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Gladiator Baby Names

Gladiator baby names — boys' names from Ancient Rome — are suddenly hot again after a couple of millennia, thanks to Hunger Games, HBO's Rome, Atticus Finch, and Russell Crowe. In Ancient Rome, Lucius — traditionally given to boys born at dawn — was the most popular prenomen, or first name, for boys, followed by Gaius and Marcus. The vast majority of names in gladiator times ended in -ius.

Along with Marcus, other gladiator baby names in the US Top 1000 include Augustus, Cassius, Julius, Maximus, and Titus. Other Ancient Roman names due for revival include Aurelius, Caius, Marius, and Silvanus.

Included on this list are names that were used in Ancient Rome. If you're looking for a baby name for your own little gladiator — or emperor or god, for that matter — consider the following.
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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.

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.

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.

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.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

VirgilHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "staff bearer"
  • Description:

    The name of the greatest Roman poet and an early Irish saint who believed the earth was round, Virgil is heard most notably today as the name of designer Virgil Abloh of Off-White.
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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.

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.

LarsHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian from Latin Laurentius
  • Meaning:

    "crowned with laurel"
  • Description:

    Lars is a perfect candidate for a cross-cultural passport: it has been heard often enough here to sound familiar and friendly, yet retains the charisma of a charming foreigner.

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.

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.
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SeverusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "stern"
  • Description:

    Though it has literary credentials--making an appearance in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and as the mean-spirited teacher Severus Snape in the Harry Potter books, most modern parents would find it too--well--severe.

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.

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.

TheloniusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized variation of Tillo
  • Meaning:

    "lord"
  • Description:

    One of the coolest of names, thanks to legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk, who inherited it from his father. It has been used very sparingly since the 1960s--just a sprinkling of baby boys receive the name each year. Monk's middle name Sphere is pretty unique too--a cousin of Cosmos and Cosmo. Some other jazz names to consider: Bix, Ellington, Ella, Etta, Mingus, Dexter and Calloway. :

QuintusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fifth"
  • Description:

    A literary name figuring in the story of Ben Hur and the novels of Anthony Trollope that has the feel of Roman antiquity that is beginning to appeal to many parents. Quintus was one of only about twenty male first names in ancient Rome.
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DecimusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "tenth"
  • Description:

    Decimus is one of the Roman numeral names used in large Victorian families--in this case for the tenth child. It is now seeing some new life thanks to the cutting-edge fashion for ancient Roman names.

SilvanusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wood; forest"
  • Description:

    In Roman mythology, Silvanus was the god of the forests. He protected farmers and fields and was credited with developing a system for marking field boundaries.

ClaudiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "lame; enclosure"
  • Description:

    Claudius is one of the most user-friendly of the ancient Roman names – even though it's associated with the villainous character in Shakespeare's Hamlet. But as with feminine form Claudia, the "lame" meaning may stymie the rise of Claudius. Some etymologists theorize that the name may relate to the word for enclosure or clause, an alternate meaning that may appeal to a child with a form of this otherwise-appealing name.

TaurusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bull"
  • Description:

    His nickname would inevitably be Bull.

SilviusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wood, forest"
  • Description:

    With the rise of ancient Roman names, the now-obscure Silvius may be rediscovered. Sleek and silvery, Silvius was the name of several legendary kings and an early saint. It survives in the contemporary world in its Spanish and Italian form Silvio, used for the character played by Steven Van Zandt on The Sopranos.
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JuniusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "born in June"
  • Description:

    Junius is one of those names that's growing on us, along with many of its Roman countrymen such as Julius and Atticus. We once thought it was a combination of the least attractive elements of Junior and Julius but now we think...well, we think it's okay. Not great, but okay.

SpartacusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from the city of Sparta"
  • Description:

    Spartacus is the famous name of an ancient Roman slave -- and star of his own eponymous TV series! -- who led a slave revolt and became a renowned gladiator, only to die in the ring. Not considered baby-appropriate for centuries, Spartacus just might rise again along with the names of his fellow gladiators.

FlaviusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "yellow, blond"
  • Description:

    Flavius is an ancient Roman family name associated with a dynasty of emperors. It has an appealingly flavorful first syllable, and is the name of a stylist in the Hunger Games series.

AntoniusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "priceless"
  • Description:

    The original Roman form of ANTHONY might be ready for revival, along with others like MAXIMUS and ATTICUS. Antonius is still used in modern Holland.
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ValeriusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valerius is an ancient Roman family name turned first name. While Valerius is more familiar as its derivatives Valerie and Valerian, the rise of Roman names ending in S for boys may inspire a revival of this strong choice.

ArriusHeart

  • Origin:

    Roman family name
  • Description:

    Arrius appears in the fourteenth century writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, but this name is even older. Arrius was a Roman general, and he appears briefly in Starz original series Spartacus. With names like Maximus and Julius in favor, Arrius fits right in.

ViniciusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wine / vine"
  • Description:

    An Ancient Roman clan name, deriving from Latin vinum (“wine”). Marcus Vinicius was a Roman consul, general, and friend of the emperor Augustus.

SextusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "sixth born"
  • Description:

    Just think about those inescapable "sexy" nicknames. The related Sixtus is not a huge improvement.

LucretiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin clan name
  • Meaning:

    "wealth"
  • Description:

    Lucretius is the name of the Roman philosopher who invented Epicureanism. But even in these days of old Roman name revival, Lucretius sounds a bit long-white-beardish, though it can be enlivened with the nickname Luc.
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PrimusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "first"
  • Description:

    The revival of long-dormant Roman names would put this back in the lexicon if it wasn't so connected to a telecommunications network.

PontiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Roman
  • Meaning:

    "fifth"
  • Description:

    This Roman name is featured in the New Testament as that of the governor of Judea.

FabiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bean"
  • Description:

    Though the Fabian or Fabio versions are more often heard today, Fabius is the Roman family name they originated from. The general Quintus Fabius Maximum was famous for his strategic delaying tactics, so this might be a good choice for a child who is born late!
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ViridiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "green"
  • Description:

    Viridius was a pagan god of ancient Roman Britain. An alternative spelling is Viridios.

SergiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, a Roman clan name
  • Description:

    Rarely heard in modern times, it was used by Norman Mailer for the hero of his book The Deer Park.

LiviusHeart

  • Origin:

    Roman
  • Description:

    Ancient Roman surname from which European favorite LIvia derives.

TarquiniusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, Roman clan name
  • Description:

    An ancient Roman names of unknown origin, generally (albeit rarely) encountered these days in its more streamlined Tarquin form. It was borne by two early kings of Rome.
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