OT Roman names
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Monday, June 12, 2006, 12:35|
Michael Adams wrote:
> But it is a model for conlang and conculture family relations
> and names.
> I suspect it was often patrilineal,
The use nomina or cognomina?
> but what if your mothers
> family was of a higher social class, like Eqestrien or
> Senatorial rank? But fathers family was Pleben or ..
As far as the 'nomen' was concerned, you were born into you father's
_gens_ (clan). When a woman married, she was adopted out of her birth
_gens_ into her husband's.
It's true that in the earliest period there were problems; mainly
because marriage between patricians & plebeians was illegal! But when
connubium between patricians & plebeians was granted, plebeian _gentes_
were established. So the system continued working as before.
As for cognomina, these, as I wrote in my last mail, were far less
permanent and, I suppose, might be changed to take account of wife's
origin - but I know of no examples of this happening.
One must remember that we are dealing with a society in which women, in
theory, had always to have a male representing her legally. It's true
that some women in the Senatorial & Imperial ranks did wield great
authority - but nominally even they had to have male representation and
their position was always precarious, as the example of Nero's Mum makes
only too clear.
While indeed the Romans were class conscious, male chauvinism was an
even more potent force.
Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Quoting R A Brown <ray@...>:
>>within a clan from another. It does not seem that everyone bothered with
>>a cognomen; AFAIK the cognomen, if there was one, of the young Gaius
>>Octavius is unrecorded. Also, although they were inherited, it seems
>>they could also be changed - i.e. the were less permanent than our
> I don't know if there's statistics or ancient statements to back it
up, but it's
> often said that cognomina were chiefly used by the upper echelons of
It could well have been so - but it seems that by the end of the
Republic, the custom of having a cognomen had become fairly universal
and that they generally inherited from the father.
> Another high-profile Roman without one is Gaius Marius.
A man of the people :)
I forgot to add in my original mail that freed slaves were enrolled into
their master's _gens_ and normally, out of respect for their master,
would also adopt his praenomen. The name by which they had formerly been
known would become the cognomen. A similar thing happened when
citizenship was granted to non-Romans. For example, when the emperor
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (aka Claudius) gave
Cogidubnus, king of the British 'tribe' known as _Regnenses_,
citizenship, the latter became 'Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus', a member
of the Claudian _gens_.
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760