Alexander

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Alexander is a common male first name, and less common surname. The most famous is Alexander the Great, the King of Macedon who created one of the largest empires in ancient history.

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Origin

Etymologically, the name is derived from the Greek "Αλέξανδρος" (Aléxandros), meaning "defending men" [1] or "protector of men", a compound of the verb "ἀλέξω" (alexō), "to ward off, to avert, to defend"[2] and the noun "ἀνδρός" (andros), genitive of "ἀνήρ" (anēr), "man".[3] It is an example of the widespread motif of Greek (or Indo-European more generally) names expressing "battle-prowess", in this case the ability to withstand or push back an enemy battle line.[citation needed]

The earliest attested form of the name is the Mycenaean Greek feminine noun a-re-ka-sa-da-ra, (transliterated as Alexandra), written in Linear B syllabic script.[4][5][6]

The name was one of the titles ("epithets") given to the Greek goddess Hera and as such is usually taken to mean "one who comes to save warriors". In the Iliad, the character Paris is known also as Alexander.[7] The name's popularity was spread throughout the Greek world by the military conquests of King Alexander III, commonly known as "Alexander the Great". Most later Alexanders in various countries were directly or indirectly named for him.[citation needed]

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