The Ancient Library

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were very numerous. These two names, a prae-nomen and a nomen gentilicium or simply nomen, •were indispensable to a Roman, and they were at the same time sufficient to designate him ; hence the numerous instances of Romans being designated only by these two names, even in cases where a third or fourth name was possessed by the person. Plebeians, however, in many cases only possessed two names, as C. Marius, Q. Sertorius, Cn. Pom-peius, &c. The praenomen characterised a Roman citizen as an individual, and gave him, as it were, his caput [caput] at the time when he received it. As women had not the full caput of men, they only bore the feminine form of the nomen gentili­cium, as Cornelia, Sempronia, Tullia, Terentia, Porcia, &c. In later times, however, we find that women also sometimes had a praenomen, which they received when they married, and which was the feminine form of the praenomen of their hus­bands ; such as Caia, Lucia, Publia. (Scaevol. ap. Vol. Max. 1. c.) Caia Caecilia, the wife of L. Tarquinius, if the name be historical, is an excep­tion to this rule. (Val. Max. L c. ; see Cic. pro Muren. 12.) When Macrobius (/. c.) states that girls received their name (he evidently means the praenomen) on the eighth day after their birth, he alludes, as in the case of boys receiving theirs on the ninth day, to an innovation of later times, and among the female praenomina given at such an early age we may reckon Prima, Secunda, Tertia, Quarta, Postuma, &c. (Varro, de Ling. Lett, ix, 60 ; Suet. Goes. 50 ; Capitol. Max. et Ball). 5.) Vestal Virgins, at the appointment to their priest­hood (captio)) when they left the patria potestas, received, like married women, a praenomen, e.g. Caia Tafratia, or Caia Suffetia. (Plin. If* N. xxxiv. 11.)

Every Roman citizen, besides belonging to a gens, was also a member of a familia, contained in a gens, and, as a member of such a familia, he had or might have a third name or cognomen. Such cognomina were derived by the Romans from a variety of mental or bodily peculiarities, or from some remarkable event in the life of the person who was considered as the founder of the familia. Such cognomina are, Asper, Imperiosus, Magnus, Maximus, Publicola, Brutus, Capito, Cato, Naso, Labeo, Caecus, Cicero, Scipio, Sulla, Torquattts, &c. These names were in most cases hereditary, and descended to the latest members of a familia ; in some cases they ceased with the death of the person to whom they were given for special rea­sons. Many Romans had a second cognomen (cognomen secundum or afjnomen\ which was given to them as an honorary distinction, and in comme­moration of some memorable deed or event of their life, e.g. Africanus, Asiaticus, Hispallus, Cretensis, Macedonicus, Numantianus, &c. Such agnomina were sometimes given by one general to another, sometimes by the army and confirmed by the chief-general, sometimes by the people in the co-mitia, and sometimes they were assumed by the person himself, as in the case of L. Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus. Sometimes also a person adopted a second cognomen which was derived from the name of his mother, as M. Porcius Cato Salonianus or Saloninus, who was the son of M. Cato Censorius and of Salonia. (Gellius, xiii. 19 ; Plut. Cat. Maj. 24.)

The regular order in which these names followed one another was this : — 1. praenomen ; 2. nomen


gentilicium ; 3. cognomen primum ; 4. cognomen secundum or agnomen. Sometimes the name of the tribe to which a person belonged, was added to his name, in the ablative case, as Q. Verres Ro-milia (Cic. c. Verr. i. 8), C. Claudius Palatiua (Cic. c. Verr. ii. 43), Ser. Sulpicius Lemonia (Cic. Philip, ix. 7). No one was allowed to assume a nomen gentilicium or a cognomen which did not belong to him, and he who did so was guilty of falsum. (Dig. 48. tit. 11. s. 33.)

It must have been in comparatively few cases that persons had a fourth name or agnomen, but the three others were, at least at a late period, when the plebeian aristocracy had become established, thought indispensable to any one who claimed to belong to an ancient family. (Juvenal, v. 127.) In the intercourse of common life, however, and espe­cially among friends and relatives, it was cus­tomary to address one another only by the prae­nomen or cognomen, as may be seen in the letters of Cicero. It was but very seldom that persons were addressed by their nomen gentilicium. The most common mode of stating the name of a per­son in cases where legal accuracy was not the ob­ject, was that of mentioning the praenomen and cognomen, with the omission of the nomen gentili­cium, which was easily understood. Thus Caius Julius Caesar would during the better ages of the republic and in familiar address be called Cains, otherwise Caius Caesar, or even Caius Julius, but never Julius Caesar, which was only done during the latter period of the republic and under the em­pire, as in Albius Tibullus, Cornelius Nepos, Me-nenius Agrippa, &c. A very common mode of stating the name of a person during these latter times, was that of merely mentioning the cogno­men, provided the person bearing it was sufficiently known or notorious, as we speak of Milton and Johnson, without adding any other distinction, although there are many persons bearing the saint name. The most common of these cases among the Romans are Verres, Carbo, Cato, Caepio, Cicero, Caesar, Sulla, &c. In the time of Augus­tus and Tiberius it became very common to invert the ancient order of nomen and cognomen, and to say, e.g. Drustis Claudius, or Silvanus Planting, instead of Claudius Drusus and Plautius Silvanus. (Veil. Pat. ii. 97, 112.)

Roman women had likewise sometimes a cogno­men, although instances of it are very rare. It was sometimes, like that of men, derived from per­sonal peculiarities, such as Rufa and Pusilla (Horat. Sat. ii. 3. 216) ; sometimes from the nomen gentilicium of their husbands, as Junia Claudilla, Ennia Naevia (Suet. C«%. 12), Livia Ocellina (Suet. Galh. 3), and sometimes from the cognomen of their husbands, as Caecilia Metella.

During the latter part of the republic, and the early period of the empire, when the Roman fran­chise was given to whole countries and provinces, the persons who thus acquired the civitas fre­quently adopted the praenomen and nomen of the person through whose interest they had obtained the distinction, or of the emperor himself. After the time of Caracalla (a. d. 212), when all the free inhabitants of the empire had obtained the Roman franchise, and when the gentilician relations which had already gradually fallen into oblivion were totally forgotten, any person might adopt what name he pleased, either anciant or newly invented, and even change his name, if he did not like

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