Names To Run Away From: Conquerors
A form of Names to Run Away From Really Fast
Powerful tyrants, generals, and fighting men of history will generally lend some of their potent reputation to anyone who uses them as a namesake. Characters with these names are bound to be proud and ambitious; sometimes brave and noble, sometimes evil and ruthless.
, while a notorious tyrant and imperialist, is remembered more for his systematic mass murders than his empire-building, so he's listed on Names To Run Away From: Notorious Killers
See also Named After Somebody Famous
open/close all folders
But only if they never abbreviate it to "Alex"... or for that matter "Xander"...or worst of all, "Sandy"
Named after Alexander the Great
, the Macedonian king who conquered Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Persia. And was starting on India. Bonus points for the somewhat more obscure Iskandar, which was the name the Persians knew him by; see the Other Wiki
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Alex Louis Armstrong. He can get away with shortening it to "Alex" partly because we hardly ever hear his full name, and partly because he's already such a silly yet badass character that the name doesn't do much to take away from his badassery.
- Alexander Anderson from Hellsing, Alucard's most dangerous adversary.
- Lex Luthor of DC Comics is one of the few characters that can get away with shortening it.
- Alex Delarge of A Clockwork Orange comes to mind. Actually his whole name is a pun on Alexander the Great.
- Agatha Christie's Alexander Bonaparte Cust from The ABC Murders. An appropriate name for a serial killer. 'Too appropriate.'
- Iskandar, Chief Lector of the House of Life in The Kane Chronicles. As mentioned above, his name comes from the Persian name for Alexander the Great.
- It's mentioned that Alexander Naymeer from Pendragon was named after Alexander The Great.
- WWE star Alexander Rusev, the "Bulgarian Brute"
- Alexander Xanatos. Confirmed by Word of God to be named after the Macedonian king, reflecting his parents' ambitions for him.
- Thailog, a clone of Goliath with Xanatos' values, also chooses "Alexander" as an alias for the same reasons. (Xanatos taught him way too well...)
- It is probably not a mere coincidence that Rodrigo Borgia, when he succeeded to the Papacy in 1492, from all possible options chose Alexander as his Papal name, thus becoming Pope Alexander VI.
Attila the Hun
has pretty much turned the name into an adjective meaning 'barbarian' or 'vicious conqueror'. However, "Attila" actually means (in Gothic) "little father". German variants of the name are Etzel and (yes!) Edsel. Also spelled Atilla in Turkey.
- Captain Marvel villain IBAC, who gains his initials and villainy from Ivan, Borgia, Attila and Caligula.
- Attila Csihar, a Hungarian black metal vocalist who has collaborated with Mayhem and Sunn O.
But only if they never abbreviate it to "Gus", or, worse yet, "Gussie"
. Or, for that matter, "Auggie", but that's pretty uncommon. Named after Gaius Octavius Augustus
, nephew of Julius Caesar and first emperor of Rome (generally remembered by history as one of the few good emperors... as long as you didn't happen to stand in his way, of course).
Both of the titles 'kaiser' and 'tsar'/czar' are derived from 'Caesar'. Of course, the kaisers and tsars were notable lines of conquerors in their own rights. In some cases, 'kaiser' can be a respectable title for someone, like it was for Ryu in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL
. Named after Gaius Julius Caesar
, who conquered and unified Italy, Gaul, and the Iberian peninsula towards the end of the Roman Republic.
- In Marvel Family #16 Pluto is ruled by a tyrant called Ceezahr Kaan.
- The historical Cesare Borgia is a character in Gregory Maguire's novel Mirror, Mirror.
- Cesare Borgia, son of the aforementioned Pope Alexander. Not as bad as his enemies suggested, but still a bad dude. That Cesare Borgia was well aware of the symbolic potential of his name is documented by the self-chosen motto which he had inscribed on his sword: Aut Caesar aut nihil—"either (a) Caesar or nothing".
The first name of several Roman emperors including Gaius Octavian Augustus
, one the greatest emperors. This is because it was the Roman "praenomina" which, by the time of the late Roman republic, had been narrowed down to less than ten common names. The "cognomen" (the second name usually) was much more commonly used by the time of the Caesars.
- In Codex Alera, the entire House of Gaius, adopted (Isana and Aquitainius Attis) and particularly by blood (all those by blood are automatically a Personof Mass Destruction). Particular examples Gaius Sextus who set the benchmark for Heroic Sacrifice and an incredibly Badass Grandpa, Gaius Septimus, one of the greatest swordsmen ever to live and almost as powerful as his father without inheriting his furies, and Gaius Octavian (later known as Gaius Tavarus Magnus, i.e. Lord Wolverine the Great) who is the main character, grew up without furies and combines the raw power of the House of Gaius with a mind that looks at everything sideways.
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) has Dr. Gaius Baltar, a partial aversion, since he spends more of his time cowering in fear or trying to have sex with any female in sight, rather than plotting nefarious schemes. However, he is also responsible for the fall of the 12 Colonies and the resulting genocide that wiped out most of the human species, because he gave military secrets to an attractive Cylon agent.
- Gaius (misspelled "Guius"), the third boss of Valis II.
- Caius Ballad, the Big Bad of Final Fantasy XIII-2, using the alternate spelling that replaces the G with a hard C or K.
The original gets the double whammy of also having Khan used as part of his title. He's that Badass
. His real name Temujin is less intimidating, but it pops up occasionally. Even though Temujin roughly translates to "Strong-As-Iron" in Mongolian, and "Supreme Earth Man" in Chinese.
- An episode of Andromeda has Trance wonder what a Nietzschean's mother expected when she named her son Genghis Stalin. Of course, this was likely intentional, as Nietzscheans like to give their children names associated with historical badasses and/or warlike cultures.
- Not actually present in the game, but a centaur Khan named Temuejin exists in World of Warcraft.
The original is a Sumerian king and the hero of the Epic Of Gilgamesh
, the oldest known heroic epic.
- Girl Genius: Gilgamesh Wulfenbach. He wants to be reasonable, really he does. But people usually don't let him. Those people tend to regret it... But not always for very long. He will call down the lightning. He will disappear before your eyes. There's nothing he could not do, had he cause... And now? Now he has one.
Hippolyta (or just Lyta)
An Amazon queen in Greek Mythology, though as one of the few "tough" feminine names, a girl with this name has at least an even chance of being good. "Polly" is generally too quaint-sounding to be tough or evil, though.
Anime and Manga
- Sailor Moon: Makoto's DiC dub name was Lita. Fitting, considering she's the most amazonian of the Inner Soldiers.
- Babylon 5 gives us badass telepath Lyta Alexander.
The Russian czar Ivan the Terrible
. Note that Ivan is a very common name in Eastern Europe, and isn't considered particularly scary in those parts.
Anime and Manga
- Captain Marvel villain IBAC, who gains his initials and villainy from Ivan, Borgia, Attila and Caligula.
- You See Ivan, a meme about Russian soldiers & video game characters playing around with weapons or mishandling them, which originated from a bug in S.T.A.L.K.E.R which causes a pistol to be handled like a rifle in third-person view or vice-versa.
- Inverted with Ivan Mazepa, an Ukrainian Cossack leader who rebels against the Russian Empire, now considered a national hero of Ukraine.
- Ivan Kozhedub, the best-scoring Allied pilot ace in WWII, also fights in Korean War despite official prohibition.
Julian the Apostate was a Roman Emperor who rejected Christianity in favor of paganism, for which posterity branded him a traitor. Julian, the semi-legendary Count of Ceuta, joined the Muslims and let them cross over into Spain; and the probably fictional Saint Julian the Hospitaller murdered his parents while they were staying at his house
—although he was tricked into it
, and got his name for using his wealth to build shelters for the poor afterwards. A Julian is seldom as psychotic as some of the names on this list, but he should be taken very seriously. Not to mention the fact that it is the adjective form for describing some of the early Roman emperors (though they are more commonly referred to as Julio-Claudian).
Anime and Manga
- Alias has Julian Sark, mysterious Brit-cum-Russian aristocrat, and Dragon to more than a few Big Bads.
- Another one: the genocidal Julian Robotnik from the Sonic continuity, who makes every other version of Robotnik/Eggman look like Julie Andrews.
- Julian Assange, cofounder of Wikileaks.
Latin for "(the) Great" or "Big" (and root of "Magnificent
"). A rare personal name in Roman antiquity, it made another career after the newly-christianized, warlike royals of medieval Scandinavia adopted it as a first name by shortening the name of their idol Charlemagne ("Carolus Magnus" or "Karlamagnus" to them).note
Due to this lofty origin, it was exclusive to members of the high aristocracy, usually royals, in the Middle Ages. Today it is a fairly common (and therefore, harmless) first name in many Nordic countries. In fiction, often points to a Scandinavian, vaguely Viking
- A slight variation: Gladiator's hero, Maximus Decimus Meridius. Due to the quirks of Roman naming (and also because of the idiosyncratic way his name was rendered), most viewers don't realize that Maximus is not actually his given name, but a title. In English, his name comes out as Maximus the Great, Conqueror of the South. Certainly a name to run away from if you're in the arena with the fellow, or just happen to have assassinated his Emperor.
- Using the normal Roman nomenclature, Maximus would be his given name, Decimus his family name, and Meridius perhaps a nickname given after a notable victory. But since everyone in the movie calls him Maximus - and almost no one called a Roman by his given name except his closest family - perhaps a more accurate rendering of the name would be Decimus Meridius Maximus?
- Magnus Honey from Roald Dahl's Matilda is an exception, as he seems to have been a Nice Guy, perhaps in keeping with his surname. Also Dahl is from Norway, where Magnus is a conventional name.
- The title character from Montague Rhodes James' short story "Count Magnus" fits this trope to a "T"...
- In Codex Alera, Gaius Tavarus Magnus (Lord Wolverine the Great), formerly Gaius Octavian, formerly Rufus Scipio, formerly Tavi Ex Cursori, formerly Tavi Patronus Gaius, Tavi of Calderon, formerly Tavi of Bernardholt. Looks at everything sideways and is the epitome of Guile Hero, combined with a heavy dose of Crazy Awesome, every plan being Crazy Enough to work and is eventually a Personof Mass Destruction.
- Played with on Gunsmoke. When Chester's brother Magnus rolls into town, Chester is embarrassed because he considers him to be an uncivilized, half-wild backwoodsman. To Chester's surprise, it turns out that despite Magnus's goofy demeanor, he's The Ace who is good at practically anything he sets his hand to.
- Doctor Who:
- The War Chief from The War Games was given the name Magnus in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe.
- Magnus Greel, the villain of The Talons of Weng-Chiang, one of the most egregious war criminals in human history.
- In the Sanctuary series Helen Magnus; dated, and had a daughter with Jack the Ripper who can teleport by the way, has a complicated relationship with Nikola Tesla who was a vampire, is in conflict with Dr. Jekylle and Mr. Hyde, used to hang out with James Watson and Nigel Griffin before they died of old age (she can live for ever, Tesla is a vampire and Druitt... well no word on what keeps him, or Adam alive), currently friends include Bigfoot and a werewolf and occasionally has to deal with a rampaging superabnormal like Big Bertha aka Kali.
- TNA has a former world champion by the name of Magnus. Formerly Brutus Magnus, so he could could doubly
- Magnus Ver Magnusson, the Icelandic powerlifter.
- Another Icelander: Magnus Magnusson, the late host of Quiz Show Mastermind. The mere sight of that iconic black chair could strike terror into the bowels of any would-be contestant.
- Prominent conqueror kings from the Middle Ages who added taste to the name Magnus would be Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus), Magnus I "the Good" of Norway and Denmark, Magnus IV "The Caresser" of Sweden and Magnus III "Barelegs" of Norway.
- As a Roman epithet, Magnus was most prominently connected with Alexander and Pompey. There is also Magnus Maximus, a 4th century usurper who toppled the Western Roman Empire in a disastrous civil war.
, the infamous Roman Emperor. Also means "black" in Italian, both literally and figuratively.
- Green Lantern: Alex Nero, Mad Artist and one time wielder of the Qwardian yellow power ring.
- The demon lord Neron from The DCU. The numerological ties to "666" are pointed out.
- Nero: The titular character of this comic strip is a subversion, as he is a general good hearted character, yet flawed that he can be selfish, vain and aggressive at times too.
- Believe it or not, any use of the Number of the Beast might count, since it's speculated that the Book of Revelation is a disguised anti-Roman tract. When treated as Hebrew numbers, the letters of "Neron Kesar", the Greek version of Nero's name, add up to 666. This theory is further supported by the use of 616 as an alternate Number of the Beast in some early editions of the Bible. The letters in 'Nero Caesar" (the original Roman spelling of his name) add up to 616.
- The villain of the 2009 Star Trek feature film is called Captain Nero.
- Don't mess with Nero Wolfe.
- Book The Fifth of A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy introduces the petty, bullying Principal Nero.
- Nero, the greedy cliff troll from the Fablehaven series. Tying in with the name's meaning, he also has black scales.
- In the H.I.V.E. Series, the principal of the titular Higher Institute of Villainous Education. He is the main villain of the series until it is revealed that he is, in fact, a good man, operating under the orders of Overlord to capture and train Otto.
- In The Rescuers, the villain has a pair of pet crocodiles named Nero and Brutus (see below).
What conquerors are likely to do.
- Ra's Al-Ghul from Batman sounds like this. For extra running bowel-trembling terror-ness, Ra's al Ghul means "the demon's head" in Arabic.
After the infamous Soviet dictator Josef Stalin
. Fun fact: Stalin is itself already a Name To Run Away From Really Fast, as it is an almost direct translation into Russian of Stalin's original Georgian surname, Dzhugashvili. It means "Man of Steel".
- Fran Stalinoskovichdavidovichski in Dodgeball who can knock out and possibly kill a man with one throw of a dodgeball.
- The Katyusha multiple rocket launcher was nicknamed "Stalin's organ" by the Germans in World War II partly because the missile racks resembled a church organ, but also because of the terrible howling noise and destruction they caused.
The name of several of Rome's pre-Republic Etruscan kings, but especially associated with Tarquin the Proud, Rome's final king and a reputed tyrant, as well as his son, Sextus Tarquinus, known as a rapist.
- Given its allusions to Roman history, this might be an inspiration for Tarkin in Star Wars, one of the Empire's top generals.
Note that "Vladimir" roughly translated as "ruler of (this) community" originally, but due to language drift it translates to "ruler of the world" now. Also note that in Russian these names are just everyday names, so they are not that scary.
- Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Dune
- Vlad Taltos of Steven Brust's Dragaera series
- Also note Lenina as female name in Brave New World.
- Vlad Menshikov from The Kane Chronicles. Interestingly, his last name sounds like "Menshevik," even though Lenin was a Bolshevik.
- The eventual Khan (aha!) Vlad Ward of BattleTech fame.
- Vlad from El Goonish Shive
- Vlad Heterodyne, AKA Vlad the Blasphemous, from Girl Genius. Built the first Castle Heterodyne (a simple fortress, particularly compared to later incarnations, but effective and intimidating nonetheless) and invented the Jägerdraught, the drink that turns people into Jägerkin.
- Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Vladimir Lenin, Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula), Vladimir Putin (particularly if you used to be part of the USSR). List wouldn't be complete without the guy who started the tradition: Vladimir the Great, Kievan prince who Christianized the Rus'.
- Vladimiro Montesinos, head of Peru's intelligence service during President Fujimori. His parents actually named him after Lenin; ironic, considering he became famous for being the head of intelligence of a government that fought against a communist insurgence.
William The Conqueror
(and William Wallace too) make William and variations on the name a usage of this trope.
- Marvel's Bill Foster with alias like the Black Goliath, the fourth Goliath, and the second Giant-Man is definately someone to run away from really fast.
- Billy Batson, a/k/a Captain Marvel
- William (Billy) Kaplan, Magneto's grandson. He's a hero though, and the Avengers are worried he'll go the way of his mother, the Scarlet Witch.
- President William Harrison (Bill) Mitchel from Dave, not exactly a nice guy.
- A favorite in Westerns which gave us the likes of Wild Bill Hickok, William Colton, Will Kane, Billy The Kid and Will Sonnet.
- Billy Jack, anyone?
- Kill Bill
- The Swiss folk hero William Tell.
- William Boldwood from Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Maddening Crowd, set his sights on pursuing a conquest of a different sort than his name sake.
- William Briden a character in HP Lovecraft's work, who actually survives his first encounter with Cthulhu and escapes from R'lyeh, although having seen an Eldritch Abomination and having Gone Mad From The Revelation he isn't exactly able to survive for the several weeks his ship spends at sea awaiting rescue.
- He has almost the same name as one of history's more memorable badasses: the sole survivor of the Retreat From Kabul. (Well, sole survivor other than Flashman, that is.) This might be a coincidence, but given that Lovecraft was a fervent Anglophile and obsessed with history, it's quite possible that it intended as a Shout-Out.
- William Ewart Gladstone from the Bartimaeus trilogy "was a very powerful nineteenth century British magician, who rose to become a Prime Minister. He led the Grand Army of the Empire on conquests that decimated countries and made them a part of the British empire" - The Other Wiki
- Mr. William Bones, Esquire, better known as Billy Bones, from Treasure Island was the first mate of Captain Flint and not someone you wanted to piss off. Even Long John Silver was wary of confronting Billy directly.
- William Wilson, from the short story of the same name. He's so bad that his conscience manifests as a Doppelgänger trying to stop him, whom he eventually murders. That's right, he killed his own conscience.
- Star Trek's Will Riker
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Billy Cranston. A highly intelligent, determined warrior (especially as the series progressed) who faced down countless monsters. Not somebody to mess with. Monster has an annoying special trick to make attacks not work? He'll find a way to neutralize it and join his team-mates in the ensuing beatdown.
- Wilhelm (a German variant of William) was the name of two German kaisers, the second of whom ruled during World War One.
The original Xerxes did
conquer half of the middle east, though he is most often remembered for his failed attempt at conquering Greece.
Good to know: Xerxes' name also appears as Ahasuerus; both forms are just different transliterations of his Persian name Xšayārša
Anime and Manga
- Xerxes I of Persia is the Main Antagonist in 300. He plays the Persian God-King Xerxes, who, determined to rule the world, attacks Greece and in particular, Sparta. Helped by Ephialtes, he succeeds.
- Also the name of Mozenrath's flying eel companion in Disney's Aladdin: The Series, but he's more of a Nuisance Connected to Someone to Run Away Really Fast From than anything. Still, they made the effort.