Ancient Macedonian Names
KINGS OF MACEDON
ALEXANDROS m Ancient Greek (ALEXANDER Latinized)
From the Greek name Alexandros, which meant ‘defending men’ from Greek alexein ‘to defend, protect, help’ and aner ‘man’ (genitive andros). Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, is the most famous bearer of this name. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. The name was borne by five kings of Macedon.
PHILIPPOS m Ancient Greek (PHILIP Latinized)
From the Greek name Philippos which means ‘friend of horses’, composed of the elements philos ‘friend’ and hippos ‘horse’. The name was borne by five kings of Macedon, including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great.
AEROPOS m Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Male form of Aerope who in Greek mythology was the wife of King Atreus of Mycenae. Aeropos was also the son of Aerope, daughter of Kepheus: ‘Ares, the Tegeans say, mated with Aerope, daughter of Kepheus (king of Tegea), the son of Aleos. She died in giving birth to a child, Aeropos, who clung to his mother even when she was dead, and sucked great abundance of milk from her breasts. Now this took place by the will of Ares.’ (Pausanias 8.44.) The name was borne by two kings of Macedon.
ALKETAS m Ancient Greek (ALCAEUS Latinized)
Derived from Greek alke meaning ‘strength’. This was the name of a 7th-century BC lyric poet from the island of Lesbos.
AMYNTAS m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek amyntor meaning ‘defender’. The name was borne by three kings of Macedon.
ANTIGONOS m Ancient Greek (ANTIGONUS Latinized)
Means ‘like the ancestor’ from Greek anti ‘like’ and goneus ‘ancestor’. This was the name of one of Alexander the Great’s generals. After Alexander died, he took control of most of Asia Minor. He was known as Antigonus ‘Monophthalmos’ (‘the One-Eyed’). Antigonos II (ruled 277-239 BC) was known as ‘Gonatos’ (‘knee, kneel’).
ANTIPATROS m Ancient Greek (ANTIPATER Latinized)
From the Greek name Antipatros, which meant ‘like the father’ from Greek anti ‘like’ and pater ‘father’. This was the name of an officer of Alexander the Great, who became the regent of Macedon during Alexander’s absence.
ARCHELAOS m Ancient Greek (ARCHELAUS Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Archelaos, which meant ‘master of the people’ from arche ‘master’ and laos ‘people’.
ARGAIOS m Greek Mythology (ARGUS Latinized)
Derived from Greek argos meaning ‘glistening, shining’. In Greek myth this name belongs to both the man who built the Argo and a man with a hundred eyes. The name was borne by three kings of Macedon.
DEMETRIOS m Ancient Greek (DEMETRIUS Latinized)
Latin form of the Greek name Demetrios, which was derived from the name of the Greek goddess Demeter. Kings of Macedon and the Seleucid kingdom have had this name. Demetrios I (ruled 309-301 BC) was known as ‘Poliorketes’ (the ‘Beseiger’).
KARANOS m Ancient Greek (CARANUS Latinized)
Derived from the archaic Greek word ‘koiranos’ or ‘karanon”, meaning ‘ruler’, ‘leader’ or ‘king’. Both words stem from the same archaic Doric root ‘kara’ meaning head, hence leader, royal master. The word ‘koiranos’ already had the meaning of ruler or king in Homer. Karanos is the name of the founder of the Argead dynasty of the Kings of Macedon.
KASSANDROS m Greek Mythology (CASSANDER Latinized)
Possibly means ‘shining upon man’, derived from Greek kekasmai ‘to shine’ and aner ‘man’ (genitive andros). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam and Hecuba. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies. The name of a king of Macedon.
KOINOS m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek koinos meaning ‘usual, common’. An Argead king of Macedon in the 8th century BC.
LYSIMACHOS m Ancient Greek (LYSIMACHUS Latinized)
Means ‘a loosening of battle’ from Greek lysis ‘a release, loosening’ and mache ‘battle’. This was the name of one of Alexander the Great’s generals. After Alexander’s death Lysimachus took control of Thrace.
MENELAOS m Greek Mythology (MENELAUS Latinized)
Means ‘withstanding the people’ from Greek meno ‘to last, to withstand’ and laos ‘the people’. In Greek legend he was a king of Sparta and the husband of Helen. When his wife was taken by Paris, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy in an effort to get her back. After the war Menelaus and Helen settled down to a happy life. Macedonian naval commander during the wars of the Diadochi and brother of Ptolemy Lagos.
MELEAGROS m Greek Mythology (MELEAGER Latinized)
Derived from Greek meleagris meaning ‘pheasant’. Mythical hero from Aetolia, and one of the Argonauts. His father Oineus forgot to make sacrifices to Artemis, and as a punishment, she sent a huge boar to ravage Calydon. Meleager gathered the best hunters of Greece to kill the boar in what became known as the Calydonian hunt. Also the name of a king of Macedon (ruled 279 BC).
ORESTES m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek orestais meaning ‘of the mountains’. In Greek myth he was the son of Agamemnon. He killed his mother Clytemnestra after she killed his father. The name of a king of Macedon (ruled 399-396 BC).
PAUSANIAS m Ancient Greek
King of Macedon in 393 BC. Pausanias was also the name of the Spartan king at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, and the name of the Greek traveller, geographer and writer whose most famous work is ‘Description of Greece’, and also the name of the man who assassinated Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC.
PERDIKKAS m Ancient Greek (PERDICCAS Latinized)
Derived from Greek perdika meaning ‘partridge’. Perdikkas I is presented as founder of the kingdom of Macedon in Herodotus 8.137. The name was borne by three kings of Macedon.
PERSEUS m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek pertho meaning ‘to destroy’. Perseus was a hero in Greek legend. He killed Medusa, who was so ugly that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone, by looking at her in the reflection of his shield and slaying her in her sleep. The name of a king of Macedon (ruled 179-168 BC).
PTOLEMEOS m Ancient Greek (PTOLEMY Latinized)
Derived from Greek polemeios meaning ‘aggressive’ or ‘warlike’. Ptolemy was the name of several Greco-Egyptian rulers of Egypt, all descendents of Ptolemy I, one of Alexander the Great’s generals. This was also the name of a Greek astronomer. Ptolemy ‘Keraunos’ (ruled 281-279 BC) is named after the lighting bolt thrown by Zeus.
PYRRHOS m Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology (PYRRHUS Latinized)
Derived from Greek pyrros meaning ‘flame-coloured, red’, related to pyr ‘fire’. This was another name of Neoptolemus the son of Achilles. The name of a king of Macedon (ruled 287-285 BC). This was also the name of a 3rd-century BC king of Epirus.
TYRIMMAS m Greek Mythology
Tyrimmas, an Argead king of Macedon and son of Coenus. Also known as Temenus. In Greek mythology, Temenus was the son of Aristomaches and a great-great grandson of Herakles. He became king of Argos. Tyrimmas was also a man from Epirus and father of Evippe, who consorted with Odysseus (Parthenius of Nicaea, Love Romances, 3.1)
QUEENS AND ROYAL FAMILY
EURYDIKE f Greek Mythology (EURYDICE Latinized)
Means ‘wide justice’ from Greek eurys ‘wide’ and dike ‘justice’. In Greek myth she was the wife of Orpheus. Her husband tried to rescue her from Hades, but he failed when he disobeyed the condition that he not look back upon her on their way out. Name of the mother of Philip II of Macedon.
PHERENIKE f Ancient Greek (BERENICE Latinized)
Means ‘bringing victory’ from pherein ‘to bring’ and nike ‘victory’. This name was common among the Ptolemy ruling family of Egypt.
KLEOPATRA f Ancient Greek (CLEOPATRA Latinized), English
Means ‘glory of the father’ from Greek kleos ‘glory’ combined with patros ‘of the father’. In the Iliad, the name of the wife of Meleager of Aetolia. This was also the name of queens of Egypt from the Ptolemaic royal family, including Cleopatra VII, the mistress of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. After being defeated by Augustus she committed suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp. Also the name of a bride of Philip II of Macedon.
STRATONIKE f Ancient Greek (STRATONICE Latinized)
Means ‘victorious army’ from stratos ‘army’ and nike ‘victory’. Sister of King Perdiccas II. “…and Perdiccas afterwards gave his sister Stratonice to Seuthes as he had promised.” (Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Chapter VIII)
THESSALONIKI f Ancient Greek
Means ‘victory over the Thessalians’, from the name of the region of Thessaly and niki, meaning ‘victory’. Name of Alexander the Great’s step sister and of the city of Thessaloniki which was named after her in 315 BC.
GENERALS, SOLDIERS, PHILOSOPHERS AND OTHERS
Usage: Greek Mythology
Means ‘against birth’ from Greek anti ‘against’ and gone ‘birth’. In Greek legend Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. King Creon of Thebes declared that her slain brother Polynices was to remain unburied, a great dishonour. She disobeyed and gave him a proper burial, and for this she was sealed alive in a cave. Antigone of Pydna was the mistress of Philotas, the son of Parmenion and commander of Alexander the Great’s Companion cavalry (Plutarch, Alexander, ‘The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans’).
APOLLODOROS m Ancient Greek
Means ‘gift of Apollo’ from the name of the god Apollo combined with Greek doron ‘gift’. The name of one of Alexander the Great’s Companions (Arrian, Anabasis, Book III, 16 and Book VII, 18).
ARISTANDROS m Ancient Greek (ARISTANDER Latinized)
Means ‘best man’, derived from aristos meaning ‘best’, and aner ‘man’ (genitive andros). The name of a soothsayer who accompanied Alexander the Great on his conquests (Plutarch, Alexander, ‘The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans’).
ARISTOPHANES m Ancient Greek
Derived from the Greek elements aristos ‘best’ and phanes ‘appearing’. The name of one of Alexander the Great’s personal body guard who was present during the murder of Cleitus. (Plutarch, Alexander, ‘The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans’). This was also the name of a 5th-century BC Athenian playwright.
ARISTOTELES m Ancient Greek (ARISTOTLE Latinized)
From the Greek name Aristoteles which meant ‘the best purpose’, derived from aristos ‘best’ and telos ‘purpose, aim’. This was the name of an important Greek philosopher who made contributions to logic, metaphysics, ethics and biology among many other fields.
ARISTON m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek aristos meaning ‘the best’. The name of a Macedonian officer on campaign with Alexander the Great (Arrian, Anabasis, Book II, 9 and Book III, 11, 14).
KLETUS m Ancient Greek (CLETUS Latinized)
Means ‘calling forth’ or ‘summoned’ in Greek. A phalanx battalion commander in Alexander the Great’s army at the Battle of Hydaspes. Also the name of Alexander’s nurse’s brother, who severed the arm of the Persian Spithridates at the Battle of the Granicus.
HEPHAISTION m Greek Mythology
Derived from Hephaistos (‘Hephaestus’ Latinized) who in Greek mythology was the god of fire and forging and one of the twelve Olympian deities. Hephaistos in Greek denotes a ‘furnace’ or ‘volcano’. Hephaistion was the companion and closest friend of Alexander the Great. He was also known as ‘Philalexandros’ (‘friend of Alexander’).
HERAKLEIDES m Ancient Greek (HERACLEIDES Latinized)
Perhaps means ‘key of Hera’ from the name of the goddess Hera combined with Greek kleis ‘key’ or kleidon ‘little key’. The name of two Macedonian soldiers on campaign with Alexander the Great (Arrian, Anabasis, Book I, 2; Book III, 11 and Book VII, 16).
KLEITOS m Ancient Greek (CLEITUS Latinized)
Means ‘splendid, famous’ in Greek. This was the name of one of Alexander the Great’s generals.
KRATEROS m Ancient Greek (CRATERUS Latinized)
Derived from Greek ‘krater’ meaning ‘wine jar’. This was the name of one of Alexander the Great’s generals. A friend of Alexander the Great, he was also known as ‘Philobasileus’ (‘friend of the King’).
NEOPTOLEMOS m Greek Mythology (NEOPTOLEMUS Latinized)
Means ‘new war’, derived from Greek neos ‘new’ and polemos ‘war’. In Greek legend this was the name of the son of Achilles, brought into the Trojan War because it was prophesied the Greeks could not win it unless he was present. After the war he was slain by Orestes because of his marriage to Hermione. Neoptolemos was believed to be the ancestor of Alexander the Great on his mother’s (Olympias’) side (Plutarch). The name of two Macedonian soldiers during Alexander’s campaigns (Arrian, Anabasis, Book I, 6 and Book II, 27).
PHILOTAS m Ancient Greek
From Greek philotes meaning ‘friendship’. Son of Parmenion and a commander of Alexander the Great’s Companion cavalry.
PHILOXENOS m Ancient Greek
Meaning ‘friend of strangers’ derived from Greek philos meaning friend and xenos meaning ‘stranger, foreigner’. The name of a Macedonian soldier on campaign with Alexander the Great (Arrian, Anabasis, Book III, 6).
SELEUKOS m Ancient Greek (SELEUCUS Latinized)
Means ‘to be light’, ‘to be white’, derived from the Greek word leukos meaning ‘white, bright’. This was the name of one of Alexander’s generals that claimed most of Asia and founded the Seleucid dynasty after the death of Alexander in Babylon.
BUCEPHALUS Ancient Greek
The name of the horse of Alexander the Great. The name derives from the two Greek words vous (‘ox’) and kephali (‘head’), meaning the horse with a head as big as an ox’s head.
HEGELOCHOS m (HEGELOCHUS Latinized)
Known as the conspirator. His name derives from the greek verb (ηγέομαι = “walking ahead” + greek noun λόχος = “set up ambush”).
POLEMON m ancient Greek
From the house of Andromenes. Brother of Attalos. Means in greek “the one who is fighting in war”.
LAOMEDON m ancient greek
Friend from boyhood of Alexander and later Satrap. His names derives from the greek noun laos (λαός = “people” + medon (μέδω = “the one who governs”)
AUTODIKOS m ancient greek
Somatophylax of Philip III. His name in greek means “the one who takes the law into his (own) hands”
BALAKROS m ancient Greek
Son of Nicanor. We already know Macedonians usually used a “beta” instead of a “phi” which was used by Atheneans (eg. “belekys” instead of “pelekys”, “balakros” instead of “falakros”). “Falakros” has the meaning of “bald”.
NIKANOR (Nικάνωρ m ancient Greek; Latin: Nicanor) means “victor” – from Nike (Νικη) meaning “victory”.
Nicanor was the name of the father of Balakras. He was a distinguished Macedonian during the reign of Phillip II.
Another Nicanor was the son of Parmenion and brother of Philotas. He was a distinguished officer (commander of the Hypaspists) in the service of Alexander the Great. He died of disease in Bactria in 330 BC.
HERMIAS m ancient Hellinic
Philosopher – derives from the Hellinic God Hermes. Possibly indicating association with the gymnasium of which Hermes, Herakles and Theseus were patron Gods.
ANAXARCHOS m ancient Hellinic
Philosopher – his name derives from “anax” = ‘lord’, ‘master’ and “archos” = ‘master’. Giving the meaning of lord master.
ZOILOS m ancient Hellinic
Writer – From zo-e (ΖΩΗ) indicating ‘lively’, ‘vivacious’. Hence the Italian ‘Zoilo’
ZEUXIS m ancient Hellinic
Painter from Heraclea – from ‘zeugnumi’ = ‘to bind’, ‘join together’
LEOCHARIS m ancient Hellinic
Sculptor – Deriving from ‘Leon’ = ‘lion’ and ‘charis’ = ‘grace’. Literally meaning the ‘lion’s grace’.
DEINOKRATIS m ancient Hellinic
Helped Alexander to create Alexandria in Egypt.
From ‘deinow’ = ‘to make terrible’ and ‘kratein’ = “to rule”
Obviously indicating a ‘terrible ruler’
ADMETOS (Άδμητος) m Ancient Greek
derive from the word a+damaw(damazw) and mean tameless,obstreperous.Damazw mean chasten, prevail
ANDROTIMOS (Ανδρότιμος) m Ancient Greek
derive from the words andreios (brave, courageous) and timitis(honest, upright )
PEITHON m Ancient Greek
Means “the one who persuades”. It was a common name among Macedonians and the most famous holders of that names were Peithon, son of Sosicles, responsible for the royal pages and Peithon, son of Krateuas, a marshal of Alexander the Great.
SOSTRATOS m Ancient Greek
Derives from the Greek words “Σως (=safe) +Στρατος (=army)”. He was son of Amyntas and was executed as a conspirator.
DIMNOS m Ancient Greek
Derives from the greek verb “δειμαίνω (= i have fear). One of the conspirators.
TIMANDROS m Ancient Greek
Meaning “Man’s honour”. It derives from the greek words “Τιμή (=honour) + Άνδρας (=man). One of the commanders of regular Hypaspistes.
TLEPOLEMOS ,(τληπόλεμος) m Ancient Greek
Derives from greek words “τλήμων (=brave) + πόλεμος (=war)”. In greek mythology Tlepolemos was a son of Heracles. In alexanders era, Tlepolemos was appointed Satrap of Carmania from Alexander the Great.
AXIOS (Άξιος) m ancient Greek
Meaning “capable”. His name was found on one inscription along with his patronymic “Άξιος Αντιγόνου Μακεδών”.
THEOXENOS (Θεόξενος) ancient Greek
Derives from greek words “θεός (=god) + ξένος (=foreigner).His name appears as a donator of the Apollo temple along with his patronymic and city of origin(Θεόξενος Αισχρίωνος Κασσανδρεύς).
MITRON (Μήτρων) ancient Greek
Derives from the greek word “Μήτηρ (=Mother)”. Mitron of Macedon appears in a inscription as a donator
VOULOMAGA (Βουλομάγα) f ancient greek
Derives from greek words “Βούλομαι (=desire) + άγαν (=too much)”. Her name is found among donators.
KLEOCHARIS (Κλεοχάρης) M ancient greek
Derives from greek words “Κλέος (=fame) + “Χάρις (=Grace). Kleocharis, son of Pytheas from Amphipoli was a Macedonian honoured in the city of Eretria at the time of Demetrius son of Antigonus.
PREPELAOS (Πρεπέλαος) m, ancient Greek
Derives from greek words “πρέπω (=be distinguished) + λαος (=people). He was a general of Kassander
From the Pella Katadesmos names:
THETIMA f Ancient Greek
It has the meaning “she who honors the gods”; the standard Attic form would be Theotimē.
DIONYSOPHON m Ancient Greek
It has the meaning “Voice of Dionysos”. The ending -phon is typical among ancient greek names.
AEGAI Ancient Greek
Derives from the Greek word Aega meaning ‘goat’. The name of the first capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. Karanos, the first king of Macedonia, who in order to find a place for the capital of the kingdom, followed a herd of goats (aegai) and settled the capital at the place were the goats had stopped. The goat appears as a symbol on Alexander I’s coins (E. N. Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus (1990) 127-128 and 285-286 [coins]; N.G.L. Hammond, History of Macedonia II  8).
MAKEDONIA Ancient Greek (MACEDONIA Latinized)
From Latin Macedonius “Macedonian,” from Greek Makedones, literarily “highlanders” or “the tall ones,” related to makednos “long, tall,” makros “long, large.”
The name “Macedon” is derived from the tribe of the “Makednoi” (“ma(e)kos” = length). It has the same root, which means ‘long’, ‘high’ or ‘tall’ as in the Greek adjective ‘makednos’ or the noun ‘mekos.’ The name Macedon therefore derives from ‘Makedones’ which means “tall people” or “highlanders”.
The Greek word ‘makednos’ is first mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey (Od. H106), and later by Herodotus, who called ‘Makednon eunos’ the various Doric tribes among which he included the Macedonians (Herodotus I.56, VIII.43):
’…during the reign of Deucalion, Phthiotis was the country in which the Hellenes dwelt, but under Dorus, the son of Hellen, they moved to the tract at the base of Ossa and Olympus, which is called Histiaeotis; forced to retire from that region by the Cadmeians, they settled, under the name of Macedni, in the chain of Pindus.’
According to ancient Greek mythology, Makedon was the name of the tribeleader of the Makedones – the part of the protohellenic tribe of Makednoi which spread throughout Western, Southern and Central Macedonia. The name Makedon comes from Makednos, which is derived from the Greek word Makos meaning length. The Makedones (or Macedonians) were regarded as tall people, and they are likely to have received their name on account of their height – for example Homer uses the term “makednis” while talking about the leaves of tall poplar trees.
From the Greek name Kyrillos which was derived from Greek kyrios ‘lord’. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was a 4th-century bishop and a Doctor of the Church. Saint Cyril of Alexandria was a 5th-century theologian. Another Saint Cyril was a 9th-century linguist and a Greek missionary to the Slavs. The Cyrillic alphabet, which is still used today, was created by him and his brother Methodius in order to translate the Bible into Slavic.
Usage: Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Roman form of the Greek name Methodios, derived from Greek methodos meaning ‘pursuit’ or ‘method’, ultimately from meta ‘with’ and hodos ‘road’. Saint Methodius was a Greek missionary to the Slavs who developed the Cyrillic alphabet (with his brother Cyril) in order to translate the Bible into Slavic