Priam (or Priamus) was a king of Troy. He was the son of Laomedon of Troy and Strymo (or Placia, or Leucippe), and by his first wife Arisbe and various successive wives and mistresses had anything up to fifty children. His name was originally Podarces, a standard propitious name meaning 'swift foot' or 'light foot', from pos, podos, 'foot', and argos, 'bright', 'swift' (see Podarge).

The story went that as a child he had been ransomed from Heracles by his sister Hesione, and so was named Priam from the word priamai, Ί buy'. Others saw his name meaning something like 'chief, 'leader' and deriving from peri (Latin prae), or prin (Latin prius), both meaning 'before' (the former in place, the latter in time). In fact his name is almost certainly not Greek at all.