Ancient settlements with names related to "deva". Pulpudeva denotes Plovdiv in which the latter name is rooted.
Map describing the city as "Philippopolis, que et Poneropolis, Duloupolis, Eumolpiada, item Trimontium, at que Pulpudena"
Plovdiv was given various names throughout its long history. The Odrysian capital Odryssa (Greek: ΟΔΡΥΣΣΑ, Latin: ODRYFA) is suggested to have been modern Plovdiv by numismatic research or Odrin.
The Greek historian Theopompus mentioned it in the 4th century BCE as a town named Poneropolis (Greek: ΠΟΝΗΡΟΠΟΛΙΣ "town of villains") in pejorative relation to the conquest by king Philip II of Macedon who is said to have settled the town with 2,000 men who were false-accusers, sycophants, lawyers, and other possible disreputables. According to Plutarch, the town was named by this king after he had populated it with a crew of rogues and vagabonds, but this is possibly a folk name that did not actually exist. The names Dulon polis (Greek: ΔΟΥΛΩΝ ΠΟΛΙΣ "slaves' town") and possibly Moichopolis (Greek: ΜΟΙΧΟΠΟΛΙΣ "adulterer's town") likely have similar origins.
The city has been called Philippopolis (ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΠΟΛΙΣ pronounced [pilpopolis]; Greek: Φιλιππούπολη, in modern Greek, Philippoupoli pronounced [filipupoli]) or "the city of Philip", from Greek Philippos "horse-lover", most likely in honor of Philip II of Macedon after his death or in honor of Philip V, as this name was first mentioned in the 2nd century BCE by Polybius in connection with the campaign of Philip V. Philippopolis was identified later by Plutarch and Pliny as the former Poneropolis. Strabo identified Philip II's settlement of most "evil, wicked" (ponerotatus) as Calybe (Kabyle), whereas Ptolemy considered the location of Poneropolis different than the rest.
Kendrisia (Greek: ΚΕΝΔΡΕΙϹΕΙΑ) was an old name of the city. Its earliest recorded use is on an artifact mentioning that king Beithys, priest of the Syrian goddess, brought gifts to Kendriso Apollo; the deity is recorded to be named multiple times after different cities. Later Roman coins mentioned the name which is possibly derived from Thracian god Kendriso who is equated with Appolo, the cedar forests, or from the Thracian tribe artifacts known as the kendrisi. Another assumed name is the 1st century CE Tiberias in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius, under whom the Odrysian Kingdom was a client of Rome. After the Romans had taken control of the area, the city was named in Latin: TRIMONTIUM, meaning "The Three Hills", and mentioned in the 1st century by Pliny. At times the name was Ulpia, Flavia, Julia after the Roman families.
Ammianus Marcellinus wrote in the 4th century CE that the then city had been the old Eumolpias/Eumolpiada, (Latin: EVMOLPIAS, EVMOLPIADA), the oldest name chronologically. It was named after the mythical Thracian king Eumolpos, son of Poseidon or Jupiter, who may have founded the city around 1200 BCE or 1350 BCE. It is also possible that it was named after the Vestal Virgins in the temples – evmolpeya.
In the 6th century CE, Jordanes wrote that the former name of the city was Pulpudeva (Latin: PVLPVDEVA) and that Philip the Arab named the city after himself. This name is most likely a Thracian oral translation of the other as it kept all consonants of the name Philip + deva (city). Although the two names sound similar, they may not share the same origin as Odrin and Adrianople do, and Pulpudeva may have predated the other names meaning "lake city" in Thracian. Since the 9th century CE the Slavic name began to appear as Papaldiv/n Plo(v)div, Pladiv, Pladin, Plapdiv, Plovdin, which evolved from a Thracian variant Pulpudeva. As a result, the name has lost any meaning. In British English the Bulgarian variant Plòvdiv has become prevalent after World War I. The Crusaders mentioned the city as Prineople, Sinople and Phinepople. The Ottomans called the city Filibe, a corruption of "Philip", in a document from 1448.