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Roman Legionary Names
#1
I'm curious about roman legionaries recruited from provinces outside Italy, such as Spain. Did they adopt Latin names? What about Latin gens? I know about Centurion Gaius Crastinus of the tenth but that is about the only example I have. I really appreciate your professional opinion. Thank you.
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#2
(07-21-2017, 10:58 PM)Harrisonfletch Wrote: Did they adopt Latin names?

Yes - men recruited to the legions would have been Roman citizens, and so would already have carried the traditional three-part Roman name. Most in the earlier centuries would have come from Roman citizen colonies, and later from families or communities granted citizenship. After AD212 everyone in Roman Spain would be a citizen.

Members of some nations or ethnicities seem to have adopted their own original names as cognomens even at an early date - many Thracians appear to have retained their 'old' name as part of the new one, for example - but it seems to have been more common, in the first three centuries AD at least, for new citizens to adopt a 'generic' Roman name.

Spain was an old colony, and so the older non-imperial nomina appear far more commonly there than in some newer territories.

Here's an inscription from Tarraco (probably late 1st-2nd century?) giving the names of several men of Legio VII Gemina:

CIL 02, 04143: Q(uinto) Annio / Apro / speculatori / leg(ionis) VII Gem(inae) Fel(icis) in/{in}testato defunct(o) / collegae eius / d(e) s(uo) f(ecerunt) / T(itus) Flavius Reburrus / L(ucius) Valer(ius) Festus / L(ucius) Valer(ius) Maternus / L(ucius) Sempr(onius) Maternus / L(ucius) Annius Vitalis / M(arcus) Memmius Celer / P(ublius) Cornel(ius) Grattianus

Some probably 'imperial' names there (Flavius, Valerius), but just as many non-imperial.

Here's a rather later one - Severan, I would guess - also from Tarraco. Probably not soldiers this time - maybe local worthies or members of the governor's officium? - but reflective of the range of 'traditional' names still in use at that time:

CIL 02, 04118: [i]T(ito) Fl(avio) Titiano / leg(ato) Augg(ustorum) nn(ostrorum) / pr(o) pr(aetore) c(larissimo) v(iro) / proconsuli / prov(inciae) Africae / praesidi / prov(inciae) Hisp(aniae) / citerioris / M(arcus) Aurelius / Modestinus / [ // P]hilon / [V]alerius Restitutus / Caecilius Dexter / Granius Sabinianus / Aurelius Tyrannus / Laberius Marcianus / Flavius Gemellus / Aemilius Cornelianus / Valerius Adiutor / Messius Suavis / Cornelius Felix / Aelius [Pi]r[u]sta(?) / Titu[leiu]s(?) Vio[le]n[s] ... Mellinius Rogatianus / Peduceus Repostus / Calidius Melior / Annaeus [Se]cundus / [Au]rel[i]us Melito / [Iu]nius Valerius / Ulpius Philotimus / Aur[e]lius Maximinus / Annius Respectus / ... Antiochianus / ... Valens / ... Verus / ... Celsus / ... Hilarianus / ... Barbarus / Minius(?) Rufus / Valerius Iulius / ... Domitianus


*EDIT - there's nothing to suggest that Crastinus, or any of Caesar's other Gallic War legionaries, came from Spain. The name is fairly uncommon - one example comes from Umbria, another from Lusitania - but the majority of Caesar's troops were probably recruited in Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy). This thread has some discussion on the topic.
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#3
Thank you very much for the help. I'm a military officer and history has always been my passion. I've recently taken a much harder dive into the early Imperial period of the Roman Military. I appreciate the professional opinion!
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