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Roman Name Primer
#1
Because the practices used by the Romans for names can be a touch confusing, I thought perhaps it'd be helpful to mention the basics here:

Trinominis system (three names)

Praenomen Nomen Cognomen, e.g., Gaius Julius Caesar or Marcus Junius Brutus.

Praenomen - generally unimportant for individualization, there were only a handful of them including Gaius, Marcus, Quintus, and Lucius- THIS IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO A PERSON'S GIVEN NAME, so if you choose Gaius as your praenomen, for example, no one should or will address you as Gaius.

Nomen - a family name, more-or-less equivalent to our surname. There were many, many of these and the majority end in 'ius', e.g. Julius, Portius, Claudius.

Cognomen
- THIS ONE is the personal name- the one for personal address and to distinguish members of the same family who could very easily share a Praenomen and Nomen (since they'd all share a Nomen, and with just a few Praenominis, repitition was not uncommon). It was sometimes a physical or personality trait such as Rufus (red- maybe for red hair or rosacea?), Felix (happy, lucky), Varus (bent- perhaps bowlegged), Balbus (stuttering), Caldus (firey, rash) and so on.

Address - the normal ways of address would be either by Praenomen Nomen together or by Cognomen alone, e.g.

Gaius Lucilius Varus would be addressed as

Gaius Lucilius

or just Varus*

* technically, the 'us' changes to an 'e' in this case so the proper form of address would be 'Vare' (remember Caesar's last words in Shakespeare's play are 'et tu Brute?' not 'et tu Brutus?'). It's probably true too of the former case where the praenomen and nomen are used.

Just think about Caesar and Brutus- they're not ever referred-to as Gaius and Marcus, their respective Praenominis, but usually solely by their Cognomena, Caesar and Brutus.

So all those out there who refer to themselves as Gaius, Marcus and Quintus, sorry, but that's completely wrong :wink:

Women's names were rather simpler- they usually had a feminization of their father's nomen- Julia, for example is the female version of Julius, Flavia, of Flavius, Octavia of Octavius- and to distinguish daughters who might all have the same name, simply numbering them was the norm: 'first', 'second', etc. (prima, secunda, tertia, etc.).

There are more detailed explanations of the naming systems out there on various groups' websites (e.g., LEGXX, LEGXXIV, Nova Roma) if you're interested, and many also have nice big lists of nominis and cognominis if you're looking for names.
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#2
Anyway to change your name with out losing all the data? Not that I have much to lose :lol:

Also, if Caesar was the name which distinguished one Julii from another, what was used to distinguish one member of a family branch from one in another branch?
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#3
Quote:Anyway to change your name with out losing all the data?
An inscribed request to the undersigned, accompanied by an appropriate donative should do the trick.

And as to your other question, the answer is nothing. Big Grin wink:
Greets!

Jasper Oorthuys
Webmaster & Editor, Ancient Warfare magazine
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#4
I feel smote with smallness now! Sad
BTW, what kind of donative? Small furry creatures at the alter? Or gold denarias.......?
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#5
Just send me an email, you silly sod. :wink:
Greets!

Jasper Oorthuys
Webmaster & Editor, Ancient Warfare magazine
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#6
Gosh! I mus upgrade my nick...Btw. if I am TITVS MARTIVS SEVERVS it is possible that my father is HORATIVS MARTIVS SEVERVS or it is rather unusual?
Martin
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#7
Thanks Jasper, he is my favorite Roman, so I appreciate it!
Now you can create a new award that I can qualify for! You could call it the Cranius Maximus!! :lol: :lol:
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#8
Quote:Gosh! I mus upgrade my nick...Btw. if I am TITVS MARTIVS SEVERVS it is possible that my father is HORATIV MARTIVS SEVERVS or it is rather unusual?

HORATIV isn't a praenomen, so no that shouldn't be your father's name Martin. Your shared nomen must be the same, but both the praenomen and congnomen can vary. Here's the list of normally accepted praenomena (from the LEGXX website):

Caius or Gaius (the most common), Cnaeus or Gnaeus, Titus, Quintus, Decimus, Lucius, Marcus, Publius, Quadratus, Sextus, Servius, Spurius, Aulus, Postumus, Tiberius, and maybe Primus and Tertius.

Other sites list a few more, but this is basically it- the first 8, ending with Publius, seem to me to be the most common.
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#9
O.K. no problem, thanks Matt! No problem....my father likes GAIVS MARTIVS SEVERVS, so be it.
Martin
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#10
That one works. Apparently cognomen were passed on from father to son sometimes, Caesar is a good example, so you both having Severus works. Just make sure your comilites know not to just say 'Hey Severe!' or the two of you will always be turning not knowing to whom the person is calling :lol:
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#11
Quote:That one works. Apparently cognomen were passed on from father to son sometimes, Caesar is a good example, so you both having Severus works. Just make sure your comilites know not to just say 'Hey Severe!' or the two of you will always be turning not knowing to whom the person is calling :lol:

For distinguishing my father wants agnomen MARITIMVS, because he is seamen for more than 20 years... :wink:
Martin
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#12
so how far off really am i using petrininus as i have, i havent seen it before but i wanted to romanize my italian last name "petrini" so i did, and i liked saturninus so much when i first heard it. i have no intention to change it, it makes me unique if incorrectand it atleast sounds roman, influenced at the least as it may be? :?
-Jason

(GNAEVS PETRONIVS CANINVS, LEGIIAPF)


"ADIVTRIX PIA FIDELIS"
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#13
Petrininus sounds like a cognomen to me. I think it would mean something like 'little stone' or something like that. I can't see anything wrong with it anyway.

Crispvs
Who is called \'\'Paul\'\' by no-one other than his wife, parents and brothers. :!: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_exclaim.gif" alt=":!:" title="Exclamation" />:!:

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.romanarmy.net">www.romanarmy.net
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#14
Sorry for slightly changing the topic but,

does someone know where those really long names especially 2nd and 3rd century come from?

They can't be adoptions or titles. what I mean is something like:

L. Fabius Cilo Septiminus Catinius Acilianus Lepidus Fulcinianus cos.204CE

M. Nummius Umbrius Primus Senecio Albinus cos.206CE

L. Marius Maximus Perpetuus Aurelianus cos.223CE

M. Iunius Caesonius Nicomachus Anicius Faustus Paulinus cos.298CE
RESTITVTOR LIBERTATIS ET ROMANAE RELIGIONIS

DEDITICIVS MINERVAE ET MVSARVM

[Micha F.]
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#15
Delusions of grandure?
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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