Hadrian is a strong, rare, and ancient alternative to Adrian. The feminine form is Hadriana. Most commonly associated with Hadrian’s Wall, Hadrian was the name of an early 2nd-century Roman emperor. 29 boys were given this name in 2015, down from 40 in 2014 and 34 in 2013. Still, it’s more popular than it was 15 years ago, and it fits within with all the other Greek and Roman names that are currently trending!
Possible nicknames include Harry, Hades, and Ryan. In some types of Harry Potter fanfiction, writers will often make Harry short for Hadrian, more so than they will for Henry or Harrison. The ones I’ve read from this particular sub-genre usually depict Hadrian “Harry” Potter as a extremely powerful boy-wizard who breaks free from Dumbledore and Dursley control and realizes his inheritance. There are yet plots, but that’s at least the motif I remember…I haven’t read fan-fiction for quite a while, unless you count communal Skype readings of the dreaded “My Immortal.” If you don’t believe me about Hadrian and Harry Potter, google it – the search term “harry potter fanfiction hadrian” yields almost 27,000 results.
Of course, the Roman emperor remains the common association. That does not mean it’s all marble statues and ruins (even though I myself studied Classics in college and ruins are my personal Disney World). If hilarity and absurdity are your pursuits, I recommend watching a Japanese movie called Thermae Romae. It regards a Roman bath architect named Lucius who time-travels to modern Japan and finds inspiration for Roman bath designs in Japanese bath culture. Meanwhile, Hadrian is the current emperor and he hires Lucius to build him spectacular baths. If this isn’t weird or awesome enough for you, guess what: there’s a sequel! But yes, that’s another association with the name.
What do you think of the name Hadrian?
Update Aug. 11 2017 – 33 boys named Hadrian in 2016.