Latin female names from Ancient Rome

The culture of the Ancient Romans lives on through their influence on ours. Many of their names today are still in use today, though others remain only in historical sources. The following names include many prominent, influential, and powerful women that shaped history.


The family name of an old Roman clan, the Livii, featured members such as Livy (Livius) the famous historian, and Livia, the wife of the first emperor Augustus, an incredibly powerful and influential woman in her day. The name is likely derived from the adjective lividus which refers to something that is “blueish or leaden-coloured”.


Alfidia was the name of the mother of the aforementioned empress Livia. The prefix al- may have had something to do with the word ala which means “wing”, though it is not certain, and it may simply be a coincidence. The latter part of the name, -fidia may refer to fidicina which refers to a “female player of the harp or lute” or it may be derived from fides which essentially means “trust” or “faith”.


This name’s meaning may seem quite strange at first as it most literally just means “slave” or “servant”, which in the Roman conception were usually one and the same thing. Even more surprising is that it was also a common name amongst the upper-class elite of Rome, with one Servilia being the lover of Julius Caesar and mother of Brutus who would famously lead the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar.


The Junii were one of Rome’s most ancient noble families, and they derived their name from the goddess Juno (also known as Hera by the Greeks). Their members included people like Servilia and Brutus to name a few.


The Aurelii family was originally a plebeian clan, that is, not from an aristocratic background, but later produced emperors like Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. A notable Aurelia is one Aurelia Cotta, mother of Julius Caesar. The name literally means “golden” and may indicate blondness of hair or perhaps be symbolic of beauty and excellence.


Vipsania is another name with a rather strange meaning, as it is a combination of vipera which means “viper” and sanies which refers to either “corrupted blood” or “venom”. The name essentially meant “viper’s venom”. A rather nefarious meaning yet it was given to very esteemed people, like Vipsania Agrippina, the first wife of the emperor Tiberius.


This name’s meaning is up for debate. It very likely stems from the name Volesus from an Oscan or Sabine origin (ancient neighboring tribes of the Romans). It is argued that the name comes from the verbs valere, meaning “to be strong”, or volo, meaning “to wish” or “to desire”. It could also derive from the adjective volucer, meaning “winged” or “flying”.


Derived quite simply from the numeral octavus, meaning “the eighth”. The famous siblings Octavian, later Augustus the first emperor of Rome, and Octavia, wife of Marc Anthony and grandmother to emperors Caligula, Claudius, and Nero both bore the name. Octavia was very respected in her own time for her character and values.


Possibly derived from the Greek word helios, meaning “sun”, it was the family name of the emperor Hadrian.


This name has several possible root origins which all roughly refer to the same meaning. The Latin word dominus and domina was the traditional title for a head of a household and an owner of slaves. Dominatrix and domitrix refer to “a female ruler” and “she who tames” respectively. The theme is clearly one of domination and power, making this name quite authoritative.


A female equivalent of the masculine name Milo. Originating from Greek, its meaning is not known. The last wife of Caligula and mother to his child was named Milonia.


Yet another mysterious name, Vibia is thought to stem from an Etruscan origin, the culture of the people north of the Romans who influenced the early culture of Rome in profound ways.


This universally popular name throughout history and still to this day has its origin in the family clan name of the Julii. One of Rome’s most famous families, it spawned one Julius Caesar who in fact named his only daughter Julia. The name gave its name to the month of July, but its original meaning is not known.


The Claudii family was one of Rome’s oldest and may have originated as far back as the 6th century BCE. The name, however, may have originally been derived from the word claudus, meaning “crippled” or “lame”.


A diminutive form of the name Lucia, and its male equivalent Lucius. It may originally have meant “light”, derived from the Latin word lux. Lucilla then could have been understood to mean “little Lucia” or even “little light”. Both the mother and daughter of the emperor Marcus Aurelius were called Lucilla.


A name of uncertain meaning, the most well-known Lollia was one of the most unfortunate wives of the mad emperor Caligula.


Likely derived from the word licinus, which means “bent” or “upturned” or the verb licinio, which means “to disclose”. Though the meaning of the name might seem strange it was immensely popular, as was its masculine equivalent Licinius. Many aristocratic women bore the name and one Licinia Eudoxia was even the empress of Rome in the 4th century CE.


The name comes from the word paulus and means “small” or “little”. The mother of the emperor Hadrian, Domitia Paulina, was just one of many who bore this name.


The name of a minor plebeian family in Rome, its meaning is not known. It may stem from the Greek name Orpheus or perhaps from the Latin word orphus, a type of fish.


Derived from the word fulvus, it means “yellow” or “tawny”. A notable Fulvia was the extremely shrewd and Machiavellian wife of Mark Anthony, who is thought to have orchestrated his career and been the brains behind many of his policies. She even raised an army to fight on her husband’s behalf against his fellow triumvir Octavian, later known as Augustus.


The Cornelii were among Rome’s most illustrious and revered families, and one of Rome’s oldest. Its name may have been derived from the word cornu, which means “horn”. One Cornelia Scipionis Africana was mother to the brothers Gracchi and thought by her contemporaries as an example of the ideal Roman woman.


Derived from Greek, it means “well pleased” or “well thought of”. It was a popular name among Byzantine (also known as Eastern Roman) royalty.


The name means “ninth”, from the Roman numeral nonus. Nonia Celsa was the wife of the short-lived emperor Macrinus.


Likely hailing from an Etruscan origin, this name was rare and its meaning is unknown.


Possibly a derivative of the name Pompeius, made famous by Caesar’s ally and rival Pompey the Great. Its origin may be from the extinct Sabellic language group of ancient iron-age Italy, translated as the number “five”.


The original Latin spelling of the now much better-known name Cecilia. Its popularity across medieval Europe is thought to stem from the Christian saint Cecilia who was executed for refusing to worship the Roman pagan gods. Its meaning is possibly derived from either caecias, meaning “north-east wind” or caecus, meaning “blind”.


The feminine form of the family name of Roman origin, Annius. The meaning is unknown but it was a relatively popular name, including one Annia Aurelia Faustina, empress of Rome in 221 CE.