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Name change on enlistment
#1
There are a few references to recruits to the Roman army taking - or being given - a new 'Roman' name on enlistment. These men seem to be non-citizens, usually (by not always) joining the auxilia.

One of the best known is Antonius Maximus, an Egyptian formerly named Apion; he reports his new name to his father in a letter from Misenum, where had just joined the fleet (presumably): I have sent you by Euctemon a portrait of myself. My name is Antonius Maximus, my company the Athenonica.

From the later empire, there's a reference in the Passio of St Mercurius to a soldier of the Martenses (legion? or auxilia palatina?) who was renamed by his officer: The king said, "Were you called this name by you parents, or were you called Mercurius in the army ?" The martyr said, "I was called Mercurius by the tribune in the army. My father called me Philopater." (Mercurius's father was called Gordianus, and was also a soldier).

Is there any way of knowing how often this was done? Did the recruits gain Roman citizenship along with their 'Roman' name, or was it just a sort of nom de guerre for army use?

This one, from the cemetery at Concordia (c.AD400), seems to suggest that 'barbarians' recruited to the palatine auxilia could also take Roman names:

AE 1890, 00146: Ego Gunthia et Fl[a]vius Silvima[rus] / d(e) n(umero) Herulorum emi / arca(m) de proprio meo / si quis e[am arcam] / putave[rit ape]/rire da[bit] p(ondo) V

Which I think means - "I am Gunthia and Flavius Silvimarus of the Numerus Herulorum..." Is that right? If so, Gunthia - a Gothic name, or maybe a Herulian one? - also had the very Roman-sounding name Silvimarus, and continued to call himself by both...!

Are there any other examples of these kind of name changes in the Roman army, or the use of two names simultaneously?
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#2
(06-27-2017, 12:14 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: Are there any other examples of these kind of name changes in the Roman army?

There is a ruling of the Prefect of Egypt on the legitimacy of a soldier's son dated 4 June 115 (P. Cattaoui, IV.1-15):

Chrotis, represented by the advocate Philoxenus, stated that she, an Alexandrian, had married Isodorus, an Alexandrian; that thereafter, while he was serving in a cohort, she bore him a son, Theodorus, concerning whom she now petitioned, {arguing that although she had omitted to make a declaration of his birth or requesting that his inheritance tax be remitted if it had been neglected and that} it was clear from the will he had drawn that this was his son since he had made him heir to his property. The will of Julius Martialis, soldier of the First Cohort of Thebans, was read. Lupus then discussed it with his advisers and declared: 'Martialis could not while in military service have a legitimate son but he made him his heir legally.'
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#3
(06-27-2017, 08:45 PM)Renatus Wrote: Isodorus, an Alexandrian...Julius Martialis, soldier of the First Cohort of Thebans

Thanks! It does seem that a lot of people in Egypt had two different names. It does seem odd though - why didn't he just call himself Julius Isidorus, which seems perfectly reasonable? Perhaps that would imply he'd gained citizenship... but calling himself Julius Martialis would make it appear that way anyway. Legal thing, maybe?

(was I right about the Concordia inscription, by the way?)
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#4
(06-27-2017, 08:57 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: It does seem that a lot of people in Egypt had two different names. It does seem odd though - why didn't he just call himself Julius Isidorus, which seems perfectly reasonable? Perhaps that would imply he'd gained citizenship... but calling himself Julius Martialis would make it appear that way anyway. Legal thing, maybe?

(was I right about the Concordia inscription, by the way?)

My guess would be that the recruit was given a Roman name by the authorities on enlistment as a means of acculturation into the military environment by seeking to suppress his pre-enlistment identity. Egypt is unusual in the amount of written evidence it produces, so it is not possible to say how far this applied elsewhere in the Empire. It seems that, nevertheless, some recruits maintained their earlier identities, especially when dealing with other members of the family. Another example is P. Cornell Inv. no. 1.64.1, in which Valerius Paulinus, formerly Ammonas, wrote to his brother using both names, even though he had completed 25 years' service. I don't think that giving a recruit a Roman name implies that he was also granted citizenship.

I think that you are probably right about the Concordia inscription. Although there are two names, the inscription is couched in the singular.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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