Praenomen

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Roman names


·Ancient Rome ·
Roman name - Praenomen - Nomen - Cognomen - Agnomen

·Nova Roma·
Choosing a Roman name - Using Roman names

List of Standard Praenomina
These are the standard praenomina,
from most common to least common.


Abbreviation Male
Form
Female
Form
C. Gaius Gaia
L. Lucius Lucia
M. Marcus Marca
P. Publius Publia
Q. Quintus Quinta
T. Titus Tita
Ti. Tiberius Tiberia
Sex. Sextus Sexta
A. Aulus Aula
D. Decimus Decima
Cn. Gnaeus Gnaea
Sp. Spurius Spuria
M'. Manius Mania
Ser. Servius Servia
Ap. Appius Appia
N. Numerius Numeria
V. Vibius Vibia

A praenomen, the first part of a Roman name, is a personal name which distinguishes an individual from other members of the same family. The praenomen is not normally used on its own: normally only close relatives or very close friends call each other by their praenomen.

There were few praenomina in active use. The seventeen listed here account for 99% of all Roman names.[1] These standard praenomina are listed here on the right, in order of frequency from most common to least common:

Contents

Abbreviations

Note that each of the common praenomina, and some of the rare ones, has a standard abbreviation. Each abbreviation is unique to that praenomen: a praenomen cannot be abbreviated simply by using its first letter. For example, T. always means Titus, never Tiberius; Ti. always means Tiberius, never Titus.

Most of the time praenomina are abbreviated rather than written out in full, so M. Tullius Cicero is normally seen rather than Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Inheritance

Many gentes and families used only a handful of praenomina. The first child of a marriage was almost always given the same praenomen as the father; the second child was given a different praenomen, perhaps the same one as an uncle or grandfather, for example.

Thus the elder son of P. Cornelius Scipio was named P. Cornelius Scipio (Africanus); his younger son was named L. Cornelius Scipio (Asiagenus) after his grandfather.

Uncommon praenomina

Special praenomina

Special praenomina were used only by one or two well-known families, but the use of these names is well established during the classical period and these names were always considered as part of the best traditions of Roman naming convention:

  • Caeso (K.) - used by gentes Fabia, Quinctia, Atilia, Duilia, sometimes by Acilia, Fabricia, Latria.
  • Mamercus (Mam.) - used by gentes Aemilia and Mamerca.
  • Postumus (Post.) - used for children born after the death of their father.

Substandard praenomina

These were very archaic names and do not appear (or appear extremely rarely) in the classical period, and they entirely disappeared during the empire:

  • Agrippa
  • Faustus (F.)
  • Hostus
  • Mettius
  • Nonus
  • Octavus/Octavius (Oct.)
  • Opiter (Opet.)
  • Paullus (Paul.)
  • Proculus (Pro.)
  • Septimus
  • Sertor (Sert.)
  • Statius (St./Sta.)
  • Tullus
  • Vibius (V.)
  • Volesus/Volero (Vol.)
  • Vopiscus (Vop.)




References

  1. Salway, B. (1994), "What's in a name? A Survey of Roman Onomastic Practice from 700 B.C. to A. D. 700", The Journal of Roman Studies, vol. 84, pp. 124-145 (Retrieve from JSTOR)


Personal Names in the Roman World

0715636189.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg
Clive Cheesman. (November 30, 2008). Duckworth Publishers. ISBN 0715636189
Paperback, 160 pages Contributed by Agricola
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