The Origin and Meaning of Your Greek Surname published a blog posting on THE ORIGIN AND MEANING OF YOUR GREEK SURNAME.  

Excerpt from article:

".... each historical period in Greece had its own method of surname creation, assuming it was a time period when surnames were even being used.

As an example, ancient Greeks did not have official surnames like we do today. However, they did use patronymics to identify each other from their friends and neighbors who may have the same given name as them. Each man or woman would be given a patronymic meaning “son of” or “daughter of,” along with their father’s given name. When a woman married, her patronymic would change to “wife of,” with her husband’s given name. An example is Hericles Pileidis, meaning “Hericles, son of Pileas.”

The use of surnames in Greece as we use them today did not start until about the end of the 1400’s A.D. Until that time, Greeks usually simply had a first (aka given) name, usually with a patronymic added on to it. Sometimes, instead of a patronymic, the name of their clan, tribe, or village of origin was used as an unofficial surname to distinguish them from others of the same given name.

Among the upper classes, traditional surnames that were hereditary within families began to be used a little earlier than with everyone else in Greece. They were used occasionally during the Byzantine period, but remained rare, even among the upper classes, until near the end of the 800’s A.D. They became more commonplace among the elite in the 1000’s and 1100’s A.D. The elites during that time period used surnames that came from the names of places, nicknames, and occupations, rather than patronymic surnames.

Even after surnames, as we know them today, became adopted by most classes in Greece, the common people continued to use patronymics and nicknames that often changed with each generation. Until the 1800’s A.D., the use of stable, inheritable surnames was still mostly in the realm of the elite, although a few lower class families adopted their use in the Middle Ages. ...."