This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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.

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

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

If you like the content that I collect on the website and that I share on social media channels I will be grateful for supporting me. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server.

Support IMPERIUM ROMANUM!

Support IMPERIUM ROMANUM!

News from world of ancient Rome

If you want to be up to date with newest articles on website and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter, which is sent each Saturday.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Subscribe to newsletter

Roman bookstore

I encourage you to buy interesting books about the history of ancient Rome and antiquity.

Check out bookstore

Roman bookstore

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: