Ancient Greek names are popular almost all over the world. It is not uncommon to find male or female ancient Greek names in other countries and continents.
This comes as no surprise of course, because of the importance and influence of the ancient Greek civilization.
In fact many foreigners search for ancient Greek names for their children because they believe that the name can offer something of its grace and characteristics to its bearer.
In Greece, the ancient Greek names have always been popular, but for a certain period of time parents were encouraged by the Greek Orthodox Church to give names of Saints and Martyrs to their children.
However, after 1990, the influence of the Church became weaker and ancient Greek names started becoming popular and increasingly common again, especially in urban areas.
Today, more and more parents seem to turn into the ancient Greek names again.
Common Ancient Greek names
Greek antiquity is vast; there are endless ancient Greek heroes, gods and deities, known and famous persons, whose names are more or less common today. Greeks tend to use the names of their heroes, such as Hercules (Iraklis in Greek), or names of people involved in mythological stories and legends, such as Orfeas (Orfeus). Of course, there are always the names of true legends of the Greek Antiquity such as Odysseas (Ulysses), Achilleas (Achilles), Orestis (Orestes) and more.
Among the most common ancient Greek names are the names of Gods; probably the most common name associated with an ancient Greek God is name Ares, although the names Apollon (Apollo) and Foivos (the nickname given to God Apollo) are also quite common.
When it comes to ancient female Greek names, the names of Goddesses and heroines of tragedies and legends are definitely predominant. The names Athena, Aphrodite or Dimitra (from Goddess Demeter) are very common names in Greece. Other common female ancient Greek names are Nike, Alkestis, Ilektra (Elektra), Antigone, Ifigeneia, Iro, Aspasia, Atalanti and more.
Ancient Greek Names and Name Days
Many of the modern Christian Greek names have their roots and origins in ancient Greek names; in fact, the vast majority of Greek names originate from ancient Greek words; there are numerous examples, such as the name Alexandros, name Korrina, Anastasios, Agathi, and so on. This has always been an argument against the close minded priests who used to refuse to baptize babies if the chosen name was not strictly Christian but belonged to the pagan Greek Antiquity.
In the older days men and women with ancient Greek names did not have a name day. The Greek Orthodox Church used to recognize days of honor only to names associated with Saints and Martyrs of the Greek Orthodox calendar. Towards the end of 70s and mid 80s, there was a change in the overall mentality in Greece and many Ancient Greek names were included in the calendar as well. Today, the most common Ancient Greek names are celebrated on their own special days, and people bearing names of the Greek antiquity can celebrate their name day and receive gifts as anyone else.