Ancient Greek names were based on social mores, culture, religion, language and political life of the times. Being one of the most ancient civilizations, Greek culture and history did much to shape western thought and philosophy.
Ancient Greek Names
Common Greek name can be seen on tombstones, coins, seals, manuscripts, vases and stamps that have come up in archaeological finds over the ages.
Greek civilization in its true form existed till the 13th century and the surrounding regions of Europe were also influenced by the rich history and culture. Ancient Greek names depended on parents, Greek language, and dialects of different regions, the prevailing political life, ethnicity as well as the civic subdivision. The language of the Greeks in ancient times also differed according to regions and the practice of given names existed during the 13th century.
Parents, Religion, Ethnicity, and Language
Tracing the names of well-known Greeks like Socrates and Aristotle were examples of given names. The use of the name of parents came much later as the firstborn took the name of the paternal grandfather.
The second born among Greeks in ancient times got the name of the paternal grandmother. Identifying Greeks began with the inclusion of the parent’s name as the family to which he or she belonged could be easily identifiable.
With a high degree of mobility among Greeks, origin became imperative to identify the person as well as the organization of the city they belonged to. Simple baby names could be nouns or adjectives like Zotico which meant lively while Cressida was gold. Noun and adjectives were combined for a compound baby name like Niko-Lysandra which meant the liberator. Demes meant people or organization while Nicodemus referred to victory.
Religion influenced ancient Greek names like Angelo, Deo, and Ares while military victory denoted Kalonice, Nicole, and several others. Christian name was used after the Roman Empire brought Christianity.
Parents and ethnic traces were dropped and it was the trend after the fall of the Roman Empire, impacting ancient Greek name a great deal.