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Hellenistic Names and their Meanings

Ancient Hellenistic rulers took, or were given, an epithet or nickname that was used like a modern surname. Rulers were distinguished by this name – the system of numbering rulers was not used until modern times.

This simple page aims to unravel their meanings and list who was called by each name. I was inspired to write this page while trying to sort out the names of the Seleukids and Ptolemies, many of whom have several such names, but there are several other dynasties to consider as well. The list includes 142 people with 58 different appellations.

Names that contain a hard K sound, such as Kleopatra and Physkon, are also commonly spelled with a C, as Cleopatra and Physcon. I have shown variations in the left-hand column, to make searching easy, but elsewhere I have standardised on the original Greek K. I have also used the Greek-style "-os" name endings in preference to the latinised "-us".

The only real question mark I have left is against the first name, Aegos. If you know the intended meaning, or have a correction to any of these, or have more to add to the list, please email me and I'll make the change.

The content of this page was last updated on 23 October 2016.

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