Lex Cornelia et Maria de mutandis nominibus (Nova Roma)

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Contents

This lex is currently IN FORCE.

Approved by Comitia populi tributa
Yes: 23 No: 12 Abs.: 0
a.d. XIII Kal. Iun. MMDCCLIV



I. Introduction

A. This law is set forth to define the procedures by which a citizen may apply to add, alter, or substitute any portion of his or her Roman name, and to state the guidelines by which such an application may be judged. This is done in order to attain a measure of conformity with ancient Roman naming conventions and tradition. Note that this law, and its procedures and guidelines, apply to changes sought by citizens after the publication of this law, and do not apply to citizens' existing names, although the information herein will certainly be of use to new citizens choosing a Roman name.

B. This law has no impact on chatroom handles, signatures to private or casual e-mail messages, or any other alias that any citizen may choose to use. Rather, 'Roman name' for the purposes of this law refers to the name used by the citizen in public oaths, applications to sodalitates and in other official contexts; this Roman name is the one recorded in the censorial album civium.

C. Note that the use of the male gender throughout this document is done solely for clarity, and is not meant to imply any disparity between the sexes before the law.

D. Also note that this document uses the word sex to describe the physical sex of a person and the word gender to refer to linguistic gender only.

E. It is not the intent of this law to discriminate against or to make any judgment about homosexuality, transgenderedness, or any other sexual identity. No such discrimination should be inferred from any part of this document, nor should it be used as a precedent for any law, magisterial act, edictum, or other action that interferes with the rights of any citizen on the basis of that citizen's sexual identity.

F. The Edictum Censorium de Mutandis Nominibus is hereby rescinded in favor of this lex.

II. Definition of a Roman Name

A. A Roman name consists of a praenomen, nomen, (optionally) cognomen, and (possibly) an agnomen, and, in rare cases, several agnomina.

B. The praenomen is a citizen's given name, and is used to distinguish between members of a particular gens. Since there are very few historical praenomina, and since the role of the praenomen is almost entirely secondary, a citizen is rarely referred to by praenomen alone.

C. The nomen identifies a citizen's gens. Since a change in the stem of a citizen's nomen would necessitate a change in gens -- a case of either adoptio or the founding of a new gens -- it is beyond the scope of this law.

D. The cognomen was originally a nickname. It is used to further identify members within a gens, who could easily be identically named due to the paucity of praenomina. Over time, the cognomen became inherited, and was used to identify specific family lines within a single gens. Changes to adopt certain names as cognomina are restricted, as set forth in paragraphs E and F below. Note that these restrictions do not apply in any way to cognomina under which citizens have already received citizenship.

E. An agnomen is an additional form of nickname that is commonly bestowed upon a citizen by others, often to commemorate significant accomplishments or important events in the citizen's life. While it is possible for a citizen to add a new agnomen or change an existing one by request, agnomina of distinction must be awarded by a senator, curule magistrate, or pontifex in recognition of service to Nova Roma. Official recognition of such awarded agnomina of distinction is completed by the censors' entering the agnomina in the album civium. Following each such entry by the censores, the latter will provide the magister aranearius with the full Roman name of the distinguished citizen and an explanation of the circumstances and reasons surrounding the award of the agnomen, that the magister aranearius may publish this information to the Nova Roma website as he sees fit.

F. Agnomina of distinction include, but are not limited to, the following: Augur, Augustus, Felix, Invictus, Magnus, Maximus, Optimus, Pius, Superbus, Victor. Note that these restrictions do not apply in any way to agnomina under which citizens have already received citizenship.

G. EXAMPLE: Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos would be Quintus of the Metellus branch of gens Caecilia. His family would be referred to as the Caecilii Metelli, in order to distinguish them from the other families within gens Caecilia. His agnomen, Nepos, distinguishes him from any other Quintus of the Caecilii Metelli. As nepos means grandson, it also most likely distinguishes him as the third in a line of like-named people.

III. Procedures

A. A citizen wishing to change his name shall first contact his paterfamilias and present his reasons for desiring a name change, as well as the desired name. The paterfamilias will in turn contact the censores should he approve of the name change, or should he find that he requires help in determining whether or not to approve the change.

B. Patresfamiliarum are instructed to work cooperatively with members of their gens who desire to change their names in order to help them conform to the letter and spirit of this document.

C. Should a paterfamilias disapprove of a citizen's desired name change, refusing to present it to the censores, said citizen may appeal to the censores within ninety (90) days of the refusal.

D. A paterfamilias who wishes to change his name shall apply to the censores directly.

E. Should an applicant fail to obtain a name change from the censores, he may, within ninety (90) days of the refusal, appeal to a consul or praetor to bring the matter before the people through a vote in the Comitia Populi Tributa.

1. Note that such an action requires the citizen who desires the change to temporarily waive his rights of confidentiality as defined in Lex Cornelia de Privatis Rebus, in order that evidence for and against the application may be presented to the populace.

2. Also note that the decision to convene the Comitia Populi Tributa, along with the schedule for doing so, is the purview of the consules and praetores, and is therefore beyond the scope of this edict.

IV. Guidelines

A. An application for a name change is confidential. The requested name, along with any and all evidence presented with it, is considered confidential information as covered by the Lex Cornelia de Privatis Rebus. Censores, patresfamiliarum, and anyone called to provide testimony by any party in the procedure are not to divulge any information applicable to the name change to anyone without the applicant's written permission, except as directed by this law. Such exceptions include the following:

1. A paterfamilias providing relevant information upon referring a request for a new name to the censores.

2. A paterfamilias or other citizen providing relevant information upon a censor, consul, or praetor's request, as in the case of an appeal of a denied application.

3. A citizen presenting evidence before the Comitia Populi Tributa in the case of an appeal to those comitia.

B. The guiding principle in considering name changes is to be conformity with ancient Roman tradition.

1. New praenomina should be historically attested ones.

2. As previously stated, agnomina of distinction (Maximus, Felix, et cetera) are not to be granted to citizens on request, but can be awarded to any citizen by any senator, curule magistrate, or pontifex in recognition of any special service to the Republic. It is up to the patresfamiliarum and censores to determine what is and is not an agnomen of distinction on a case-by-case basis.

3. Cognomina and agnomina can be new coinages, but must be conducive to Latin declension, and must have a clear meaning -- both semantically and in specific relation to the citizen requesting the added or changed name.

4. The gender of the name is to be consistent. Each part is to agree with all others in gender, and with the sex of the citizen requesting the name change. (1)

C. A citizen who wishes to change the gender of his name counter to that dictated by his sex must present, in support of his application, proof of acceptance of the contrary sex by an authority of a macronation state, or municipality. In other words, if the applicant is physically a man and has a form of macronational or municipal identification listing his sex as female, or is officially recognized as a woman in his country of macronational citizenship, then he may use a feminine name in Nova Roma.

1. An exception to this rule is allowed in the case of transsexual citizens who are discussing surgical sex alteration with a health care provider or undergoing other medical and psychological treatment in preparation for such an operation. In these instances, documentation pertaining to health care provider(s) may be required of the applicant.

2. Post-operative transsexual citizens shall be named according to their current sex.

3. Hermaphrodites shall be named according to the sex in which they are recognized by their country of macronational citizenship.


Notes


(1). The end of paragraph IV, and specially IV.4., has been changed by lex Labiena de nominibus mutandis (24 Sept. 2756 auc).

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