive Greek name that seems to embrace the whole cosmos could make a creative and cool choice for their baby.
ADVERTISEMENT

AaravHeart

  • Origin:

    Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful"
  • Description:

    Aarav is derived from the Sanskrit root “rav,” which is related to peace and music. Aarav is also associated with the concept of wisdom. It has traditionally been a common name among Hindus, who intentionally select names to inspire particular values in their children.

RemusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    Remus is one of the legendary twins who, with brother Romulus, founded Rome. An unusual yet classic name for the extremely adventurous who can put aside the stereotyped image of Uncle Remus. Though because of that "ream" first syllable, we prefer Romulus.

LazarusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized Greek variation of Hebrew Eleazar
  • Meaning:

    "God is my helper"
  • Description:

    Lazarus is a name that looks as if it could possibly be raised from the dead, just like its biblical bearer. Look for it in the next wave of Old Testament revivals that transcend their long-bearded images, the way Noah, Moses, and Abraham have for this generation.

RhodesHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "where roses grow"
  • Description:

    A Greek island and a prestigious scholarship make an upper-crusty first name.

MaximusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "greatest"
  • Description:

    The powerful name of the powerful character played by Russell Crowe in the 2000 film Gladiator first appeared on the popularity charts that same year. Max to the max. One time considered a "too much name" name, Maximus has entered the realm of possibility.
ADVERTISEMENT

HiroHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "broad, widespread"
  • Description:

    Hiro is an apt name for a hero of the show Heroes -- and for our times. Widely used in Japan, sometimes also for girls. Hiroshi is a long form.

AugustusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "great, magnificent"
  • Description:

    Parents are beginning to look at imposing, somewhat fusty-sounding names like this one with fresh eyes: they definitely make a strong statement.

LeanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lion-man"
  • Description:

    Leander is an almost unknown name with great potential as a possible alternative to the overused Alexander. In Greek legend, Leander was the powerful figure who swam across the Hellespont every night to visit his beloved Hero, a priestess of Venus.

OziasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "salvation"
  • Description:

    Everyone says they want an unusual name — well, if you truly do, this is one with Biblical cred that fits the bill, with the added attraction of the user-friendly nickname of Oz or Ozzie. Ozias is the name of several minor figures in the Bible. Osias is another spelling.

CatoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "all-knowing"
  • Description:

    Cato conjures up images of ancient Roman statesmen and southern antebellum retainers; it could have revival potential, with its 'O' ending and the current interest in the names of Greek and Roman antiquity.
ADVERTISEMENT

MarcusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "warlike"
  • Description:

    Though ancient, Marcus now sounds more current than Mark, in tune with today's trend towards us-ending Latinate names.

IvoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood, archer"
  • Description:

    Ivo is an unusual, catchy name with the energetic impact of all names ending in 'o'. Hardly heard in the U.S., it is used a bit more frequently in England, as is the related Ivor, a favorite of such novelists as Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse. Ivo is currently most popular in the Netherlands.

ThorHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "thunder"
  • Description:

    Thor, the powerful name of the Norse god of thunder, strength and rain, would make a bold statement. Long a comic book staple, Thor has now invaded the big screen, and could land on birth certificates as well.

WolfgangHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "traveling wolf"
  • Description:

    Chef Wolfgang Puck has helped soften this thunderous Germanic name; music-lovers will appreciate its association with Mozart, though the composer's middle name Amadeus is more appealing.

NeroHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "stern"
  • Description:

    The association with the infamous Nero, the fiddling Roman emperor, would be unavoidable. But there was also the detective Nero Wolfe, hero of many mystery stories.
ADVERTISEMENT

MariusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, from a Roman family name related to Mars, the god of war
  • Description:

    Marius, frequently heard in Germany and France, is a slightly fusty yet accessible name that has (Les Mis) to Anne Rice. With the rise in interest in such Latin names as Maximus and Atticus, Marius might start attracting more attention. Mario, the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese version of Marius, is much more widely used.

AmadeusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "lover of God"
  • Description:

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's middle name could make an interesting pick for music-loving parents--if only in middle place. Amadeus is the title of a Peter Shaffer play which became an award-winning film in 1984.

CorneliusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "horn"
  • Description:

    Cornelius, the New Testament name of a third century Pope and saint, is one of those venerable Latin names on the edge of consideration, despite the corny nickname alert.

AndreasHeart

  • Origin:

    Original New Testament Greek variation of Andrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Andreas is a beautiful name, with the patina of an Old Master painting, one that could make an exotic namesake for an Uncle Andrew.

OctaviusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "eighth"
  • Description:

    Octavius, which was at one time used for the eighth child in a family, has the worn leather patina of all the ancient Roman names now up for reconsideration.
ADVERTISEMENT

TiberiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "of the Tiber"
  • Description:

    The name of an important ancient Roman emperor, Tiberius might sound a bit heavy for a modern boy to carry, but with the rise of Atticus, Tiberius and brothers begin to feel more baby-friendly, much in the same way as Old Testament names like Elijah and Isaiah have been rejuvenated.

TarquinHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, Roman clan name
  • Description:

    One of the few ancient Roman names that doesn't end in us, the rarely heard Tarquin has a decidedly creative, even dramatic flair, which could appeal to the parent looking for a strikingly original name. Sir Laurence Olivier used it for his oldest child, who was named Simon Tarquin but called by his middle name.

MarcellusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "young warrior"
  • Description:

    This ancient Roman family name, first borne by the distinguished Marcus Claudius Marcellus and later by two popes, is a possibilty in the hot new category of names from antiquity.

IchiroHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "firstborn son"
  • Description:

    Ichiro is a good classic choice for the first boy in a Japanese family.

DemetriusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "follower of Demeter"
  • Description:

    Classical and Shakespearean name that may appeal if you like your names long, flowing and multicultural.
ADVERTISEMENT

HoratioHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Latin Horatius
  • Meaning:

    "hour, time"
  • Description:

    Like Horace, Horatio is a variation on the Latin Horatius, but its Shakespearean and optimistic Horatio Alger pedigree makes it an attractive up-and-comer, especially with its cool final o. A modern reference is the charismatic TV character Horatio Caine played by David Caruso in CSI: Miami.

BrunoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brown"
  • Description:

    Bruno is a popular name throughout Europe and South America that deserves more attention here. Its color meaning makes it one of the perfect names for November babies, or really a boy born in any of the autumn months.

RomulusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "citizen of Rome"
  • Description:

    He was the original Roman, Remus's twin and a founder of Rome. But parents attracted to this name are advised to read the legend first. Romulus does have some less than savory characteristics, including killing his twin brother and making Rome in his own image, and is later deified as Quinnius. Romy and Quinn might make good twin names.

JustusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "just"
  • Description:

    More unusual than Justin, less word-like than Justice, this New Testament name could make an intriguing choice. After being off the popularity lists from 1904 to 1993, it is now being used in steady numbers.

GaiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "to rejoice"
  • Description:

    Stately Gaius (pronounced GUY-us) was in the name of many ancient Romans, including Julius Caesar. Little-used before the year 2000, it now feels like a fresh possibility in the revival of Latin boys' names like Atticus and Cassius. Caius and derivatives like Caio come from the same root. You could also see Gaius as a male version of the earth-goddess name Gaia.
ADVERTISEMENT
Loading ...