A form of Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
Powerful tyrants, generals, and fighting men and women 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.
Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, while both notorious tyrants and imperialists, are remembered more for their systematic mass murders than their empire-building, so they're listed under Notorious Killers instead.
See also Named After Somebody Famous.
- 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 from A Clockwork Orange comes to mind. He refers to himself as "Alex the large," a pun on Alexander the Great, and this carries over to the movie where his name is officially Alex DeLarge.
- 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 The Pendragon Adventure was named after Alexander The Great.
- "Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton. And there's a million things I haven't done, but just you wait..." In short, as proud and ambitious as his namesake.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic III, we have a power-hungry necromancer named Sandro (an abbreviated form of the Italian name Alessandro, equivalent to Alexander). Hey, he's never called Xander...
- Subverted by Prince Alexander in King's Quest, who has no ambitions of conquest.
- Proving that even diminutives can count Fire Emblem Fates gives us Xander, Crown Prince of Nohr and wielder of the divine sword Siegfried, who's more or less a full-on Expy of the Macedonian conqueror himself.
- Further proving that diminutives can count, Alex from Golden Sun has plans of world domination that would make his namesake proud.
- 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.
- Alexander I, the Tsar of All Russias and the conqueror of Napoléon Bonaparte, another conquering Alexander who should scare off some people.
- Captain Marvel villain IBAC, who gains his initials and villainy from Ivan, Borgia, Attila and Caligula.
- Attila the dog of the three robbers in Los Trotamusicos.
- Augustus Giovanni from Vampire: The Masquerade, perhaps the most powerful necromancer in the setting.
- Eternal Darkness: Pious Augustus, a.k.a. Philippe Augustine, a.k.a. Paul Augustine.
- Fallout 3: Colonel Augustus Autumn.
- In the 60s dub of Kimba the White Lion, Kimba's father was named Caesar.
- Caesar Clown of One Piece isn't quite brave and noble, but he certainly has the evil part down pat.
- The word "Kaiser" appears on the side of Ziggurat in Metropolis.
- 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.
- One hatchling in "Literature/Temeraire" named himself Caesar in hopes that he'd grow up to be large and powerful, because 'it's better to be prepared'. The other option he considered? Conquistador. While not particularly impressive in size or ability for a dragon in his world, any human not on his side had still best run away if he's after them because he still manages to outweigh an elephant as an adult.
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Somnambulist Cesare murders people on the orders of his master, Dr. Caligari.
- The Usual Suspects: Keyser Soze.
- The gangster Rico, better known as Little Caesar.
- Caesar is an evolved chimpanzee and the main protagonist of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes. Caesar goes on to lead an Ape Rebellion before going on to rule as a king/leader over the newly formed Ape Colony.
- Caesar's Legion in Fallout: New Vegas.
- 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".
- Con Air: "The Virus".
- Cyrus from Trailer Park Boys, a regular troublemaker and all-around dick.
- Cyrus Beene from Scandal, the President's chief of staff and a Magnificent Bastard.
- The boss of Team Galactic in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum.
- Archmage Cyrus of the Silver Cities in Heroes of Might and Magic V.
- Cyrus Temple, leader of the extreme paramilitary Special Tacticical Anti-Gang unit, one of the main antagonists of Saints Row: The Third
- Wizard 101: While Cyrus Drake is not evil, he is a clear example of Good Is Not Nice. He also happens to be one of the most powerful wizards alive.
- David Koresh.
- Koresh was actually aiming for the exact opposite effect, combining the name of the prophesied Israelite messiah's ancestor with that of the most famous non-Jewish messiah. Of course, if you didn't agree with his estimation of himself, he was unintentionally playing this trope straight.
- Also an earlier cult leader, Cyrus "Koresh" Teed. What is it about this name and cult leaders?
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- The Secret Police of Ba Sing Se is called the Dai Li.
- Ty Lee could be considered a subversion in that she's a sweet, adorable teenage girl who only ended up on the wrong side of the story through coercion and manipulation from her psychopathic friend Azula. She even does a HeelFace Turn near the end of the series.
- Darius Just in Isaac Asimov's Murder at the ABA is generally a decent enough fellow, albeit with a sharp tongue and the martial arts skills to back it up.
- Darius from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
- The Chessmaster from Need for Speed Carbon.
- Not a villain, but Lord Darius Crowley from World of Warcraft is badass enough to count.
- The Mortal Kombat series has Darrius. Also not really a villain.
- The Darius shmup series.
- Darius the Hand of Noxus from League of Legends.
- Daryush "Roosh V" Valizadeh, noted pickup artist and frighteningly militant antifeminist.
- 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, 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 (2003) 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.
- Gaius van Baelsar, one of the legatus of the Garlean Empire in Final Fantasy XIV.
- Coach Genghis, one of Count Olaf's Paper Thin Disguises in A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Discworld: Cohen the Barbarian's first name is found to be Genghis in Interesting Times.
- Another Genghis Cohen, from The Crying of Lot 49, is a subversion. By all accounts, he's little more than a harmless philatelist.
- 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.
- Cengiz Atay of Ezel, the titular protagonist's biggest personal nemesis.
- Not actually present in the game, but a centaur Khan named Temuejin exists in World of Warcraft.
- The Lord of the Rings: Probably just a coincidence, but Gil-galad is only one syllable off.
- Gilgamesh of Final Fantasy. His badassery might vary from game to game, but try telling that to Seifer.
- Fate/stay night: MONGRELS! How dare you forget about the King of Heroes? *Gate of Babylowned*
- Prince Gilgamesh from The Tower of Druaga. How awesome is he? Awesome enough to wear gold armor.
- 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.
- The Silence of the Lambs: Hello, Clarice...
- The book Elephant Run features a huge elephant named Hannibal, who's pretty nasty if you don't know how to handle him. He was probably given that name because the Carthaginians were famous for their war elephants.
- Let's not forget Hannibal.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith. Ex-Commando, Master of Disguise, and Macgyver-er extraordinaire. He loves it when a plan comes together.
- A variation in Warhammer 40K's Asdrubael Vect, who is instead (possibly) named after Hannibal Barca's brother Hasdrubal.
Anime & 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 (for a bit of a double whammy). She was Touched by Vorlons.
Anime & Manga
- Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia was given the human name Ivan.
- Captain Marvel villain IBAC, who gains his initials and villainy from Ivan, Borgia, Attila and Caligula.
- Babylon 5: "Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander. Daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanov. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me."
- The obscure PlayStation game Krazy Ivan features a badass Humongous Mecha pilot by the name of Ivan Popovich.
- 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.
- Ivan Koniev, marshal of Soviet Union. Almost the conqueror of Berlin (Stalin gave that honor to Zhukov instead) and also responsible for the bloody suppression of Hungarian Uprising in 1956.
Anime and Manga
- Julian Solo, from Saint Seiya.
- Julian from Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber series. Quote: "I delight in the slaughter of beasts, and I think of my relatives constantly."
- In Ender's Shadow, this is the real name of Bean, whose full name is Julian Delphiki II.
- Alias has Julian Sark, mysterious Brit-cum-Russian aristocrat, and Dragon to more than a few Big Bads.
- The genocidal Julian Robotnik from the Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), who makes every other version of Robotnik/Eggman look like Julie Andrews.
Anime & Manga
- Possibly, Haman Khan from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. There's a bit of Spell My Name with an "S" on her name, though. Either way, she is one of the most fearsomely capable villains in the Gundam franchise.
- David Gemmell's Drenai series has a whole dynasty of Khans along with a prophecy of one taking over the world for good measure.
- Shere Khan in The Jungle Book.
- Jaghatai Khan has the additional badassery from his first name, shared with one of Ghenghis' sons.
- Shao Kahn of Mortal Kombat.
- Dar'Khan Drathir of World of Warcraft.
- The Great Khans in Fallout: New Vegas.
- Khan from Magicka was named just so they could use the KHAAAAAN!!!! joke.
- Shere Khan of The Jungle Book (1967)
- Kobra Khan from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002). Ironically, while most races of Eternia are afraid of him, given the reputation of his species, the Snake Men, his own species doesn't respect him much, thinking he's grown soft living so long without others of his kind around.
- Magneto from X-Men, alias Erik Magnus Lehnsherr. The way Magneto spells his Erik with a k has an additional effect of making him look Nordic. Also, "Lehnsherr" is German for 'liege' or feudal lord.
- The eponymous protagonist of Magnus Robot Fighter.
- 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 is an aristocratic Evil Sorcerer and a lich.
- 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 Person of 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.
- Sanctuary has 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. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, used to hang out with James Watson and Nigel Griffin before they died of old age (she can live forever, Tesla is a vampire and Druitt... well no word on what keeps him, or Adam alive), current friends include Bigfoot and a werewolf and occasionally has to deal with a rampaging super-abnormal like Big Bertha aka Kali.
- TNA has a former world champion by the name of Magnus. Formerly Brutus Magnus, so he could could doubly qualify for this.
- Another Warhammer 40,000 example: Magnus the Red, Primarch of the Thousand Sons.
- A Warhammer example: Magnus the Pious
- Chrono Trigger gives us Magus, who is certainly evil and scary enough and is only missing one letter. On the other hand, "magus" is Latin for "wizard" and is not related to "magnus."
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Lord Crump's battle mech is named "Magnus Von Grapple''.
- World of Warcraft gives us Magni Bronzebeard.
- Magus/Megas, Big Bad of Valis II.
- Butch Magnus Milosevic from The Boondocks.
- Scooby-Doo villain C. L. Magnus.
- Ultra Magnus, from Transformers, is an exception. Except the Robots In Disguise incarnation.
- 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.
- Little Bonaparte, the mob boss from Some Like It Hot
- The ironically named Napoleon Dynamite, who's actually just a teenage dork.
- Subverted in Disney's The Aristocats which features a dog called Napoleon who although not an actual villain, almost certainly would be if he encountered the protagonists of the film.
- 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 Star Trek (2009) 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.
- Nero Angelo from Devil May Cry, who turned out to be Vergil, and Nero (his son, according to Wordof God) from Devil May Cry 4.
- Nrvnqsr (pronounced Nero) Chaos from Tsukihime.
- One of the Omertas' bosses in Fallout: New Vegas''.
- In The Rescuers, the villain has a pair of pet crocodiles named Nero and Brutus (see below).
- Adrian "thirty five minutes ago" Veidt of Watchmen fame goes by Ozymandias.
- Ozymandias, King of Kings, from the famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
- Ozymandias is the leader of La Résistance in The Tripods.
- Not a character, but the third-to-last episode of Breaking Bad, widely considered the best episode of that series, if not television history.
- Kahran Ramsus of Xenogears.
- Given its allusions to Roman history, this might be an inspiration for Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope, one of The Empire's top generals.
- Tarquin Winot the epicurean Villain Protagonist and Unreliable Narrator of The Debt to Pleasure
- Tarquin Blackwood, a vampire in some of Anne Rice's novels.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia, the Calormene noble title of "Tarkaan" sounds similar but is more likely based on the historical title of "Tarkhan" used by various Central Asian leaders.
- Averted in the Monty Python's Flying Circus skit "Election Night Special" with Tarquin Fin Tim Lim Bim Lim Bim Bim Bim Busstop Ftamg Ftang Ole' Biscuit Barrel, a candidate from the Silly party.
- Lieutenant Tarquin Victus from Mass Effect 3
- Demolition Man with Lenina Huxley.
- 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. (Aleksandr Menshikov was Peter the Great's best bud.)
- Vladimir Bierko from 24
- The eventual Khan (aha!) Vlad Ward of BattleTech fame.
- Vladimir Lem from Max Payne, badass mafiya leader in both games, and the Big Bad of the second.
- Vladimir Makarov of Modern Warfare.
- Kaiser Vlad of Battalion Wars.
- Vladimir the Crimson Reaper from League of Legends, who is basically a vampire.
- 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.
- From Killerbunnies, we have Vladimira Lenora van Maydestone , otherwise known as "Visceraline", and she is rumored to be the reason as to why she is minus parents, along with the fact that those to see her normally covered eyes are screwed. She's also very sadistic and an Enfant Terrible.
- Vlad Masters/Plasmius in Danny Phantom,
- 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.
- Marvel's Bill Foster with alias like the Black Goliath, the fourth Goliath, and the second Giant-Man is definitely 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 in H. P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu", 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.
- Resident Evil: William Birkin.
- World of Warcraft: Prince Liam Greymane of Gilneas (Liam being an abbreviation of William)
- Wilhelm (a German variant of William) was the name of two German kaisers, the second of whom ruled during World War I.
Anime & Manga
- Van Hohenheim's homeland from Fullmetal Alchemist. Not scary or threatening, but it sure sounds cool.
- Xerxes Break (no, it's not his real name) from Pandora Hearts.
- 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.
- Xerxes from System Shock 2.
- 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.