Alexander the Great founded many Alexandrias. Following his example, the Diadochi and the Epigoni did the same: Antigonia, Demetria, Lysimachia, Seleucia, Antiochia, Cassandreia...

This trend seems to have started with Philip II of Macedon and Philippi:

Philippi was established by Thasian colonists in 360/359 BC with the name Credides. In 356 BC Philip II of Macedon, conquered the city and renamed it to Philippi.

Was there any city named after a real person before the rise of Macedon?

Places taking its name from a legendary or mythological character (Byzantium, Heraclea, etc) are discarded.

Question was inspired by this:

At this time Antigonus was tarrying in upper Syria, founding a city on the Orontes River, which he called Antigonia after himself. (...) It happened, however, that the city did not survive very long, for Seleucus dismantled it and transported it to the city which he founded and called Seleucia after himself.

Diodorus Siculus 20.47.5

  • 2
    I'd imagine that there is a good chance that cities were named after their founders ever since cities were a thing. Where the question becomes difficult is if the founder wasn't otherwise famous enough to be remembered.
    – Steve Bird
    Jan 21, 2017 at 10:13
  • I think no Greek colonist would have dared, for fear of hubris incurring. So I'm looking for a Phoenician/Egyptian/Persian example, or, otherwise, a good Demosthenes quote denouncing Philip's insolence in this matter.
    – Brasidas
    Jan 21, 2017 at 15:27
  • 1
    One possible instance could be "Theodosia" (modern Feodosia) in the Crimea which was founded by Milesians in the 6th century. Although as a proper name, "Theodosia" doesnt appear till the middle ages it could quite possibly refer to an actual person. Certainly there is no individual in Greek mythology known as "Theodosia"
    – Notaras
    Jan 23, 2017 at 3:12
  • @Notaras Very interesting comment. According to this document, "Ulpianus records that the city was named after the sister or wife of Leukon I, although this information is open to dispute." But if this Leukon is Leukon of Bosporus (389 - 349 BC) I don't see how is this possible.
    – Brasidas
    Jan 23, 2017 at 3:47
  • 1
    @Brasidas kindly disregard my comment about the name Theodosia not appearing till the middle ages. One possible explanation could be that the city had an earlier name but was re-christened by Leukon in the 4th century. Or Ulpian underestimated the age of the colony and made an educated guess as to the origins of the name?
    – Notaras
    Jan 23, 2017 at 4:26

1 Answer 1


Of course, Cyropolis, the city of Cyrus, would be a good precedent.

Founded by Cyrus the Great in 544 BCE to mark the northeastern border of his Achaemenid empire.

The Wikipedia article is somewhat lacking, but Encyclopaedia Iranica mentions this:

The alterna­tive name Kuréschata probably reflects Iranian *Kuru(š)-­kaθa-, lit. “the (reinforced) settlement of Kuruš/Cyrus”

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.