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US Cities With Greek Names

Have you ever wondered why there are so many US cities with Greek names?

Maybe this is the first time you are realizing it! But once you start to notice it, it is very hard to go back.

What are the major American cities with Greek names? 

From the largest and arguably most well known cities of the United States we have Philadelphia, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Memphis.

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

has a Greek origin that translates to “friend or love” and “brother”

  • Phoenix, Arizona

the famous bird that is reborn, an Ancient Greek word for “Phoenician bird” or “red-purplish bird”

  • Indianapolis, Indiana

not technically a Greek word – the suffix -polis that is added is Greek for “city”

  • Memphis, Tennessee

not technically a Greek word either – the name comes from the ancient capital of Egypt that was translated to “Memphis” in Greek. There is an alternative theory of origin from the Greek poet Hesiod, that wrote that “Memphis” was named for the daughter of the god Nilus.

Most common Greek names for cities in the United States

In total we are talking about more than 200 cities with Greek names or Greek inspired names, especially from Greek mythology.

But it seems there are some names that have more US Cities than others. Those are the favorites or most commonly used in a way.

  • Atlas – more than 22 places 

In Greek mythology Atlas was one of the Titans. He was the one to lead the Titans to war against the 12 Olympians. After their defeat he was condemned to carry upon his shoulder the weight of the earth. Atlas is linked to astronomy and endurance and has been an influential and popular figure in cartography (map-making).

Atlantic Beach, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Illinois

Atlanta, Indiana

Atlantic, Iowa

Atlanta, Kansas

Atlas, Kansas

Atlanta, Louisiana

Atlanta, Michigan

Atlas, Michigan

Atlanta, Missouri

Atlanta, Nebraska

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlanta, New York

Atlantic Beach, New York

Atlantic, North Carolina

Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

Atlantic, Pennsylvania

Atlasburg, Pennsylvania

Atlanta, Texas

Atlantic, Virginia

  • Athens – more than 20 places 

Athens is one of the most common Greek names you will find in cities of the United States.

(see below for a map of all the places)

  • Arcadia – more than 12 places 

Arcadia is a geographical region in modern day but it also has mythological importance. According to the legend, Arcadia was a utopic wilderness in the Peloponnese, where the god Pan lived, together with nymphs and other spirits.

There are many works of art depicting “arcadia” that draw on this unattainable and harmonious place where people live close to nature.

Thomas Eakins - Arcadia
Thomas Eakins - Arcadia - Public Domain
US Cities With Greek Names Happy arcadia - Konstantin Makovsky
Happy arcadia - Konstantin Makovsky - Public Domain
Nicolas Poussin Et in Arcadia
Nicolas Poussin Et in Arcadia - Public Domain
US Cities With Greek Names Thomas Cole - The Arcadian of Pastoral State
Thomas Cole - The Arcadian of Pastoral State - Public Domain
Thomas Cole - Dream of Arcadia - Public Domain
Thomas Cole - Dream of Arcadia - Public Domain

Arcadia, California

Arcadia, Florida

Arcadia, Indiana

Arcadia, Iowa

Arcadia, Kansas

Arcadia, Louisiana

Arcadia, Michigan

Arcadia, Missouri

Arcadia, Nebraska

Arcadia, Pennsylvania

Arcadia, South Carolina

Arcadia, Wisconsin

  • Homer – about 11 places 

We might be familiar with Homer as a character from the Simpsons, but Homer is actually one of the great epic poets, that gave to us the Iliad, the Odyssey and tales of the Trojan War. While most of what is known about Homer is under debate, we know that Homer was an unusual name for the time that meant “captive” or “hostage” from the Greek “omiros”. This might be in connection with the fact that Homer was blind.

Homer, Alaska

Homer, Georgia

Homerville, Georgia

Homer, Illinois

Homer, Indiana

Homer, Louisiana

Homer, Nebraska

Homer, New York

East Homer, New York

Homer, Ohio

Homerville, Ohio

  • Helen- about 9 places 

Helen was the beautiful wife of the king of Sparta, that was either abducted or willfully taken away to Troy (depending on who tells the story).

Helen is said to be a Greek name that means “light”.

But there are also other explanations for the origins of the name, especially from German and Gaelic.

 

Helen, Georgia

Helena, Georgia

Helen, Maryland

Helena, Missouri

Helena, Montana

Helena, New York

Helena, Oklahoma

Helen, West Virginia

Helenville, Wisconsin

  • Sparta – about 11 places 

Sparta was a city-state in Ancient Greece famous for its strong warriors and strict lifestyle. Sparta defeated Athens (another city-state) during the Peloponnesian Wars back in (431-404 B.C.)

In our days, Sparta is remembered for the strong warrior king, Leonidas as well as for the Spartan culture and constitution which is admired by many.

Sparta, Georgia

Sparta, Illinois

Sparta, Kentucky

Sparta, Michigan

Sparta, Mississippi

Sparta, New Jersey

Sparta, New York

East Sparta, Ohio

Sparta, Tennessee

Sparta, Virginia

Sparta, Wisconsin

  • Olympus and Olympia – 6 places

You might know of ancient Olympia, mount Olympus, or maybe the Olympic Games and they are share a common Greek origin.

Olympia was a plain in the Peloponnese region of Greece, that was sacred to the Greek gods, later it gave its name to the mountains where the 12 Olympians lived. Another fun fact, the giant statue of Zeus, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was made in Olympia. The statue was destroyed around the 5th century AD and only representations of it survive to this day.

Olympic Valley, California

Olympia Heights, Florida

Olympia Fields, Illinois

Olympia, Kentucky

East Olympia, Virginia

Olympia, Washington

  • Marathon – 6 places

Marathon is a small town outside of Athens, that has existed since ancient times.

It was there that the Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BCE with the Athenians defeating the Persian army. According to the story, a runner by the name Pheidippides, was tasked with running back to Athens to announce the good news.

The distance? Roughly 40 km. Later, the marathon became the long distance running sport we are all so familiar with.

Want to hear something more interesting? The name comes from the Greek word for “fennel” since that area was said to be particularly full of this flowering plant.

Marathon, Iowa
Marathon, Texas
Marathon, Wisconsin

Marathon, New York
Marathon, Florida
Marathon Shores, Florida

How many cities are named Athens in the US? 

There are more than 20 cities in the US that are named Athens.

Athens is also the name of the capital of Greece.

The origin is often attributed to mythology, and more specifically a fight between two of the 12 Olympian Gods of Mount Olympus, Athena and Poseidon for the naming rights. As is evident, the goddess Athena won.

If we were to calculate the cities outside of the United States, we would have almost 60 places around the world that share this wonderful name.

What are some other US cities with Greek names? 

Corinth – a city state of Ancient Greece 

Kentucky, Mississippi, New York, Texas, Vermont

Crete–  one of the largest islands in Greece and the Mediterranean often mentioned in Greek mythology 

Illinois, Nebraska

Delphi –  the oracle of god Apollo in Central Greece 

Indiana, Ohio, Washington, New York

Ithaka (or Ithaca) –  Greek island in the Ionian Sea that was home to Odysseus in the epic poem by Homer 

Nebraska, Ohio, New York

*Rhode Island –  not a place or town but a state.

On of the theories is that the name was given because it reminded explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano of the island of Rhodes in Greece.

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US Cities With Greek Names
US Cities With Greek Names
US Cities With Greek Names
US Cities With Greek Names

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