For an introduction to names, see this post.
Names in Roman Inscriptions
The given name of a Roman citizen on a stone inscription appears as complex as possible. In fact, it looks so complicated that I’m not sure I understand all of it–readers, feel free to assist me.
- In addition to a given figure’s name, we find (i) the praenōmina of father, grandfather and great-grandfather as well as (ii) the tribe to which the figure belong
- the Romans were divided into tribes in order to centralize voting, sacrifices, etc. — members of a tribe elected tribunes as tribal representatives
Mārcus Tullius Cicerō = Mārcus Tullius Mārcī fīlius Mārcī nepōs Mārcī pronepōs Cornēliā tribū Cicerō.
- Mārcus, the praenōmen
- Tullius, of the gēns Tullia
- Mārcī fīlius, son of Mārcus
- Mārcī nepōs, grandson of Mārcus
- Mārcī pronepōs, great-grandsom of Mārcus
- Cornēliā tribū, in the Cornelian tribe
- Cicerō, the cognōmen
This would have been abbreviated M TVLLIVS M F M N M PR COR CICERO
Names in Roman Literature
Here, the system is simplified:
- Mārcus Tullius Cicerō = Mārcus Tullius Mārcī fīlius Cicerō
- the father’s name is included, but nothing else
- poets, of course, will use synecdoche or metonymy to rename their subjects as needed
Women, for contextual comparison, were denoted with the possessive genitive of their father’s or husband’s name.
- Caecilia Metellī = Caecilia, daughter of Metellus
- Postumia Servī Supliciī = Postumia, wife of Servus Suplicius
The Essential AG: 108 n1
Famous Phrase: eō nōmine [by that name]
(a legal phrase denoted sovereign immunity–a U.S state may not be sued eō nōmine: that is, under its own laws. It must be tried at the federal level)