This is an introduction to some names and naming patterns found in classical Greek writing and inscriptions. Greek pronunciation, spelling, and grammar varied from time to time and place to place. This article focuses on forms and patterns common in Attic and Hellenistic Greek.

Table of Contents

The Greek alphabet
Given names
Given name patterns
Lists of given names (Masculine and Feminine)
Name construction
Patronymics and metronymics
Locative or ethnic bynames
Occupational names
Bibliography and further resources

Alphabet and transliteration

The "Classical" transliteration in the following tables was used by the Romans to write Greek names in Latin contexts. The "Modern scholarly" transliteration is typically used by English-speaking scholars of classical Greek. Bear in mind that the spelling and pronunciation differ from that used by speakers of the modern Greek language.

Modern scholarly editions of classical Greek writing typically include accent marks, using a system developed by classical grammarians. Accents were not always used in ancient Greek writing, and they are typically omitted from transliterations; we will not discuss them in detail, and some of our lists will omit them altogether.

In addition to the rules described in the table below, the Romans often converted names ending in -ος (-os) to the Latin ending -us.

Letter name Greek letter Classical transliteration Modern scholarly transliteration
Alpha Α α A a A a
Αι αι Ae ae Ai ai
Beta Β β B b B b
Gamma Γ γ G g G g
γγ ng ng
γκ nc nk
γξ nx nx
γχ nch nch or nkh
Delta Δ δ D d D d
Epsilon Ε ε E e E e
Ει ει E e Ei ei
I i
Zeta Ζ ζ Z z Z z
Eta Η η E e Ē ē
Theta Θ θ Th th Th th
Iota Ι ι I i I i
Kappa Κ κ C c K k
Lambda Λ λ L l L l
Mu Μ μ M m M m
Nu Ν ν N n N n
Xi Ξ ξ X x X x
Omicron Ο ο O o O o
Οι οι Oe oe Oi oi
Ου ου U u Ou ou
O o
Pi Π π P p P p
Rho Ρ ρ R r R r
Sigma Σ σ S s S s
ς s s
Tau Τ τ T t T t
Upsilon Υ υ Y y Y y
Υι υι Ui ui Ui ui
Yi yi
Phi Φ φ Ph ph Ph ph
Chi Χ χ Ch ch Ch or Kh ch or kh
Psi Ψ ψ Ps ps Ps ps
Omega Ω ω O o Ō ō
Rough breathing H h H h
Note: the h of a rough breathing is placed before an initial vowel, but after an initial consonant.
Smooth breathing ᾿

The archaic letter Digamma (Ϝ, ϝ) represented the W sound.

Given names

Given name patterns


  • Masculine names often end in –ος (-os) or –ης (-ēs).
  • Feminine names often end in –η (ē) or –α (-a).
  • Some names, such as Δᾶμις (Damis), were used by people of different genders.

Roots and etymology

Some frequent themes in the etymology of classical Greek names include:

  • Names based on places (Thēbaios 'from Thebes')
  • Names based on animals (Leōn, Hippokratēs)
  • Names based on virtues or positive traits (Aristо̄n)
  • Theophoric names, which incorporate the names of gods.

Theophoric names may be simple adjectives, such as Apollōnia from the name of the god Apollo (Greek Apollōn) or Dēmētrios from the name of the goddess Demeter (Greek Dēmētēr). Occasionally, theophoric names are the exact name of a god or mythological figure, such as Athēnē or Kallistō. Theophoric names may also be compounds such as Apollodо̄ros or Diogenēs which combine a reference to a god with another term. Note that ancient Greeks did not reference the gods of the dead, such as Hades or Persephone, in personal names.

Some roots used in theophoric compounds

Masculine suffix

Feminine suffix

Masculine suffix

Feminine suffix
































Name lists

The following lists of given names are taken from a list of the most popular names in Attica compiled by the editors of the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. They are alphabetized using the order of the Greek alphabet.

You can find more classical Greek given names using the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names database search tool.

Masculine names

  • ᾿Αγαθοκλης (Agathoklēs)
  • ᾿Αθηναιος (Athēnaios)
  • ᾿Αθηνοδωρος (Athēnodо̄ros)
  • ᾿Αλεξανδρος (Alexandros )
  • ᾿Αντιοχος (Antiochos)
  • ᾿Απολλοδωρος (Apollodо̄ros)
  • ᾿Απολλωνιος (Apollо̄nios)
  • ᾿Αριστων (Aristо̄n)
  • ᾿Αρτεμων (Artemо̄n)
  • ᾿Ασκληπιαδης (Asklēpiadēs)
  • ᾿Αττικος (Attikos)
  • ᾿Αφροδισιος (Aphrodisios)
  • Διογενης (Diogenēs)
  • Διοδωρος (Diodо̄ros)
  • Διοκλης (Dioklēs)
  • Διονυσιος (Dionusios)
  • Διονυσοδωρος (Dionusodо̄ros)
  • Δημητριος, Δαματριος (Dēmētrios, Damatrios)
  • Δωροθεος (Dо̄rotheos)
  • ᾿Επαφροδιτος (Epaphroditos)
  • ᾿Επιγονος (Epigonos)
  • ᾿Επικρατης (Epikratēs)
  • ᾿Επικτητος (Epiktētos)
  • ᾿Ευκαρπος (Eukarpos)
  • ᾿Ευπορος (Euporos)
  • ᾿Ευτυχιδης, ᾿Ευτυχιδας (Eutichidēs, Eutuchidas)
  • Ζωιλος (Zо̄ilos)
  • Ζωπυρος (Zо̄puros)
  • Ζωσιμος (Zо̄simos)
  • ῾Ηρακλειδης (Hērakleidēs)
  • Θεοδωρος, Θευδωρος (Theodо̄ros, Theudо̄ros )
  • Θεοφιλος (Theophilos)
  • ᾿Ισιδοτος (Isidotos)
  • ᾿Ισιδωρος (Isidо̄ros)
  • Καλλιας (Kallias )
  • Καλλιστρατος (Kallistratos )
  • Κηφισοδωρος (Kēphiodо̄ros)
  • Μενανδρος (Menandros)
  • Νικιας (Nikias)
  • Νικοστρατος (Nikostratos)
  • Νικων (Nikо̄n)
  • ᾿Ονησιμος (Onēsimos)
  • Παμφιλος (Pamphilos)
  • Στρατων (Stratо̄n)
  • Σωκρατης (Sо̄kratēs)
  • Σωστρατος (Sо̄stratos)
  • Φιλοκρατης (Philokratēs)
  • Φιλιππος (Philippos)
  • Φιλοκλης (Philoklēs)
  • Φιλων (Philо̄n)

Feminine names

  • Απολλωνια, Απολλωνιη (Apollо̄nia, Apollо̄niē)
  • ᾿Αθηναις (Athēnais)
  • ᾿Αρισταγορα (Aristagora)
  • ᾿Αριστοκλεια (Aristokleia)
  • ᾿Αριστομαχη (Aristomachē)
  • ᾿Αριστονικη (Aristonikē)
  • ᾿Αρτεμισια (Artemisia)
  • ᾿Αρχεστρατη (Archestratē)
  • ᾿Αρχιππη (Archippē)
  • ᾿Αφροδισια (Aphrodisia)
  • Γλυκερα (Glukera)
  • Δημοστρατη (Dēmostratē)
  • Δημητρια (Dēmētria)
  • Δημω, Δαμω (Dēmо̄, Damо̄)
  • Διονυσια (Dionusia)
  • Λυσιστρατη (Dusistratē)
  • ᾿Ειρηνη, ᾿Ειρηνα (Eirēnē, Eirēna)
  • ᾿Ευκλεια (Eukleia)
  • ᾿Ευκολινη (Eukolinē)
  • ᾿Ευφροσυνη (Euphrosunē)
  • Ζωσιμη (Zо̄simē)
  • ῾Ηδεια (Hēdeia)
  • ῾Ηδιστη (Hēdistē)
  • ῾Ηδυλη (Hēdulē)
  • Θεοφιλη, Θεοφιλα (Theophilē, Theophila)
  • ᾿Ισιας (Isias)
  • Καλλιστομαχη (Kallistomachē)
  • Καλλιστρατη (Kallistratē)
  • Καλλιστω (Kallistо̄)
  • Κλεοπατρα (Kleopatra)
  • Κλεω (Kleо̄)
  • Λυσιμαχη (Lusimachē)
  • Μαλθακη (Malthakē)
  • Μελιττα, Μελισσα (Melitta, Melissa)
  • Μικα (Mika)
  • Μνησιστρατη (Mnēsistratē)
  • Μυρρινη, Μυρρινα (Murrinē, Murrina)
  • Νικαρετη (Nikaretē)
  • Νικομαχη (Nikomachē)
  • Νικοστρατη (Nikostratē)
  • Παμφιλη (Pamphilē)
  • Σωστρατη (Sо̄stratē)
  • Φανοστρατη (Phanostratē)
  • Φιλη, Φιλα (Philē, Phila)
  • Φιλιππη, Φιλιππα (Philippē, Philippa)
  • Φιλουμενη (Philoumenē)
  • Χαιρεστρατη (Chairestratē)

Name construction

The two most common byname constructions are patronymics, which identify someone's father, and ethnic or locative adjectival bynames, which say where a person is from. Metronymics, which identify a person's mother, and occupational descriptions also appear in classical Greek texts.

Patronymics and metronymics

You construct a patronymic or metronymic by putting the parent's name in the genitive case. This changes the ending of the name, and is equivalent to adding the English word “of”. For example, Dioklēs son of a man named Philippos would be known as Dioklēs Philippou, and Mika daughter of Philippos would be Mika Philippou. If Dioklēs's mother was named Zо̄simē, he might also be known as Dioklēs Zо̄simēs.

Occasionally, patronymics included a definite article, meaning "the", before the parent's name. The correct form is τοῦ (tou) before a father's name and τῆς (tēs) before a mother's name. (These are the genitive singular masculine and genitive singular feminine forms of the definite article.) For example, Dioklēs son of Philippos and Zо̄simē might also be known as Dioklēs tou Philippou or Dioklēs tēs Zо̄simēs.

The following tables give some of the most common genitive endings.

Father’s name ends in…

Genitive ending

-ος (-os)

-ου (-ou)

-ης (-ēs)

Usually -ου (-ou)

-ας (-as)

Usually -ου (-ou)

-ων (-о̄n)

Usually -ωνος (-о̄nos)


Mother’s name ends in…

Genitive ending

-η (-ē) -ης (-ēs)
-α (-a) -ας (-as)

Locative or ethnic bynames

In classical Greek documents, people are often described by adjectives corresponding to the place where they were from. Adjectives referencing a specific city or town are often called "ethnic" bynames. The citizens of some Greek cities, particularly Athens, were divided into groups called demes. A demotic byname is a specific kind of adjective that identifies someone's deme.

Most locative adjectives have distinct masculine and feminine forms. The adjective follows someone's name, usually without a definite article. For example, Nikostratos from Corinth would be Nikostratos Korinthios and Mika from Corinth would be Mika Korinthia.

When somebody is described by both a patronymic and an ethnic adjective, the patronymic comes first. For example, if Nikostratos was the son of Aristippos, he might be known as Nikostratos Aristippou Korinthios.

Here are bynames for people from some of the major cities of the ancient Greek world.


Masculine byname

Feminine byname


Ἀθηναῖος (Athēnaios)

Ἀθηναῖα (Athēnaia)


Χαλκιδεύς, Χαλκιδικός (Chalkideus, Chalkidikos)

Χαλκιδεύς, Χαλκιδική (Chalkideus, Chalkidikē)


Κορίνθιος (Korinthios)

Κορίνθια (Korinthia)


Ἐρετρικός (Eretrikos)

Ἐρετρική (Eretrikē)


Σπαρτιάτης, Σπαρτιατικός (Spartiatēs, Spartiatikos)

Σπαρτιάτα, Σπαρτιατική (Spartiata, Spartiatikē)


Συρακόσιος (Surakosios)

Συρακόσια (Surakosia)

You can often find the adjective for people from other cities and places by consulting a classical Greek dictionary, such as Liddell-Scott-Jones.

Occupational names

In some inscriptions, a person's name is followed by a noun describing their occupation. For example, Lukos the physician is Lukos iatros. If a person also uses a patronymic, the patronymic goes before the occupation. For example, if Lukos was the son of Lusimakhos, he could be identified as Lukos Lusimakhou iatros.

Classical Greek is a highly gendered language, and many classical Greek occupational nouns are implicitly gendered or have distinct forms for men and women. One exception in the following tables is τροφός (trophos), meaning childcare provider or nurse; though it was not a high-status occupation, this byname is appropriate for someone of any gender.

The following occupational names appear in fifth- and fourth-century BCE grave inscriptions from Athens and its environs. This list is adapted from Robert Samuel Mills McArthur's dissertation Occupational Titles in Ancient Greece.

Masculine occupational nouns

Occupational name Meaning
ἀμπελουργός (ampelourgos) Vine dresser
αὐλητής (aulētēs) Flutist
βαλανεύς (balaneus) Bath attendant
γναφαλλουφάντης (gnaphallouphantēs) Weaver of wool
ἐπιβολαδοποιός (epiboladopoios) Maker of mantles?
ἰατρός (iatros) Physician
καταπαλταφέτης (katapaltaphetēs) Catapult operator
κεραμεύς (kerameus) Potter
κυβερνήτης (kubernētēs) Helmsman
μάντις (mantis) Seer
μεταλλεύς (metalleus) Miner
μυλωθρός (mulо̄thros)Miller
μυρεψός (murepsos) Perfume maker
νακοτίλτης (nakotiltēs) Wool plucker, shearer
ναυτίλος (nautilos) Sailor
παιδαγωγός (paidagо̄nos) Caretaker of household children
περσικοποιός (persikopoios) Maker of Persian slippers
πλυνεύς (pluneus) Clothes cleaner
σκαφεύς (skapheus) Digger
τροφός (trophos) Childcare provider, nurse
ὑμνῳδός (humnо̄idos) Singer
χαλκόπτης (khalkoptēs) Copper smelter

Feminine occupational nouns

ἁλοπῶλις (halopо̄lis) Dealer of salt
ἱέρεια (hiereia)Priestess
ἱματιόπωλις (himatiopо̄lis)Clothes-dealer
μαῖα (maia)Midwife
τίτθη (titthē)Wet nurse
τροφός (trophos)Childcare provider, nurse

Bibliography and resources

Database search, Lexicon of Greek Personal Names.
Search for given names by Greek spelling, location, or the person's title/profession. Greek spellings must be entered using the pop-up keyboard.

Greek Names, Lexicon of Greek Personal Names.
A guide to classical Greek name style and formation.

LSJ 1940.
A search form for the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon, an extensive classical Greek dictionary, at the Perseus Project.

Occupational Titles in Ancient Greece, Robert Samuel Mills McArthur.
A 2021 University of Chicago dissertation on occupational bynames.

B. H. McLean, An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods: From Alexander the Great to the Reign of Constantine (323 BC-AD 337). University of Michigan Press, 2002.
Contains a useful discussion of name structures.