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Nicknames and names of Romans?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli
Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli

In ancient Rome, to the first name (praenomen) and family name (nomen) in the first century BCE was added nickname (cognomen). It happened because at the end of the republic’s existence the families began to grow significantly. Initially, only patrician families adopted the nickname.

The first nicknames were associated with the main classes of the Romans at that time. Nicknames were often associated with plants, which only confirms our belief in the agricultural nature of the original Roman society. For example, the Cicero family took its name from peas (cicer), and Fabius from bob (faba). Still other nicknames were associated with some characteristic of a family member, e.g. Cincinnatus – “curly”, Cato – “clever” or nickname killer CaesarBrutus, which means “fool”. The nickname could also indicate the origin of a person or distinguish his personal characteristics.

  • Winniczuk Lidia, Mały słownik kultury antycznej: Grecja, Rzym, 1968
  • Wipszycka Ewa, Vademecum historyka starożytnej Grecji i Rzymu, 1985

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