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Ancient Roman Names

Ancient Roman Names
Ancient Roman Names are suddenly hot and fresh again as fashionable baby names, especially for boys — with names such as Felix, Atticus, Cassius, and Cyrus powering up the US popularity charts.

The resurgence of Roman baby names is partly thanks to The Hunger Games, the futuristic book that featured Roman names for most of the male characters, partly because of the HBO series Rome, and also thanks to the classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird and its hero Atticus Finch. Baby names from Ancient Rome on today's roster include several familiar choices along with some fascinating unique baby names yet to be revived.

Roman names in the US Top 600 for girls include Octavia, Valentina, Cecilia, Camilla, and Priscilla. For boys, Roman names in the US Top 600 for boys include Julius, Titus, Marcus, Atticus, and Felix. In Rome, popular names include Antonia, Claudia, Valentina, and Cecilia.

The craze for mythological baby names is another influence on the newfound popularity of Roman names. For even more ancient Roman names, check out our lists of Roman Goddess Names and Roman God Names.
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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.

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.

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.
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CeciliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "blind"
  • Description:

    Cecilia is a feminine form of Cecil, which was derived from a Roman clan name related to the Latin caecus, meaning "blind." The martyred Saint Cecilia was designated the patron of musicians, either because she supposedly sang directly to God while the musicians played at her wedding, or because she sang to God as she was dying. The name was popularized in the Middle Ages as an homage to the Saint.

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.

LuciusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucius is an 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.

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."

JuliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "youthful or sky father"
  • Description:

    Julia was an ancient Roman imperial name given to females in the house of a Julius, as in Caesar. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning "downy-bearded"; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".
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ClaudiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Claude
  • Meaning:

    "lame; enclosure"
  • Description:

    A classic name with a hint of ancient Roman splendor that has never been truly in or truly out, Claudia still feels like a strong, modern choice — one of our "sweet spot" names.

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.

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.

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."

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.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

JuliusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "youthful, downy-bearded"
  • Description:

    Immortal through its association with the ancient Caesar (it was his clan name), Julius may still lag behind Julian, but is definitely starting to make a comeback, and in fact feels more cutting edge, in line with the current trend for Latin -us endings.
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GaiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "earth mother"
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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PriscillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, diminutive of Prisca
  • Meaning:

    "ancient"
  • Description:

    Despite her somewhat prissy, puritanical air, Priscilla has managed to stay widely used for well over a century -- it reached as high as Number 127 in 1940 -- appreciated for its delicacy and solid history.

TatianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian from Latin family name
  • Description:

    Tatiana was derived from Tatius, a Sabine-Latin family name of unknown origin. Titus Tatius was the name of an ancient king who ruled over the Sabines, an ancient Italic tribe who lived near Rome. The Romans used the name Tatius even after the Sabines died out and created the short forms Tatianus and Tatiana. The names were eventually disseminated throughout the Orthodox Christian world, including Russia.

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.

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.

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.
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CamillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "young ceremonial attendant"
  • Description:

    The Spanish Camila, pronounced ka-MEE-la, is the fastest rising version of this ancient Roman name, but recent royal Camilla may have helped promote the British brand. In Roman myth, Camilla was a swift-footed huntress so fast she could run over a field without bending a blade of grass.

MarcellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "warlike"
  • Description:

    Marcella has been in mothballs for so long it's starting to feel stylish again. Depicted as the world's most beautiful woman in Don Quixote (where it's spelled Marcela), this long neglected name seemed dated for decades but just might be ready for restoration. Another so-old-it's-new-again relative: Marcellina. Saint Marcella was a Roman matron of strength and intellect who organized a religious sisterhood at her mansion, which St. Jerome guided in religion and learning.

AntoniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "priceless one"
  • Description:

    Antonia is stronger than most feminized boys’ names, reflecting the pioneer spirit of Willa Cather's classic novel My Antonia. Antonia is hovering near the bottom of the US popularity list, which may be an excellent reason for you to use it.

SeptimusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "the seventh son"
  • Description:

    Septimus is one of the more dashing of the birth-order Latin number names that were revived by the Victorians. So even if you don't anticipate son number 7, you might be bold enough to consider this relic, certainly preferable to sixth-son name Sextus.

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.
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AugustaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Augustus
  • Meaning:

    "great, magnificent"
  • Description:

    Augusta is a dignified name reminiscent of wealthy great-aunts, but with the fashion for both August and Gus for boys, Augusta could get some fresh energy.

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.

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.

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.

VitaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Vital and vivacious, Vita is stirring back to life along with many of her V-themed sisters -- Vivian, Vivica -- and is becoming a new celebrity baby favorite.
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CyprianHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "man of Cyprus"
  • Description:

    With a long and noble history -- Cyprian was one of the great Christian Latin writers -- this could make a highly unusual but meaningful choice.

JuniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, Feminine variation of Junius
  • Meaning:

    "born in June"
  • Description:

    Juno is hot, June is showing signs of a comeback along with other month and day names, whereas Junia, the name of the the first century Christian referred to by the apostle Paul as an apostle (and who may have been male), is yet to be discovered.

CiceroHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "chickpea"
  • Description:

    Roman statesman's name used here for slaves by owners trying to show off their classical education -- and rarely heard since. A bold baby namer could try to bring it into modern life.

AelianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "sun"
  • Description:

    This female form of the ancient Latin Aelian has an appealing sound, though kids might have a hard time handling that initial "ae" spelling. Just remember that the "ae" is pronounced "ee" (think Aesop's fables).The Annals of Aeliana is a children's fantasy series by Ryan Watters. The meaning is uncertain but is thought to derive from the Greek helios, which means sun.

CaesarHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "long-haired"
  • Description:

    Caesar, the name of the greatest Roman of them all, is rarely used outside Latino families, where the Cesar spelling is preferred--as in activist Chavez and Dog Whisperer Millan. Although Caesar meant "long-haired", it came to be the title to denote all Roman emperors and it is from the name Caesar that many other European royal titles are derived, including Kaiser and Tsar.
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UrbanHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "of the city"
  • Description:

    Urban was not an uncommon name through the 1930s (rising as high as Number 435), having been attached to several saints and early popes, but it has completely disappeared from the landscape--both urban and rural. Yet in this era of word name appreciation and trend for 'an'-ending boys' names, we're thinking it might be ready for a return.

LucretiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, female form of Lucretius, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    A pretty and plausible Latin name that's gotten a bad rap through the years via a link to Lucrezia Borgia, who, though long considered a demon poisoner, was actually a patron of learning and the arts.

SenecaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin surname and Native American
  • Meaning:

    "people of the standing rock"
  • Description:

    Seneca's distinguished heritage as the name of the ancient Roman philosopher-playwright who tutored Nero, and of an Iroquois tribe makes this an interesting choice for either sex.

FaustinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fortunate one"
  • Description:

    A name with several distinguished namesakes: the wife of ancient Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a famous Italian opera singer, and two Catholic saints--making it both substantial and unusual.

PhiloHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "loving"
  • Description:

    Could Philo be the next Milo?
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