Choosing a name for your baby is one of the hardest decisions you'll likely ever make. A name stays with your child for their entire life, and name regret is a real thing. I think that's why there is a current resurgence of people looking to history to name their children. Classic names from World War II like Lucy or Mary are once again popular, and names of literary characters like Atticus are also on the rise. With the popularity of books like Circe and Percy Jackson, I will bet that these baby names inspired by Greek mythology might be just what some parents are looking for.
Fair warning: you're going to want to completely ignore much of the history of most of these characters if you choose their name for your child. Zeus is an incredibly cool name, and he was the leader of the Olympians, but he also had a real affinity for animals, and loved wholesale slaughter. And his story isn't that unique in Greek lore. That's why it's best to think about how he saved his siblings from a cruel father and the like.
As someone named for Greek mythology, I will tell you that it's a pretty darned cool club to belong to, and I'm glad my parents were creative enough to consider it.
What to tell people when they ask the story: "It was foretold that her child would end her father's reign of terror over Argos, so he locked her in a tower. She miraculously got pregnant and the prophecy was fulfilled."
The background: Zeus thought she was hot so he transmogrified himself into golden raindrops that seeped through the walls and impregnated Danae.
Yup, she got pregnant by Zeus as a golden shower. I'm sorry and you're welcome.
What you tell people: Son of Zeus and Danae, he is the slayer of Medusa. He rescued and subsequently married Andromeda, and killed his grandfather and stepfather — neither of whom were good guys.
The background: Definitely not the worst guy in the pantheon, but most of his fortune was dumb luck, gifts granted by the higher gods, and a little skill.
What you tell people: The goddess of wisdom, she had a hand in most of the Olympians' major victories.
Background: Pretty decent as far as mythological stories go, but she is known for being very manipulative, and steering wars around the world.
What you tell people: mother of Zeus' children Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux. Basically, she was mama to four of the most powerful characters in all of Greek history.
What you leave out: Zeus was in the form of a swan when she got pregnant.
What you tell people: She's the goddess of spring and fertility.
What you leave out: Her terrible taste in men.
6. Ixion (Icks-see-uhn)
What you tell people: He was Zeus' favored mortal king. Father of Centaurus.
What you leave out: Centaurus' mom was a cloud shaped like Hera, Zeus' wife. (Also Zeus' sister. The whole pantheon has a very "I'm My Own Grandpa" feeling.)
What you tell people: He was the incredibly strong son of Zeus and Alcmene. He was known for being a humble, hard worker.
What you leave out: Maybe don't tell them he was conceived when Zeus transformed himself into the likeness of his mother's husband to seduce her.
What you tell people: He was the god of sun and light, known for being both intelligent and stunningly gorgeous. Appears in Greek and Roman mythology.
What you leave out: That both men with whom he fell in love turned into plants. The women didn't fare much better.
What you tell people: Nothing to hide. She's the primordial goddess of the night, mother to Hypnos and Thanatos among others. Super scary but super cool.
What you tell people: He was the god of wine and fertility. The man loved a party.
What you leave out: That he got drunk so often he was eventually cursed to never partake ever again. It drove him mad.
What you tell people: Adonis was the god of beauty and desire.
What you leave out: That his mother seduced her father making his grandpa also his dad.
What you tell people: OK, this one is both hard and easy. He's the god of war and death, so you either just fully ignore that and love the name, or you skip it. I love the sound of it, personally.
What you tell people: With Myrrha, you don't go beyond this: she was the mother of Adonis. The rest is bad, bad, bad, all bad — until eventually being turned into a tree.
What you tell people: He's a bit player who almost killed Hector a few times.
What you tell people: She was the mother of Melager, hero for Atalanta.
What you leave out: Her myth is one long story of sadness eventually ending in her suicide.
What you tell people: Mostly a bit player, daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. But a pretty name, right?
What you tell people: Her marriage to Menelaus brought about the end of the Olympians.
What you leave out: Her dad was a swan when he got her mom pregnant.
What you tell people: The father of Odysseus of Odyssey fame, Laertes is actually one of the few in mythology that has a genuinely lovely tale. Solid father, loving husband, easily fooled by his own child. He is all of us.
OK, so this one is technically a bird — and thankfully not related to the swan. But it can be reborn through its ashes. How cool is that? And Nameberry even noted that the name means "dark red" which is kind of cool and mysterious.
What you tell people: He was the greatest of all warriors.
What you leave out: That his life and death were basically a cautionary tale about not bathing your child well enough. (A sprinkler in the summer is a bath, don't @ me.)
To be honest, I don't know if this one works. He's just too famous and has too many stories written about him. How can a baby compete? Still, it's a lovely name, and I'm sure someone is going to email me with a picture of an adorable child that reads, "Look at my adorable baby, Odysseus." I'll be forced to respond that I hope he has GPS. Just be careful — the name means "wrathful," according to Nameberry.
What you tell people: He killed the minotaur and found his way out of the maze. Resourceful!
What you leave out: He maybe tried to kidnap Persephone. He wasn't successful, but it wasn't really a sweet thing to do, either.
What you tell people: This granddaughter of titan Helios helped Theseus slay the minotaur by giving Theseus a ball of string to help him find his way out of the maze.
What you leave out: Where you find out that the minotaur was her half brother on her mother's side who once had an affair with a bull.
What you tell people: She's not a major player, but her name is pretty.
What you leave out: Her biggest claim to fame is that she'd rather her lover, Endymion, go to sleep forever and remain young than live a real life.
What you tell people: She was the goddess of the hunt and childbirth, twin sister to Apollo.
What you leave out: That she was also basically an '80s horror movie villain with her taste for killing those who lose their virginity.
What you tell people: The whole belt thing. And how he was a great warrior.
What you leave out: How he got too drunk and hit on Merope, whose father would blind him for it. Or how after he regained his sight thanks to the gods, he declared that he'd kill every animal on the planet, leading to his death by giant scorpion.