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Unique Names from History

Unique Names from History
Unique baby names aren't only the new and the invented; there are also many highly unusual names with deep historic roots. Celebrities have chosen unique historical names such as Hero and Lozen for their children.

Along with Hero and Lozen, other fashionable and unique names from history that would work well on modern babies include Alaric, Cassia, Cato, Eluned, Isolde, Leonidas, Meliora, and Xerxes. Among those with the strongest ties to their historical figures are Cicero, Godiva, Nefertiti, and Siddhartha.

Read more about this topic in our overview on unique names of every kind. Here's a selection of the most intriguing, but you'll find many more in our lists of mythological names, biblical names, and names from ancient cultures.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. LeifHeart
    • Origin:

      Scandinavian
    • Meaning:

      "heir, descendant"
    • Description:

      Leif is one of the most recognizable Scandinavian names, thanks to Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson, and is still one of the best, with a pleasant aural association with the word leaf.
  4. 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."
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. AlaricHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "all-powerful ruler"
    • Description:

      Alaric is an ancient regal name that sounds modern enough to be considered. Alaric was a traditional name for the kings of the Ostrogoths, the most famous of whom was Alaric I, the King of the West Goths who sacked Rome in 410.
  8. AliaHeart
    • Origin:

      Arabic feminine form of Ali
    • Meaning:

      "supreme, exalted"
    • Description:

      Alia is most classic and feminine form of Ali, one of the 99 attributes of Allah. The name is used by Christians, Muslims and Jews; the word Aliyah means to make a pilgrimage to Israel and the words in both languages mean sublime, lofty, or exalted. Alia is also the name of the heroine of Frank Herbert's science fiction classic Children of Dune
  9. 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.
  10. AcaciusHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "thorny; or, innocent, not evil"
    • Description:

      Acacius is a Latinized form of the Ancient Greek Akakios and can be interpreted to relate to the same root as the name Acacia, for the thorn bush, or Akakios which means "not evil." With the modern taste for ancient names that end in "us," this obscure but attractive choice may have a chance of new life. Acacius is the name of three early saints.
  11. AchillesHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "thin-lipped"
    • Description:

      The name of the great Homeric hero with the vulnerable heel (portrayed by Brad Pitt in Troy) is widely used in European versions but rarely here. It certainly make a strong statement It premiered on the US Top 1000 list in 2015 and has been climbing ever since.
  12. AletheaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "truth"
    • Description:

      Alethea, the name of the Greek goddess of truth, came into fashion in England in the 16th century, in tandem with the virtue names. Alethea may find new favor now as one of the goddess names stylish for baby girls.
  13. LeonidasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "lion"
    • Description:

      Leonidas is an ancient name that has started rising again along with centuries-old names such as Augustus and Cato. The original Leonidas was the most famous of Sparta's warriors, sacrificing his life at the Battle of Thermopylae; there is also a saint Leonidas.
  14. ConstantineHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "steadfast"
    • Description:

      This Roman Emperor's name has long been considered too grand for an American boy. But in this era of children named Augustine and Atticus, it just may be prime for an unlikely comeback.
  15. AmbrosiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek mythology name or feminine form of Ambrose, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "Immortal"
    • Description:

      Ambrosia combines some of the more whimsical qualities of more popular Aurora and Isabella, with a heavenly meaning.
  16. BrutusHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "heavy, dull"
    • Description:

      Brutus is the quintessential brute--far too close to the word brutal. And any child with this name would spend much of his life hearing "Et tu."
  17. ErasmusHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "beloved, desired"
    • Description:

      Erasmus has long retained the image of the bearded and bespectacled Dutch philosopher, but could be one that the audacious baby namer just might dare to dust off.
  18. ApolloniaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek, Feminine variation of Apollo, Greek sun god.
    • Description:

      This name of a third-century Christian martyr has an romantic, appealing feel in the modern world. It first came to American attention via Prince's love interest in the film Purple Rain.
  19. GalenHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "calm, healer"
    • Description:

      Many will associate this name with Galen of Pergamon, the second-century physician considered to be the founding father of medicine. A more recent reference is Star Wars character Galen Erso. The name still projects a gentle, scholarly image, while sharing sounds with more popular names like Aiden and Nathan. Bonus: it's also an anagram of Angel.
  20. TheodosiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "giving to God"
    • Description:

      This feminine form of Theodosius has long been buried deep in the attic, but might be a good discovery for the parent who wants to move beyond Theodora. Vice President Aaron Burr named a daughter Theodosia ("Dear Theodosia" is a song in the smash musical Hamilton), and it was the birth name of silent screen vamp Theda Bara. Theodosia actually appeared on the US popularity lists in the 1880s and 90s.