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100 Unique Roman Surnames

Updated
Trust the grand history of Roman last names to keep you entertained from the first to the hundredth listing.

Roman history is full of intrigue, mythology, and, of course, gladiators. Roman last names are the foundation on which many modern European names are based. When you want to find out more, you may need a guide to help.

Our complete list is all you need to survive your foray into Roman surnames. We’ve got names used by the highest patrician families to common men and women alike. Enjoy the many unique stories that Roman family names have to tell.


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100 Popular Roman Surnames

Become an honorary citizen of the Roman empire with all the best Roman last names ahead.

Aeneas

Aeneas comes from the Greek “Aineíās,” meaning “recognition” and “story.” Its root, “ainein” means “to praise.” In Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan hero who was the son of Prince Anchises and the goddess Venus. Aeneas is more common as a boy’s name and became the Gaelic first name, Angus.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Praiseworthy
  • Pronunciation: Eh-NEE-Ahs
  • Variations: Aineias
  • Popularity: Aeneas is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Nigeria.
Rare, Mythical

Afra

Afra was originally a Roman nickname given to a woman from Africa. It also means “whitish red” in Arabic, where it’s most popular today. Saint Afra was a 2nd-century saint martyred during the time of Diocletian. Afra is also a Hebrew girl’s name meaning “dust” or “clay.”

  • Origin: Latin, Arabic
  • Meaning: African
  • Pronunciation: AH-Frah
  • Variations: Africus, Africanus
  • Popularity: Afra is rare worldwide, mainly used in Iran, and ranked 1,284th in 2014.
Unusual, Ancient

Albus

Albus was a family name from ancient Rome, which later became Albinus. It’s associated with the name Weiss and means “elf” and “white.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: White
  • Pronunciation: Ael-BUHS
  • Variations: Albinus
  • Namesakes: James Albus, the American founder of a division of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. James Albus, an American golfer, and the 1991 Senior Players Championship.
  • Popularity: Albus is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Germany.
Rare, Classical

Amadeus

Amadeus derives from the Latin “amaree,” meaning “love,” and “deus,” meaning “God.” It was first used as a personal name in the 17th- and 18th-centuries. It was then that the most famous Amadeus of all was born, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: One who loves God
  • Pronunciation: Ah-mah-DEY-Ahs
  • Variations: Amadeo, Amadis
  • Namesakes: Antonije Pušić (known as Rambo Amadeus), a Montenegrin singer who participated in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Amedeo Sebastiani (known as Amadeus), an Italian TV presenter for DeeJay Television.
  • Popularity: Amadeus is extremely rare and mostly used in Brazil.
Cool, Rare

Amata

Amata is based on the Latin “amatus,” meaning “beloved one.” In Roman mythology, Amata was the wife of King Latinus. Amata is the feminine form of Amatus, also a saint’s name.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Lover
  • Pronunciation: Ah-MAA-taa
  • Variations: Amado
  • Popularity: Amata is rare worldwide and mainly used in Nepal, ranking 336th in 2014.
Uncommon, Mythical

Amulius

In Roman mythology, Amulius overthrew his brother Numito but was overtaken by Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. There’s no other official meaning to Amulius, but the story behind it is unforgettable enough.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: King of Alba Longa
  • Pronunciation: Ah-MOO-liy-Uhs
  • Popularity: Amulius is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Belgium.
Mythical, Rare

Anatolia

Anatolia comes from the Greek Anatolios, meaning “sunrise.” Anatolia is also a place in Asia Minor, which makes up the Asian portion of Turkey. Anatoly is a Russian name for boys, and Anatolia is a Greek name for girls.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Break of day
  • Pronunciation: Aan-Ah-TOW-liy-Ah
  • Popularity: Anatolia is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Brazil.
Rare, Unique

Antonia

Antonia also means “praiseworthy” in Greek. It hails from the ancient Roman Antonius family. Antonia also means “beautiful” and was used for someone “from Antium,” a town south of Rome.

  • Origin: Greek, Latin
  • Meaning: Priceless
  • Pronunciation: Aen-TOW-niy-Ah
  • Variations: Antonius
  • Namesakes: Helena Antonia, a 16th-century bearded female court dwarf and a lady-in-waiting for Constance of Austria, Queen of Poland. Jarchinio Antonia, a Curaçaoan footballer for the Curaçao national team.
  • Popularity: Antonia is rare worldwide and mainly used in Angola, where it ranked 1,529th in 2014.
Ancient, Famous

Balbus

In ancient Rome, Balbus was the family name of Emperor Augustus’s mother, appearing as Balba. In Rome, cognomen names would describe personal traits, so Balbus was usually used for someone with a lisp.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Stammerer
  • Pronunciation: BAAL-Buhs
  • Variations: Balba
  • Namesakes: Marcus Balbus, a 1st-century Roman praetor and the maternal grandfather of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. Steven Balbus, an American astrophysicist and co-winner of the Shaw Prize for Astronomy in 2013.
  • Popularity: Balbus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Poland.
Unusual, Rare

Barbara

Barbara is the feminine form of the Latin Barbarus and the Greek Barbaros. It’s also associated with the female first name Barbara, referring to a “stranger” or “foreigner.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Foreigner
  • Pronunciation: BAAR-bah-Rah
  • Variations: Barbarus
  • Popularity: Barbara is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 76th in Malta in 2014.
Ancient, Classical
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Beatrix

Beatrix also means “she who brings happiness” as a female name. It comes from the Latin Viatrix, a feminine variation of Viator, meaning “voyager” and “traveler.” Beatrix is more recognizable when based on “beatus,” meaning “blessed.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Blessed
  • Pronunciation: BIY-ah-Tricks
  • Variations: Beatriz
  • Namesakes: Saint Beatrix, a 4th-century Roman martyr known as “the traveler.” Jean-Guillaume Béatrix, a French biathlete and silver medalist at the World Championships in 2013.
  • Popularity: Beatrix is very rare worldwide and mainly used in France.
Unique, Uncommon

Benedictus

Benedictus is based on the Latin “benedicĕre,” meaning “full of blessings.” It’s made up of “bene,” meaning “good,” and “dicte,” meaning “speak,” so it once referred to someone “well spoken.”

Uncommon, Classical

Brutus

Brutus means “heavy” and “muscular.” It’s also a Latin form of Brut, a nickname meant for an oafish or uncivilized man. Brutus of ancient Rome is the best-known Brutus, who also appears as a character in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Heavy, dull
  • Pronunciation: BROO-tuhs
  • Variations: Brütüs
  • Namesakes: Marcus Brutus, a Roman politician and the most famous assassin of Julius Caesar.
  • Popularity: Brutus is rare worldwide and mostly used in Haiti, where it ranked 89th in 2014.
Cool, Ancient

Bursio

Bursio originated as the Greek “bursa,” meaning “a hide.” Bursio was a name given to the famous patrician clan of the Julii, of whom Julius Caesar was a member.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Hide
  • Pronunciation: BUHR-siy-Oh
  • Namesakes: Lucius Julius Bursio, a Roman investigator during the 1st-century.
  • Popularity: Bursio is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in Argentina.
Obscure, Aristocratic

Byzantine

Byzantine is almost unknown as a surname but best recognized as a word for Eastern Roman Emperors ruling in Constantinople. A Byzantine was a person from Byzantium, but the names found there rarely appear as Byzantine.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Overly detailed
  • Pronunciation: Biz-ahn-TEEN
  • Popularity: Byzantine is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Israel.
Ancient, Rare

Caecilius

Caecilius was an ancient Roman family name that evolved into Cecil. It’s based on the Latin “caecus,” meaning “blind,” and is most famous for Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Blind
  • Pronunciation: Kay-KIHL-ee-Uhs
  • Variations: Caecilia
  • Namesakes: Lucius Caecilius Iucundus, a 1st-century banker whose house is still standing in Pompeii. Gaius Caecilius (known as Pliny the Younger), an ancient Roman lawyer and magistrate.
  • Popularity: Caecilius is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Indonesia.
Obscure, Rare

Caesar

Caesar is based on the Latin “caesaries,” meaning “long-haired.” Caesar also appears as Kaiser and Czar. After Julius Caesar’s reign, Caesar became a title for leaders. It’s also a popular first name for boys in Hispanic families.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Head of hair
  • Pronunciation: SEE-Sare
  • Namesakes: Pogus Caesar, a British TV producer for the BBC. Irving Caesar (born Isidor Keiser), an American lyricist inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.
  • Popularity: Caesar is rare worldwide, mainly used in Ghana, and ranked 146th in Guyana in 2014.
Classical, Aristocratic

Carina

Carina means “pretty” and “cute” in Italian, and “dear” when based on the Latin “carus.” It’s also the name of a constellation of stars in the southern hemisphere. Carina is much more popular as a female first name.

  • Origin: Latin, Italian
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Pronunciation: Kah-REEN-uh
  • Variations: Carino
  • Popularity: Carina is rare worldwide, primarily used in Angola, and ranked 1,425th in Portugal in 2014.
Unique, Classical

Cassia

Cassia is the feminine form of the ancient Roman family name Cassius. It’s also well known as a tree with flowers that smell of cinnamon. Cassia is one of many Roman last names that’s pretty enough to be a classic girl’s name.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Dear, beloved
  • Pronunciation: KASH-uh
  • Variations: Cassius
  • Popularity: Cassia is rare worldwide and mostly used in Brazil.
Classical, Rare

Cato

Cato is a famous name from the ancient Roman empire based on the Latin “Catus.” It’s also an occupational name for a scribe in Serbo-Croatian and appears as Catoe among English and Scottish surnames.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: All-knowing
  • Pronunciation: KAY-toh
  • Namesakes: Marcus Porcius Cato (known as Cato the Elder), a Roman historian and the first to write history in Latin. Diomedes Cato, an Italian-Polish composer, known for late Renaissance and Baroque style music.
  • Popularity: Cato is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Aristocratic
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Catullus

Catullus is a diminutive of the surname Cato, meaning “prudent” and “experienced.” It may be associated with the Latin-Gaulish “catu,” meaning “battle.” It may also connect to the Latin “catulus,” meaning “puppy,” for the ultimate variety of meanings.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Skillful
  • Pronunciation: Kah-TOH-luh
  • Namesakes: Gaius Valerius Catullus, a late Roman poet known for the neoteric style of poetry.
  • Popularity: Catullus is only currently ranked as a forename used a total of three times in England, Switzerland, and the U.S.
Obscure, Rare

Centho

Centho is a very rare surname, once used for the Claudii family of ancient Rome. It may be the basis for the female name Claudia and one of the most elite Roman family names.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Cap worn under the helmet
  • Pronunciation: SEN-Thow
  • Variations: Cento
  • Namesakes: Gaius Claudius Centho, a Roman dictator in 213 BCE.
  • Popularity: Centho is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Obscure, Aristocratic

Cicero

Cicero became an Italian surname meaning “descendant of Cicero.” It’s based on the Latin “ciceris,” meaning “chickpea” or “lentil.” Cicero was first given to an ancient Roman ancestor with a cleft on his nose that resembled a chickpea.

  • Origin: Latin, Italian
  • Meaning: Chick pea
  • Pronunciation: CIS-ah-Row
  • Variations: Cicerone
  • Namesakes: Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman and one of Rome’s greatest orators. Fernando Cicero, an Italian director of Spaghetti Western films.
  • Popularity: Cicero is rare worldwide and mostly used in Italy, ranking 1,773rd in 2014.
Classical, Ancient

Clineas

Clineas is an extraordinarily obscure name for the prominent Roman Claudii clan. The only Clineas was a statesman who was possibly executed or banished, so it has a dark and mysterious history around it.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Clih-NEY-ahs
  • Namesakes: Marcus Claudius Clineas, a Roman lieutenant in the 3rd-century who arranged a peace agreement with the Corsicans.
  • Popularity: Clineas is only currently ranked as a forename used once in Mexico.
Obscure, Ancient

Corvinus

Corvinus derives from the Latin “corvus,” meaning “raven.” Sons often took surnames based on their fathers and grandfathers, with “-inus” added on.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Little raven
  • Pronunciation: KAOR-viy-Nahs
  • Variations: Corvin
  • Namesakes: Marcus Valerius Corvinus, a 1st-century Roman general, and patron of literature and art.
  • Popularity: Corvinus is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Cool, Unusual

Decimus

Decimus is one of the multiple number-based Roman surnames. It was often used by the ancient Julii clan, the one famous for Julius Caesar. Decimus also became popular again in large Victorian families for the tenth child.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Tenth
  • Pronunciation: DES-ih-Mahs
  • Popularity: Decimus is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Haiti, where it ranked 708th in 2014.
Cool, Unique

Delphi

Delphi sprung out of the Latin Delphinus, but it’s originally the Greek name for the oracle there. It also means “womb” and “dolphin.” The god Apollo traveled on a dolphin from Crete to Delphi, where he killed the Delphyne, a she-serpent.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Hollow
  • Pronunciation: DEL-fIhy
  • Variations: Delphine, Delphy
  • Popularity: Delphi is very rare worldwide, mostly used in Iran, and ranked 1,875th in Iraq in 2014.
Ancient, Mythical

Demetrius

Demetrius is the Latin version of the Greek Dēmḗtrios. It’s otherwise known as the first name Demetris. Demetrius was used for someone who worshiped the goddess Demeter and also means “belonging to Ceres.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Devoted to Demeter
  • Pronunciation: Deh-MIY-triy-Ahs
  • Variations: Demetrios, Dimitrios, Dimitris
  • Namesakes: Pope Demetrius II of Alexandria, the 111th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. Lucia Demetrius, a Romanian novelist, and winner of the State Prize in 1951.
  • Popularity: Demetrius is very rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 927th in 2014.
Classical, Mythical

Ephesus

Ephesus is super rare as a surname, but it was a famous city in ancient Greece, now Turkey. In Greek fables, Ephesus was founded by a female tribe of Amazons and was named after Queen Ephesia.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Citizen of Ephesus
  • Pronunciation: EHF-ah-Sahs
  • Popularity: Ephesus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Nigeria.
Rare, Ancient

Evander

Evander is a more English spelling of the original Latin Evandrus. It may also be associated with the Gaelic name Ivor. In mythology, Evander was an Arcadian hero who founded the Italian city that came before Rome. Evander also means “bow warrior” in Norse.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Good man
  • Pronunciation: Eh-VAN-duhr
  • Variations: Evandrus
  • Popularity: Evander is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden.
Rare, Classical
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Fabius

Fabius first originated as a surname in the Papal States. It’s based on the Latin “faba,” meaning “of the Fabian family.” Fabius was the son of Hercules in Roman mythology.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Bean
  • Pronunciation: FAEB-iy-Ahs
  • Variations: Fabian
  • Namesakes: Laurent Fabius, the Prime Minister of France from 1984 to 1986.
  • Popularity: Fabius is very rare worldwide, mainly used in Chad, and ranked 1,511st in Aruba in 2014.
Unique, Mythological

Falto

Falto is a little-known surname once used by the famous Valerii clan in Rome. It morphed into Falco, meaning “falcon.” Falto was also a nickname for a “pigeon-toed” person.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Falcon
  • Pronunciation: FAULTOW
  • Variations: Falco
  • Popularity: Falto is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Rare, Aristocratic

Flaccus

Flaccus was an ancient Roman surname meaning “flabby” and “droopy.” It was first given to someone with “floppy ears,” but despite its meanings, rarely appears in the modern world.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Flap-eared
  • Pronunciation: FLACK-uhs
  • Variations: Flacco
  • Namesakes: Flaccus, a 2nd-century BC Roman composer of the only music to survive ancient Rome. Marcus Flaccus, a Roman senator and commander of the Rhine army during the Batavian rebellion.
  • Popularity: Flaccus is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Germany.
Unique, Obscure

Flamen

In ancient Rome, a flamen was a priest assigned to specific deities who headed up a particular religious cult. When an emperor was considered a god, they also had their own flamen.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Roman priest
  • Pronunciation: FLEY-mehn
  • Popularity: Flamen is rare worldwide and mainly used in Israel.
Uncommon, Ancient

Florentina

Florentina was a surname originally given to someone from Florence, Italy. It’s the feminine form of the Roman Florentius, based on the Latin “florens,” meaning “flourishing.”

  • Origin: Latin, Italian
  • Meaning: Blooming
  • Pronunciation: Flo-rehn-TINE-ah
  • Variations: Florentine
  • Popularity: Florentina is very rare worldwide, primarily used in Indonesia, and ranked 197th in Curaçao in 2014.
Classical, Uncommon

Frugi

Frugi may be the most unknown among Roman last names. It’s also considered Russian today and popular in Israel, meaning “worthy,” “honest,” and “useful.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Frugal
  • Pronunciation: FROO-gee
  • Namesakes: Lucius Frugi, a 1st-century Roman politician and consul in 133 BC.
  • Popularity: Frugi is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Israel.
Rare, Unique

Fulgencio

Fulgencio is a Spanish version of the Latin Fulgentius. It’s made up of “fulgens,” meaning “shining.” Fulgencio was also a 5th-century saint that inspired this unique name.

  • Origin: Latin, Spanish
  • Meaning: Brilliant
  • Pronunciation: Ful-GENN-siy-Ow
  • Variations: Fulgentius
  • Namesakes: Edgardo Fulgencio, a Filipino basketball player who competed in the 1948 Summer Olympics. Ruth Fulgencio, a Spanish Paralympic athletics competitor who competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
  • Popularity: Fulgencio is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 1,111st in 2014.
Classical, Uncommon

Geminus

Geminus is composed of the Latin “gĕmellus,” meaning “double” or “paired.” The astrological sign Gemini is based on the symbol of twins as well.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Twin
  • Pronunciation: GEH-mih-Noos
  • Variations: Gemini
  • Namesakes: Geminus of Rhodes, a Greek astronomer who wrote Introduction to the Phenomena.
  • Popularity: Geminus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Tanzania.
Classical, Mythical

Hadriana

Hadriana originally referred to someone from the ancient city of Adria, located in northern Italy. It’s the basis for the female name Adriana, so it’s been adapted over the years.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: From Hadria
  • Pronunciation: Hay-driy-AH-nah
  • Variations: Hadrian
  • Popularity: Hadriana is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Indonesia.
Classical, Ancient

Helenus

Helenus is based on the Greek “helanē,” meaning “torch,” and “helē,” meaning “brightness of the sun.” Helenus has belonged to many famous mythological and historical figures. He was the son of Zeus and Lysithea, a prophet and an Achaean warrior who fought in the Trojan War.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Torch
  • Pronunciation: HEH-leh-Noos
  • Variations: Helena
  • Popularity: Helenus is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in Belgium.
Rare, Mythical
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Helvia

Helvia comes from the Latin “helvus,” meaning “honey-yellow.” It may also be connected with the Helvii, a Celtic tribe that lived near the Rhône river. Helvia is also a lesser-known girl’s name, probably a great choice for blonde-haired babies.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Blond hair
  • Pronunciation: HEHL-viy-Ah
  • Popularity: Helvia is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Indonesia.
Rare, Ancient

Hortensia

Hortensia is also the Latin name for the hydrangea flower and the feminine form of the Roman Hortensius. Hortensia is taken from the Latin “hortus,” meaning “garden.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Of the garden
  • Pronunciation: Hor-TEHN-siy-Ah
  • Variations: Hortense
  • Popularity: Hortensia is extremely rare worldwide, mostly used in France, and ranked 1,313rd in Curaçao in 2014.
Classical, Ancient

Isthmus

The Isthmus of Corinth is a land bridge connecting the Peloponnese peninsula to mainland Greece. “Isthmus” is also an ancient Greek word for “neck.” The only existing statistics for Isthmus is as a first name, which was still only used five times in 2014.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Neck
  • Pronunciation: IHS-muhs
Obscure, Ancient

Italus

Italus was a name used for the ancient founder of Rome, also the father of Romulus and Remus. It could also hail from the ancient tribe called the Itali, and is an old way to name Italy.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Of Italy
  • Pronunciation: Ih-TAAHL-uhs
  • Variations: Italia
  • Popularity: In 2014, only one person was named Italus worldwide, in Afghanistan.
Obscure, Mythical

Janus

Janus was the ancient Roman god depicted with two opposite faces. He is the god of beginnings and endings, gates and duality, and doorways and passages. It’s also a Polish name based on the first name Jan.

  • Origin: Latin, Polish
  • Meaning: Archway
  • Pronunciation: JHAEN-ahs
  • Variations: Janos
  • Namesakes: Krzysztof Janus, a Polish footballer for Wisła Płock II. Michael Janus, an American politician in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1996 to 2009.
  • Popularity: Janus is rare worldwide and mainly used in Poland, where it ranked 291st in 2014.
Famous, Mythical

Julius

Julius appears as Iulus in Greek and was the son of Aeneas. It also means “first growth of the beard” in Greek and “devoted to the god Jove” in Latin.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Downy-bearded
  • Pronunciation: JHUW-liy-Ahs
  • Variations: Julianus
  • Namesakes: Churchill Julius, an English Anglican cleric and the first Archbishop of New Zealand. Leigh Julius, a South African sprinter who competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Julius is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Tanzania, ranking 34th in 2014.
Famous, Aristocratic

Junia

Julia is a Roman family name for the Junii clan. They’re one of the most famous families in ancient Rome, derived from Juno, the Roman queen of the gods.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Born in June
  • Pronunciation: JUW-niy-Ah
  • Variations: Junius
  • Namesakes: Junia, a 1st-century Christian mentioned in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.
  • Popularity: Junia is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Indonesia.
Aristocratic, Mythical

Juventus

Juventus derives from the Latin “iuventūs,” meaning “youth.” It was also the ancient Roman goddess of rejuvenation. Today, Juventus is the name of a famous Italian soccer team.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Youthful
  • Pronunciation: Juw-VEHN-tuhs
  • Popularity: Juventus is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Tanzania.
Mythical, Rare

Laurentius

Laurentius is the Latin variation of the personal name Laurenzo, a version of Lawrence. When it appears as the Italian De Laurentiis today, it indicates a “member of the Laurenti family.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Of Laurentium
  • Pronunciation: Lao-REHN-tahs
  • Variations: De Laurentiis, Laurentia
  • Namesakes: Laurentius, the 5th-century antipope of the See of Rome. Henrik Laurentius Helliesen, the Norwegian Minister of Finance between 1863 and 1883.
  • Popularity: Laurentius is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Classical, Ancient

Lepidus

Lepidus comes from the Latin “lapideus,” meaning “made of stone,” and “lepidus,” meaning “pleasant” or “charming.” It was also given to someone who spoke well or seemed like the best person to talk to.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Stony
  • Pronunciation: LAE-pih-Dihs
  • Variations: Lepidi
  • Namesakes: Marcus Lepidus, a Roman general who formed a ruling coalition in the Roman Republic with Octavian and Mark Antony.
  • Popularity: Lepidus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Famous, Rare
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Livia

In ancient Rome, Livia was called the most powerful woman in the Empire. It’s based on the Latin “livio,” meaning “to envy.” Livia is also a girl’s name, considered a nickname for Olivia.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Blue
  • Pronunciation: LIHV-iy-Ah
  • Variations: Livius
  • Popularity: Livia is rare worldwide and mainly used in Peru, where it ranked 1,145th in 2014.
Famous, Aristocratic

Lucilius

Lucilius later became the medieval Italian surname Luciani. It’s based on the first name Lucius and was first seen in Lazio, Rome. You’ll only find popularity statistics for Lucilius as a first name, with 19 people named Lucilius worldwide in 2014, mostly in Brazil.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Light
  • Pronunciation: Lew-CIYL-iy-Uhs
  • Variations: Lucillus
  • Namesakes: Gaius Lucilius, a 1st-century Roman writer and the earliest Roman satirist.
Ancient, Obscure

Maia

In Roman mythology, Maia was the goddess of spring, known for personifying the idea of growth. It might originate from the Latin “maius,” meaning “larger.” The goddess Maia is the inspiration for the month of May.

  • Origin: Latin, Portuguese
  • Meaning: Goddess of spring
  • Pronunciation: MAEY-Ah
  • Variations: Maias
  • Namesakes: Luiz Maia, a Brazilian musician, and father of the modern Brazilian bass. Demian Maia, a Brazilian mixed martial artist who competed in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
  • Popularity: Maia is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Peru, ranking 133rd in 2014.
Unique, Mythical

Manius

Manius was a personal name used by patrician and plebeian families in ancient Rome. It comes from the Latin “mane,” meaning “the morning.” Manius was often given to children born in the morning, but it’s the most all-encompassing of Roman surnames.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Morning
  • Pronunciation: MAEN-iy-Ahs
  • Variations: Manus
  • Popularity: Manius is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Indonesia.
Ancient, Classical

Marcellus

The first famous Marcellus was Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a Roman Republic consul and later used by two popes. Marcellus is based on the Roman god of war, Mars, which is why it’s often a first name for boys.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Young warrior
  • Pronunciation: Maar-SEHL-ahs
  • Variations: Marcel
  • Namesakes: John Marcellus, a Canadian politician in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in the early 20th-century. Robert Marcellus, an American musician and principal clarinetist of the Cleveland Orchestra.
  • Popularity: Marcellus is rare worldwide and mainly used in Haiti, ranking 93rd in 2014.
Ancient, Mythical

Mariana

Mariana is the feminine form of Marianus in Latin and later Mariano in Italian. It’s also one of the Roman family names associated with the god Mars. Mariana is a surname today, mainly found in Portugal, Spain, and Indonesia.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Of the sea
  • Pronunciation: MAH-riy-AEN-Ah
  • Variations: Marianus
  • Popularity: Mariana is rare worldwide and primarily used in Indonesia, where it ranked 145th in 2014.
Unique, Mythical

Martinus

Martinus is associated with the Roman god Mars, the god of war. It also means “martial,” so it might have been a traditional name given to a general or leader.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: War-like
  • Pronunciation: Maar-TIY-Nahs
  • Variations: Martin, Martinez
  • Namesakes: Flavius Martinus, a 4th-century deputy in Roman Britain under Constantius II. Derek Martinus (born Derek Buitenhuis), a British TV director best known for the Doctor Who series.
  • Popularity: Martinus is rare worldwide, mostly used in Indonesia, and ranked 105th in Aruba in 2014.
Ancient, Mythical

Maximus

The ancient Roman title Maximus was the highest honor given to both priests and military commanders. Following the release of the popular Gladiator film, Maximus became a top boy’s name in the U.S. in 2000, ranked among the top 1000.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Greatest
  • Pronunciation: MAKK-siy-Mahs
  • Variations: Maxim
  • Namesakes: Maximus of Ephesus, a 4th-century philosopher and teacher of emperor Julian. Flattus Maximus, the stage name for the American guitarist in the heavy metal band Gwar.
  • Popularity: Maximus is very rare and mainly used in Belgium.
Famous, Ancient

Messala

Messala is based on the Latin “messalla,” meaning “medlar,” which is a type of bushy rose tree. Valerius Maximus Messalla, an ancient Roman consul, gave himself this name after victoriously capturing the Sicilian city of Messana.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Rose tree
  • Pronunciation: Meh-SAA-lah
  • Variations: Messalla
  • Namesakes: Marcus Messala, a 2nd-century Roman senator and consul. Ennodius Messala, an Italian senator, made counsel in 506 CE.
  • Popularity: Messala is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Algeria.
Famous, Rare

Muzaka

Muzaka is better known as an Albanian name first used for the Muzeqë region in Albania. The Muzaka were an Albanian noble family that ruled the region in the Middle Ages. As a name for girls rarely on any name list, Muzaka also means “pure.”

  • Origin: Latin, Albanian
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Moo-ZACK-ah
  • Variations: Muzyka
  • Namesakes: Gjergji Muzaka, an Albanian footballer for the Albanian national team in 2008.
  • Popularity: Muzaka is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Indonesia.
Obscure, Ancient
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Narcissus

Narcissus originated as the Greek Narkissos. It’s made up of the Greek “narke,” meaning “sleep” and “numbness.” In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful young man who fell in love with his reflection. He was then transformed into the narcissus flower we know today.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Daffodil
  • Pronunciation: Naar-CIS-uhs
  • Variations: Narciso
  • Namesakes: Narcissus, a 2nd-century Roman wrestler who assassinated the Roman emperor Commodus.
  • Popularity: Narcissus is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Egypt.
Mythical, Rare

Neptune

Neptune was the ancient Roman god of the sea, also called Neptunus in Latin. It’s based on the Indo-European root “nebh,” meaning “wet” and “damp.” Neptune is also the name of the eighth planet in our solar system.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: God of the sea
  • Pronunciation: NEHP-toone
  • Namesakes: Yvon Neptune, the Prime Minister of Haïti from 2002 to 2004.
  • Popularity: Neptune is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 98th in Saint Lucia.
Mythical, Famous

Nero

Nero means “black” in Latin and was once a nickname for someone with dark hair. It also means “descendant of Neri” in Italian. The 1st-century Roman emperor Nero is the most famous, who “fiddled” while Rome burned.

  • Origin: Latin, Italian
  • Meaning: Black
  • Pronunciation: NIY-roh
  • Variations: Lo Nero, Neri
  • Namesakes: Nero, the fifth Roman emperor from 54 to 68 CE. Francesco Sparanero (known as Franco Nero), an Italian actor best known for the Spaghetti Western film Django (1966).
  • Popularity: Nero is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,677th in South Africa in 2014.
Classical, Famous

Numitor

In Roman mythology, Numitor was a king who was also the grandfather to Romulus and Remus. Numitoria was also a plebeian (aka “common people”) family name in ancient Rome. Lucius Numitorius was one of the first to have a version of the name in the 4th-century.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: King of Alba Longa
  • Pronunciation: NOO-mih-Tor
  • Popularity: Numitor is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in France.
Mythical, Rare

Octavia

Octavia was the name of a plebeian family in ancient Rome. Julius Caesar elevated them to the status of a patrician (i.e., “noble”). Octavia was the first name of Octavian’s sister, who was married to Mark Antony. It’s also a unique name for girls, sometimes given to the eighth-born child.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Eighth
  • Pronunciation: AhK-TEY-viy-Ah
  • Variations: Octavian
  • Namesakes: Claudia Octavia, a Roman empress who became the stepsister of the future Emperor Nero.
  • Popularity: Octavia is rare worldwide and primarily used in Indonesia, ranking 1,496th in 2014.
Famous, Ancient

Orca

In Latin, “orca” means “cask.” It may also be associated with the Latin “orcus,” meaning “underworld.” We know the Orca as the black-and-white killer whale who makes his home in the ocean.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Whale
  • Pronunciation: OHR-kaa
  • Namesakes: Quintus Orca, a 1st-century governor of the Roman province of Africa and commanding officer under Julius Caesar.
  • Popularity: Orca is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Philippines.
Rare, Unique

Paulus

Paulus also means “descendant of Paul.” It’s the family name based on Paul, originally “parvus,” meaning “tiny,” “humble,” and “modest.” It’s more famous as a first name, especially Paolo in Italy.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Small
  • Pronunciation: PAW-Lahs
  • Variations: Paul
  • Namesakes: Jeffrey Paulus, a Canadian head soccer coach of FC Edmonton in the Canadian Premier League. Stephen Paulus, an American composer, known for the 1982 opera The Postman Always Rings Twice.
  • Popularity: Paulus is rare worldwide and mainly used in Namibia, ranking 3rd in 2014.
Classical, Ancient

Pluto

Pluto is the Latin version of the Greek Plutos, meaning “riches.” Pluto was the Roman god of wealth and the underworld. It’s also a Polish surname based on “pluta,” meaning “bad weather.”

  • Origin: Latin, Polish
  • Meaning: Wealth
  • Pronunciation: PLOO-tow
  • Popularity: Pluto is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Poland.
Famous, Mythical

Pollux

Pollux originated as the Greek Polydeukes, meaning “very sweet.” In Roman mythology, Pollux was the twin brother of Castor and a son of Zeus. It’s also the name of the brightest star in the constellation Gemini, represented by twins.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Crown
  • Pronunciation: PAAH-Lakhs
  • Namesakes: Julius Pollux, a Greek-Egyptian scholar, who was made a professor-chair of rhetoric by Emperor Commodus.
  • Popularity: Pollux is very rare worldwide and mostly used in France.
Famous, Mythical

Pontius

Pontius was originally the Roman family name Potentinus. In one of the earliest Italian provincial languages, it also means “fifth,” like the Latin Quintus. Pontius could also relate to the Pontus province in Asia Minor. The Pontus name may have come from the Greek “pontos,” meaning “sea.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Sea
  • Pronunciation: PAHN-shus
  • Variations: Pontus
  • Namesakes: Chris Pontius, an American TV personality known for the reality comedy show Jackass. Mark Pontius, an American musician and a member of the band Foster the People.
  • Popularity: Pontius is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Ancient, Rare
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Procillius

Procillius may have appeared initially as Procillus in ancient Rome. It’s associated with Proculus, a diminutive of the Latin “procus,” meaning “a suitor.” It was once given to a child born to a father who wasn’t present.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Suitor
  • Pronunciation: Prow-CIHL-uhs
  • Variations: Procillus, Proculus
  • Namesakes: Procillius, a Roman historian in the time of Cicero, whose lost work is cited as a source by Roman scholars.
Obscure, Ancient

Quirinus

Quirinus also means “wielder of the spear’.” The ancient mythological Sabine god of war was called the “oak god.” The Greek God Hercules was also called Hercules Quirinus.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Spear
  • Pronunciation: Kue-REEN-uhs
  • Namesakes: Publius Quirinius, a Roman aristocrat and governor of Syria around the time of Christ.
  • Popularity: Quirinus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Malaysia.
Rare, Mythical

Remus

Remus was one of the two legendary founders of Rome, along with his brother Romulus. It also means “descendant of Remus” and “protector.” Remus appeared as a surname in northern France, possibly shortened from Remigius.

  • Origin: Latin, German
  • Meaning: Oar
  • Pronunciation: REE-muhs
  • Variations: Remi, Remy, Remies, Remis
  • Namesakes: Romola Remus, an American actress, first to play Dorothy in the film/stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz in 1908. Robert Remus (known as Sgt. Slaughter), an American wrestler with the WWE.
  • Popularity: Remus is rare worldwide and mostly used in Germany.
Famous, Mythical

Romulus

According to Roman legend, Romulus founded Rome with his brother Remus. Once Remus died, Romulus officially founded the city in 753 BCE and became king. Romulus also means “man of Rome,” which makes sense since he named it.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Of Rome
  • Pronunciation: RAHM-yuh-Luhs
  • Namesakes: Valerius Romulus, the Roman son of Caesar and consul from 308 to 309 BCE.
  • Popularity: Romulus is rare worldwide and mainly used in Haiti, ranking 356th in 2014.
Famous, Mythical

Rufus

Rufus also means “ruddy” and “red-haired.” It was a nickname given to the redheaded English King William and is the literal Latin word for “red.” Rufus has become a cool-sounding boy’s name these days.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Red
  • Pronunciation: RUW-Fahs
  • Variations: Ruffus, Ruffino
  • Namesakes: Alexis Rufus, an English Muay Thai kickboxer and a five-time world champion. Anneli Rufus, an American journalist for the Boston Globe.
  • Popularity: Rufus is rare worldwide and primarily used in Nigeria, where it ranked 1,044th in 2014.
Cool, Famous

Rustica

Rustica also means “country dweller.” It comes from the Latin “rusticus,” meaning “rural,” from “rus,” meaning “open land.” Rustica was also a word for a “simple” or “clownish” person.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Rustic
  • Pronunciation: ROOS-tik-Ah
  • Namesakes: Quintus Rusticus, a 2nd-century Roman Senator and follower of Stoic philosophy.
  • Popularity: Rustica is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Italy.
Unique, Rare

Salacia

In Roman mythology, Salacia was the goddess of the sea, a personification of salt water, and Neptune’s wife. Salacia is also a girl’s name, probably as rare as the surname.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Salt
  • Pronunciation: Sah-LAA-shah
  • Variations: Salicia
  • Popularity: Salacia is extremely rare worldwide and only appeared once in 2014 in the Netherlands.
Mythical, Unusual

Saturn

We know Saturn as the farthest planet from Earth. It’s named for Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and wealth, who was Jupiter’s father. It’s one of the most rarely seen Roman surnames, both in the ancient world and today.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: God of sowing
  • Pronunciation: SAAH-Terne
  • Popularity: Saturn is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Cool, Rare

Scipione

Scipione was originally the Latin first name Scipio. It was a nickname composed of “scipionis,” meaning “scepter.” Scipione was used for the noble Roman Cornelia family but is best known as Scipio.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Stick
  • Pronunciation: Ski-pee-OWN-ey
  • Variations: Scippa, Scippo, Scippari, Scippare, Scippione
  • Namesakes: Francesco Scipione, an 18th-century Venetian writer on Etruscan antiquities. Andrew Scipione, an Australian police officer who worked with the National Crime Authority of Australia in 1985.
  • Popularity: Scipione is very rare and primarily used in the U.S.
Unique, Rare

Seneca

Seneca derives from the Latin “senectus” meaning “old.” It’s famously known for the Roman statesmen Seneca the Elder and Seneca the Younger but is rarely seen today.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: People of the standing rock
  • Pronunciation: SEH-nek-Ah
  • Namesakes: Seneca the Younger, an ancient Roman Stoic philosopher. Isaac Seneca, a Native American football player, and the first American Indian selected as an All-American player.
  • Popularity: Seneca is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Famous, Ancient
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Severna

Severna is the feminine form of the Roman family name Severus. It also means “stern.” In the Slavic culture, Severna means “northern.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Severe
  • Pronunciation: Seh-VERN-ah
  • Variations: Severnus, Severin
  • Popularity: Severna is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Unique, Obscure

Sextus

Sextus is a famous ancient “praenomen,” or a first name. Aristocratic and working-class Roman families commonly used it. Sextus was the tenth most common praenomen for Romans and was later used as a first name for the sixth child.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Sixth
  • Pronunciation: SEHKS-tuhs
  • Variations: Sextia, Sextilia, Sexta
  • Popularity: Sextus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in India.
Ancient, Famous

Soranus

Soranus was originally a name given to a person from Sora in the Italian city of Lazio. Soranus was also a local god who became the Roman deity Apollo Soranus. His worshippers were called “wolves of Soranus.”

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: From Sora
  • Pronunciation: Soh-RAAHN-uhs
  • Namesakes: Soranus of Ephesus, a Greek physician of the Methodic school of medicine.
  • Popularity: Soranus is extremely rare worldwide and only appeared once in 2014 in Turkey.
Unusual, Mythical

Strabo

Strabo is a lesser-known clan name for the famous Julii family in Rome. It also means “squint-eyed.” The term “strabismus” today refers to a medical vision issue with the eyes.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Squinter
  • Pronunciation: STRAAH-Bow
  • Namesakes: Strabo, an ancient Greek geographer whose book Geography was written in the time of the Roman emperor Tiberius.
  • Popularity: Strabo is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Rare, Unique

Tatius

Tatius comes from the Latin Titius, meaning “honorable.” It’s the rarest variation, making Titus and Titius more common, though still hardly used.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Honorable
  • Pronunciation: TAY-shuhs
  • Variations: Titus
  • Namesakes: Titus Tatius, the king of the Sabines and joint-ruler of the Kingdom of Rome.
  • Popularity: Tatius is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in Papua New Guinea.
Classical, Aristocratic

Tiberius

Tiberius means “Lord of the Tiber,” named after the river Tiber that runs through Rome. Tiberius was a relatively common praenomen, or first name, used by many aristocratic Roman families.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Of the Tiber
  • Pronunciation: Taiy-BEER-ee-Uhs
  • Namesakes: Tiberius Augustus, the second Roman emperor from 14 CE until 37 CE.
  • Popularity: Tiberius is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Tanzania.
Famous, Ancient

Titus

Titus is associated with the Latin “Titan,” meaning “a giant.” It was one of the most popular honorable titles given to ancient Roman leaders who hopefully earned it.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Title of honor
  • Pronunciation: TAEY-Tahs
  • Variations: Titas
  • Namesakes: Christopher Titus, an American comedian known for his Fox TV series Titus. Alice Titus, a U.S. congressional representative for Nevada since 2013.
  • Popularity: Titus is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Nigeria, and ranked 54th in Namibia.
Famous, Ancient

Tucca

Tucca is a very rare feminine form of Tuccio. The family of names is centered in Calabria, Italy. Tucca is also the Latin name for a parasitic arthropod family called Tuccidae.

  • Origin: Latin, Italian
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: TOO-Kah
  • Variations: Tuccio, Tucci
  • Popularity: Tucca is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in Chile.
Obscure, Unusual

Ursus

Other than meaning “bear” in Latin, very little is known about Ursus. Saint Ursus was a 3rd-century soldier and martyr. The related first name Urs is also used for boys in Switzerland.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Bear
  • Pronunciation: EHR-suss
  • Variations: Ursa
  • Namesakes: Nicolaus Baer (known as Reimarus Ursus), a 16th-century German astronomer and imperial mathematician to Emperor Rudolf II. Ambrose Bierce (pen name Ursus), an American writer best known for “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”
  • Popularity: Ursus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Unique, Rare

Valentinus

Valentinus was a Roman family name from the Latin “valens,” meaning “healthy.” It may have traveled through the centuries to become the name Valentine, which we recognize all too well today.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Strong
  • Pronunciation: Vaa-len-TEEN-uhs
  • Variations: Valentinian
  • Namesakes: Basilius Valentinus, a 15th-century German alchemist and Canon of the Benedictine Priory of Saint Peter.
  • Popularity: Valentinus is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in Indonesia.
Ancient, Rare
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Valor

Valor also means “worthiness” in Latin. Ares is the Greek god of war, otherwise known as the god of valor. He’s one of the Twelve Greek Olympians and the son of Zeus and Hera.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Bravery
  • Pronunciation: VAH-lure
  • Popularity: Valor is rare worldwide and mainly used in Venezuela, where it ranked 798th in 2014.
Famous, Mythical

Vatia

Vatia means “bent outwards” in Latin, so it would have referred to a bow-legged person. It was initially used by a member of the ancient Roman Servilii family.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Bow-legged
  • Pronunciation: VAH-tiy-Ah
  • Popularity: Vatia is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in India.
Unique, Obscure

Vesta

Vesta was originally a surname in Velletri, a town near Rome. Vesta is also the Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and family and the equivalent to the Greek Hestia. Vesta is one of many mythology-based Roman last names in history.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Pure
  • Pronunciation: VES-tahh
  • Variations: Vestry, Vestra, Vestri
  • Popularity: Vesta is rare worldwide and mostly used in India.
Mythical, Famous

Vita

Vita comes from the Latin Vītālis,” from “vīvus,” meaning “vital” and “alive.” Vitalis was used in ancient Roman times to discern between a living and dead member of the same family.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Life
  • Pronunciation: VEE-tah
  • Variations: VIto
  • Namesakes: Alessio Vita, an Italian footballer for Cittadella. Lucas Vita, a Brazilian water polo player with the silver medalist men’s national water polo team at the 2007 Pan American Games.
  • Popularity: Vita is rare worldwide and mainly used in Angola, ranking 370th in 2014.
Classical, Rare

Volesus

Volesus also appeared as Volero among the Valerii family in the Roman world. Volesus comes from the Latin “volo,” meaning “to wish” or “intend.” Volesus eventually disappeared as a surname, with no current population statistics.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Well-wishers
  • Pronunciation: Voh-LEE-suhs
  • Variations: Valesus
  • Namesakes: Volesus Valerius, an ancient ancestor of the Valerian Roman clan who came to Rome with Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines.
Unusual, Aristocratic

Volpi

Volpi is based on the Latin “volpe,” meaning “of the fox.” In Italian, it also means “dweller at the sign of the fox.” Volpi was given to someone known for wisdom, cunning, or fox-like characteristics.

  • Origin: Latin, Italian
  • Meaning: Fox
  • Pronunciation: VOHL-pee
  • Variations: Volpe
  • Namesakes: Jorge Volpi, a Mexican novelist known for In Search of Klingsor. Grazia Volpi, one of the first female film producers in Italy.
  • Popularity: Volpi is rare worldwide and primarily used in Italy, where it ranked 280th in 2014.
Unique, Classical

Vulcan

Vulcan derives from the Latin surname Vulcānus. In Roman mythology, Vulcan is the god of fire, especially volcanic fire, and is associated with metal and metalwork.

  • Origin: Latin, Romanian
  • Meaning: God of fire
  • Pronunciation: VUHL-kahn
  • Variations: Vulcanus
  • Namesakes: Samuil Vulcan, the Bishop of the Diocese of Oradea Mare of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church from 1806 to 1839. Iosif Vulcan, a Romanian editor who founded the literary magazine Familia.
  • Popularity: Vulcan is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Romania.
Mythical, Rare

Wilhelmus

Wilhelmus is the original Latin form of the German first name Willahalm. It consists of “wil,” meaning “desire,” and “helm,” meaning “protection.” The Roman Wilhelmus arrived in Germany via Barbarian tribes and became a medieval noble name in Prussia.

  • Origin: Latin, German
  • Meaning: Strong helmet
  • Pronunciation: Will-HELM-uhs
  • Variations: Wilhelm, Wilhelms
  • Popularity: Wilhelmus is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands.
Rare, Aristocratic

Xanthus

Xanthus is the Latin form for the Greek Xanthos, meaning “yellow blond.” It was originally a nickname for a fair-haired man. In Roman mythology, Xanthus is the Latin name for Scamander, the river of Troy. It’s an example of Roman family names based on gods who personify an essential part of the natural world.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Golden
  • Pronunciation: ZAHN-Thas
  • Variations: Xanthos
  • Popularity: Xanthus is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Mythical, Rare

Zephyrinus

Zephyrinus is based on the Greek Zéphuros, meaning “zephyr.” Zephyrinus is also associated with Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind.

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Wind, breeze
  • Pronunciation: Zeff-uh-REE-nuhs
  • Variations: Zephyrin, Zephryine, Zeferino, Zeferina
  • Namesakes: Pope Zephyrinus, the bishop of Rome from 199 to 217 CE.
  • Popularity: Zephyrinus is extremely rare worldwide and only appeared seven times in 2014 in Malaysia.
Obscure, Mythical
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Roman Family Names FAQs

How Did Romans Get Their Last Names?

Ancient Romans, especially from aristocratic families, often used more than one name. They could have up to three names, some personal and some inherited. Cognomens were extra personal names that were used first by patrician families and later by Romans of all classes.

Did All Roman Last Names End With Us?

Roman culture was based on the Latin language. In Latin, most names end in “-us.” When girls inherited names from their fathers, the masculine “-us” names were usually switched to ending in “a,” like Justina from Justianus and Julia from Julius. While taking that into account, not every Roman last name ends in “-us.”

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.
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