Censorial Edict on the Selection of Roman Names

Choosing a name a fun aspect of joining Nova Roma but at the same time it is not a game and requires serious thought on your part. Many names submitted to the censors are simply unacceptable and delay citizenship applications. Please, carefully read this document and the recommended links on the website that list Roman names. Those applicants who do *not* choose a Roman name will have their application rejected out of hand. If you have questions about the process, or about any names that you are not sure about, please contact the censors before you apply.

Here is a brief explanation of the basic structure of Roman names that may aid you in choosing a name. You will notice 3 lines on the application form, one for praenomen, one for nomen, the last for the cognomen.

The most important name is your nomen, or gens name. It is the middle of the usual three names of Roman citizen. There are many suggested names found at a link from the page "choosing a Roman name." Your nomen is your gens name. It is the same as the name you put in the line on the form, "New or sponsoring gens." These lines must match. If you are a male, however, your nomen will be masculine but the gens itself will take a feminine form. For example, a citizen applying with the name Marcus Claudius Primus has the nomen of Claudius but would be joining the gens Claudia. Thus, in the line nomen he would put "Claudius" but under "New or Sponsoring Gens" he would put Claudia.

If the nomen and gens do not match, your application may be rejected. (we realize that you may not get the feminine form of your name exactly right, but at the very least it must be obvious that you are attempting to put different forms of the same name).

The cognomen, the third name, is not required but most people choose one. It is a generally a more personally identifiable name, a nickname or one that may refer to a personal trait or interest. For example, one citizen with the cognomen "Germanicus" choose it because of his affinity for the Norse Pagan religions while another choose the name "Palladius" because of his personal connection to the Goddess Pallas Athena. Several others have chosen the cognomen "Iulianus" in honor of Julian the Blessed, the Roman emperor who tried to restore the Roman state religion during his brief reign in 361-363.

On the *Seriousness* of choosing a Roman name:

Choosing a Roman name is your first important decision in Nova Roma. The seriousness with which you approach this task tells how seriously you view citizenship. One area where people have trouble is when choosing a praenomen, the first of the 3 names. With the praenomina, it is generally best to be conservative and choose one of the traditional Roman ones, e.g. Gaius, Marcus, Lucius, etc. (a list can be found at the "Choosing a Roman name" page of the Nova Roma website).

Females have a bit more latitude but can benefit by following this rule generally (these names are easily feminized, Lucia, Marcia, Gaia, etc). When choosing a nomen, try to avoid names that are merely Latinized versions of your own name, especially ones that do not Latinize well. Examples of names such as these are Thompsonus, Ryanus, Smitheus. Occasionally such a name will be approved but we strongly discourage their use in the nomen. They are more acceptable for a cognomen, however, as the cognomen can express more individuality. [On a side note, avoid using the letter "J" in any name you choose. The letter "J" is a Renaissance construct and has no place in a Roman name. Julius Caesar was really Iulius Caesar.] In short, our advice is to to have fun, be creative while at the same time, being traditional. In short, be Roman!