Ardian (given name)

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Gender male
Language(s) Illyrian
Meaning from the Illyrian tribe of Ardiaei
Other names
See also Ardjan, Ardiana

Ardian is an Albanian name. Although similar to Adrian, a name of Latin[1] origin, the Albanian name Ardian (Ardjan and Ardijan being other variants) is a derivation of Ardiaei, the name of an ancient Illyrian people.[2] Their original inland residence was along the Naro River (modern river Neretva, also known as Narenta in ancient times) up to the Konjic region, in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.[3]


Both the name of the ancient Illyrian people 'Ardiaei', and the personal name 'Ardian' have the same root - ardia. The Albanian word that corresponds most closely to the root-word 'ardia' is ardhja, meaning the future, arrival or descent, by which Ardian would therefore be "the one that arrives or descends from...", or simply the descendant/offspring. However, one certainly ought to consider all other possible etymologies for Ardiaei, which in this form certainly belongs to Latin transliteration, in order to reach any tangible conclusion. When it comes to ancient Latin linguistic legacy, which should certainly be taken in consideration when transliterating ancient Illyrian words and names, one of the closest visible linguistic matches to 'Ardiaei' (and its Albanian derivative 'Ardian/Ardijan') seems to be ardea, Latin word for heron. There is a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina situated in the wider Neretva valley region (the original homeland of ancient Illyrian people of Ardiaei) called Čapljina and its name derives from čaplja, which in former Serbo-Croatian language (nowadays divided into Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin and Serbian) precisely means 'heron'. The Latin word for heron is ardea, a word that bears striking similarity with the name of Ardiaei, and it might possibly be its cognate. This theory opens up many possibilities for the interpretation of the original homeland of the Ardiaei and the etymology of their name. For example, heron might have had totemic pagan value among local Illyrians, due to its presence in this area, and it is not implausible to conclude that one of those Illyrian peoples named itself after a heron, the Ardiaei. The Latin word ardea might be a Latin translation of some original Illyrian word for 'heron' that Romans found when they settled in this area, or the 'ardea' itself, could have been an Illyrian word taken by Romans, who might have slightly altered it and integrated it into their language, the Latin. Indeed, the word Ardiaei is found in ancient Greek sources predating the arrival of Romans and their language to the Illyrian lands. It is also possible that ancient Illyrians or Romans named this place 'the place of heron(s), and the Slavic settlers, who settled in the former Illyrian lands around 6th century A.D. translated the name of this place into their language(s), which in turn gave 'Čapljina', "tha place of heron(s)".In any case, this is just one of so many other different possibilities in terms of identifying potential etymologies for 'Ardiaei', and further and detailed interdisciplinary study should be carried out in order to reach any viable conclusion. Some other suggested etymologies for Ardiaei include the ancient Greek ardis, meaning ‘head of the arrow, sting’, ‘vardia’, Greek for ‘watch/duty/shift’ (‘guard’ implicit), corresponding directly to ‘Vardaei’, another name for Ardiaei, one other variant of Ardiaei, bears similarity with the name of the Vardar river in Macedonia, so this could be yet another area to explore. However, one should bear in mind that Greek historian Strabo says in paragraph 6 (Book 7, chapter 5) of his Geographica: “The Ardiaei were called by the men of later times "Vardiaei", which implies that the word Ardiaioi, as the Greek called them, preceded the name of Vardaei.[4]

Ardiana is a feminine form of this name. Abbreviated forms like Ardi and Ardia are in use too.

List of people[edit]

Notable people with the name include:


  1. ^ Adrian
  2. ^ Vladimir Zoto in "Names Dictionary" (Albanian: Fjalor emrash), published by Dasara Publisher, ISBN 99943-803-0-3, (2005) says on page 42: "Ardian: A masculine name that stems from a proper name of Ardiaei. The latter were an Illyrian tribe and the inhabitants of the region of Ardia in Dalmatia, mentioned in 4th century B.C. Their initial capital city was Risinium, and later Shkodra. Ardiana is a feminine form of this name. Abbreviated forms like Ardi and Ardia are in use too” (Albanian: Ardian-Emër mashkullor që vjen nga emri përgjithësues ardianët, ose ardiejtë. Këta ishin një fis ilir, banorë të krahinës Ardia në Dalmati që përmenden që në shekullin e katërt para erës së re. Kryeqendra e tyre ishte fillimisht Risiniumi e më pas Shkodra. Ardiana është forma femërore më e përdorur e emrit. Ardi, Ardia përdoren si forma të shkurtuara).
  3. ^ Appian and Illyricum by Marjeta Šašel Kos," The Ardiaei were certainly also settled in the hinterland, along the Naro River at least as far as the Konjic region,"
  4. ^ Adzanela (Axhanela) Ardian, Illyrian Bosnia and Herzegovina-an overview of a cultural legacy, 2004,