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Onomasiology: our Roman names!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 7:33 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Hellenos wrote at the General forum board:

You see, I was romanized once before. In the first year of high school our Latin teacher gave us Latin names and adressed us that way. It was based on our napoliontic names aka our so-called real names. My real ís in fact Alexander for my hounerable father named me 'Alexander Sebastiaan'. Alexander (Aléxandros) is of course Alexander III of Makedonía who we tend to call the great. (As we do his fathet Fillipos II, but everyone seems to forget). Sebastiaan (Sebastianus) is a Roman, as I believe of later periods, who had is body seeved with arows, as you can see on this image, it's not that good an image, because he should be more penatratred. Which you shall understand more if I tell you its is the only thing the "common memory" knows of him. You could check your "practicum kunst-cd". It was his intention, to call me Sabstiaan as a warning in life, and Alexander as an example. And thus he conducted his plan, and when I became an ephebe, the world changed it's perception of me, and started to call me Alexander.

when I was child everyone called me "Sebastiaan" (and Sebástian in Antwerpian English Primary School ) and so my first Latin teacher named me "Sebastianus Lovensius Artifex". The praenomen is thus my (second) first name, the nomen is my Belgian surname an NOT my birth-, live- nor study-place: in Greece (where I, Hellenos travelled from) they call me Aléksandros of Wílderak (my true birthplace), I live in Antverpiae and study in Ghent. Atifex was a cognomen of choice.

now tóday in Alexander Dionysius Hellenos, Alexander is evident. I chose Dionysius, because on my KK-baptism I was Diónusos. (Had a hot date with Apollo ) And finally Hellenos, for I am a traveller from Greece .
now, if you bravely read this up to here I'll rewatrd you with some thaughts. I am disloyal to my first Latin name? Growing up I see it as an alter ego. Artifex is the crative one and Hellenos the scholar. They depend on eachother. Secondly, What's the story behind your name? Fore sure, everyone has his Roman heroes or examples and certainly you and your brothers must have had some discussion about it! Beïng brothers in SVR too.

I'll post my response in a reply.


PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 7:36 pm
by Anonymous
Eagerly awaiting, dear friend!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 7:44 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Salvete omnes Romani Graecique,

The name on my identity card is Jeroen Joris Nicolas Meuleman. However, except for my parents, my brothers and a few acquaintances no one ever calls me "Jeroen" (thats phonetically spelled /je:'ru:n/ for you anglophones ;)). Because Jeroen is a pretty common name in these parts, certainly for people in their early twenties or late teens, I was never the only Jeroen in my class in secondary school. As such most people called me by my last name, Meuleman, or an abbreviation of it, Meule (phonetically /mø:le/ in which the last <e> is actually a schwa but I don't have that character).

A proper latinisation of my name would thus be Hieronymus Georgus Nicolaus Molinarius (three Greek names, actually ;)). But I figured that didn't sound all too spammy :lol:.

I another org I used to be known as Sextus Apollonius Draco. I chose Sextus in part because Atticus had chosen the nomen Quintus, Apollonius because the man who had persuaded us to join that org was also named Apollonius (plus, I liked the sound of it!), and Draco because, well, I've always had a thing about dragons. I'm not the only one, of course, but I've always felt that this mythical animal, both in the Eastern and Western version, fitted my character most. Lucky dragon if you're nice, evil dragon if you're not ;). But then again, I must certainly not be the only one :).

Here I chose the praenomen Gnaeus simply because I like the name. Dionysius is a little pun on Apollonius but also fits my character more and Draco is already explaine. My agnomen Invictus, finally, is chosen in honour of Sol Invictus. I think the Sun is possibly the most powerful and universal religious symbol. As most symbols I like, it has some ambiguous connotations and is, in principle, a-moral, a force of nature.

That's about it.

Optime valete,

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 8:56 pm
by Publius Dionysius Mus
Publius Dionysius Mus omnibus salutem

My parents have given me the name 'Dennis'. Although they did not know it, this name comes from the Greek god 'Dionysos'. For those who know me, this name suits me perfectly :wink:

My parents chose this name because of the cartoon 'Dennis the Menace'. Again for those who know me... judge yourself!

Here in the SVR I have kept that first name as my cognomen 'Dionysius'. And I chose Publius Mus after the great Roman general who, according to Livius, offered himself to the gods the save the army and the state (Ab Urbe Condita VIII, 6-10).

An honourable name for an honourable man? :P

Optamo vobis bene valere


PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 10:59 pm
by Primus Aurelius Timavus
I too was given a Roman name by my first latin teacher. I still use Primus as my nomen. Tergestus comes from the Roman name for Trieste. I chose it because my relatives on my mother's side come from that part of Italy. I chose Aurelius because I admire the emperor Marcus Aurelius' Meditations.


Primus Aurelius Tergestus


PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:11 am
by Valerius Claudius Iohanes
Salvete omnes Romani atque Graeci,

This is the first time that I've read thru this thread; I enjoyed it.

For my own part, although there was a Latin class at my elementary school, I never dared to attempt it - French was giving me enough trouble. Yet later, in college, I jumped at the chance. The Latin class wasn't a full class - just the instructor and a handful of students - and was informal enough that he didn't bother to give us names. So when I was lucky enough to find the Societas and enrolled here, I had to choose for myself.

Valerius is probably the wrong form for a praenomen, I admit. It was chosen not for great accomplishments, but for the dream of being worth a damn in the world, the wish to be exciting, valuable, valorous.

I chose the Claudian gens for the famous Claudius of Grave's novel, that lame, unexciting everyman (as he seems to me).

And, as cognomen, since all that went before was fictive, I wanted to make a reference to my real, informal self, so I made an adjectival form of "John" which was also a form of my nickname of times gone by, "Johann" - to wit, Iohannensis. But it had a babarous ring and so, of late, I've decided it's easier for everyone if I simply use "Iohannes", so I've changed it to that.

And then there's Marius.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:26 am
by Aldus Marius
Salvete, amici Romani!

You know, I've been seeing, and now curating, this thread for 3.5 years and this is the first time I've read it? --What a delight, and bringing with it the promise of many more hidden treasures!

Bene, to our subject: as long as I've been aware of myself as a Roman, I have been Marius. My RL first name at the time was a variant of same (now it is Marius), so you could say my gens membership was destined from birth.

A short course in the tria nomina later, I was asking myself: Very well, and what is a proper praenomen for a Marius? Turns out we only ever used five that I know of; and of those five, the one I liked best, in both sound and meaning, was "Lucius". (I considered "Gaius", but didn't want to be presumptuous.) Still, Lucius ("born of the daylight") didn't really describe me; I wasn't firmly attached to it, but if I wanted to stay authentic, I lacked anything better.

The cognomen was easier. I do cognomina like this: Find the word that best describes yourself, or the nickname you'd have if you could pick one; translate it into Latin, and there ya go! But I wasn't very creative that time; instead of a more colorful adjective (Limetanus, "out in left field"; Merullus, "blackbird", or small dark creature that sings in the night), I picked "Fimbria", meaning (in my case) "he of the magnificent bangs". And they were--if I combed 'em out, they'd've reached my chin!

So...Lucius Marius Fimbria. For seven years in the Roman world, at schools, reenactor gigs, and a homeless shelter; and three in another place, after which the name was too battered to be of any further service. I went away, away; and for my previous wanderings, my passion for falconry, and the distance I put between myself and that part of my life, I became Peregrinus, the Wanderer, the guest in every land, the citizen of none; and am so still.

A couple of winters ago I finally found my praenomen. I was a printer for a long time. Aldus Manutius was a man of my trade in Renaissance Italy, about the time when movable type began to really take off. He originated many things still in use today, such as italic lettering; colophons or printers'-marks; and most of our modern punctuation system. In the disorder my life had fallen into by mid-'04, I had actually managed to forget about Aldus Manutius. I read about him that summer in a magazine article. I vowed I'd never forget him again; so I petitioned the SVR Censores to allow me to adopt "Aldus" as a praenomen, see the result!

So that's how you got stuck with Aldus Marius Peregrinus...but you'd have been stuck with me no matter what my handle! >({|;-)

In amicitia,

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:58 pm
by Publius Nonius Severus
Great thread!

Here are the origins of Publius Nonius Severus:

I found my Romanitas in about 2001. I soon realized I wanted a Roman name but didn't finally decide what it should be until finally joining the it was an intermittent journey of about five years. I wanted something authentic and personal, and that is why it took me so long.

My praenomen was easiest. I chose Publius because my RL first name starts with P and I thought this would be and and logical easy transition.

My nomen and cognomen were much more difficult. I wanted to base it on my real surname but ran into some construction problems. My real last name starts with a D but I couldn't find a lot of appropriate nomina that start with D (I was looking for a respectable yet not so recognized plebian family name). I also realized that the D was a little artificial, because being Italian-American, my last name actually begins with a prefix (Di) which is a common feature of Italian names, but not a Roman construction. So, I took the first letter after Di with was N. After looking through Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology I found Nonius which resembled my RL last name, was plebian, and although there were plenty of notable Nonii, it wasn't an overly recognized Roman name.

My cognomen was more difficult still. Being that Cognomina were passed down from father to son I wanted to chose a cognomen that would corectly describe the males in my real family starting with my Great Grandfather (the first to come to America from Italy). After a long time I settled on Severus. Not because the males in my family are overly severe or stern but serious enough to make it a good fit.

And that is the convoluted evolution of P. Nonius Severus.



PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
by Aldus Marius
Not so convoluted, mi Severe; it took me almost fifteen years to achieve final form, and I was consciously thinking about it the whole time. When you've been wearing something a long time, you have the right to make any adjustments that improve the fit. >({|:-)

In amicitia,

PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:32 am
by Q Valerius
Quintus Valerius Scerio. I don't remember what Scerio means, now, nor is it attested in antiquity, but that's far less important than the first two, which are, indeed, real Roman (noble) names.



PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:36 pm
by Valerius Claudius Iohanes
Salvete, Veterani -

Several times mentioned among your stories is "RL", which I - barbarus qui sum - am not familiar with. Is it for the Roman List, id est, a newsgroup?

In amicitia,

Re: Nomina

PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:58 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Salve Valeri,

Valerius Claudius Ioh. wrote:Salvete, Veterani -

Several times mentioned among your stories is "RL", which I - barbarus qui sum - am not familiar with. Is it for the Roman List, id est, a newsgroup?

In amicitia,

RL simply means Real Life. I suppose you could call it a newsgroup of some sort :wink:

Vale bene,


PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:54 pm
by Valerius Claudius Iohanes
<LOL> Mehercule! Nimis simplex.

Gratias tibi, Tiberii Dionysii Draco.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:23 am
by L. Livia Plauta
I found this old thread and I'd like to revive it.

Choosing a roman name was actually quite simple for me. We never had roman names when studying Latin, I guess because in Italy nobody feels the need to romanize something that's pretty close to latin anyway. So the first time I had to choose one was when joining Nova Roma, which has convenient pull-down menus for name choosing, listing only names that are historically documented.

My praenomen Lucia was my grandmother's name (and it suits me, as I love sunshine), Livia is my first name in real life, and for a cognomen I chose Plauta (flat footed), which accurately describes me. I could have chosen Scaevola as well, but between the two Plauta won because it's always pronounced the same way, while Scaevola can have at least three different pronounciations.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:59 pm
by Decima Decia Melania
Salvete omnes!

Well, I can't say as I have such an interesting story behind my chosen name as the rest of you have, but here goes...

Decima: Obviously, it means "tenth." It's a nice round number. Decima is one of the Parcae (the three Fates). She measures the length of the thread of life with her staff. She's also a goddess of childbirth. But to tell the truth, I just thought it sounded cool. 8)

Decia: Like Lieutenant Dan Taylor from Forrest Gump (one of his ancestors had fought and died in every single American war), Publius Decius Mus was the name of grandfather, father, and son - all of whom sacrificed themselves for their country. And, of course, there's also Emperor Traianus Decius who worked to restore Rome to her ancient glory - unfortunately, he killed a lot of Christians in the process.

But, again, I'll be honest - I thought it sounded cool, especially paired with Decima. :oops:

Melania: This one's easy. It's the Latinization of my RL name, Melanie, which is Greek.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:40 pm
by M.Apollonius Silvanus
Salvete Omnes!

I would have chosen a better Roman name,but I chose one that sounded good for NR.

My birth name is Jerry, which comes from Jeremiah and I do not have a clue if there is a Roman equivlant. My middle name is Keith which is Gaelic and has something to do with woods and forests so I chose Silvanus as Keith is what I go by. My surname is Flemish and has to do with a person that sits on a council, again I do not know what the Latin would be.

It would be interesting to know what the Latin forms for those would be.

M.Apollonivs Silvanvs


PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:34 pm
by Decima Decia Melania
Decima Decia Melaena wrote:Melania: This one's easy. It's the Latinization of my RL name, Melanie, which is Greek.

Well, I've just learned that (gasp) I was wrong! :o Shocking, I know.

"The English female name Melanie is derived from the feminine form of the Greek adjective melas (masc.), melaina (fem.), melan (neuter), meaning black or dark, murky, etc. The Latin spelling of the feminine form would be melaena. Since myreal name is Melanie, it would probably be more authentic to use the Greek feminine of the adjective. That also would avoid the termination –ia, which looks like a nomen."

Sooooo, I'm changing it to the more correct form, Melaena.


No Oopsies over here...

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:46 pm
by Aldus Marius
Salve, mi Decima!

No "oopsies" over here. Our Roman-name guidelines (I wrote 'em) are on the SVR site, and linked to from the application form and the FAQ; but here's the direct address: ... n_name.php .

Perhaps they're not exacting enough. Perhaps they should be on six different pages of a hard-to-navigate site like NR's. But then, we don't get NR-style howlers like "Scipio Hyeaneus" either. So maybe our Sodales don't need all that "guidance".

I personally check the proposed Roman name of every single applicant. My standards are these: Is the name-element (praenomen or nomen) attested? If not, is it plausible? (I doubt we have written record of more than 2% of all Roman gentes, especially in the Provinces.) Is the cognomen suitable to the wearer and free of embarrassing connotations? Does it sound nice? Are the endings screwed on straight?

"Melania" passes muster with me. I'll change it if you want me to; but if that's the name you prefer, it's yours.

In fide,

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:25 am
by Cleopatra Aelia
I chose my name when registering with the SVR and picked Cleopatra because it's my cat's name. So it was something I had some connection to. Aelia just sounded nice to me, it could have been anything else actually.

Since I started with gladiatorial reenactment I chose also an arena name which you will find here in the signature and under which I'm registered in other fora such as RAT: Medusa. This is taken from Greek mythology but gladiators very often had names from Greek mythology so I found it suitable.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:10 am
by Q Valerius
Having dropped Scerio...

Quintus Valerius Poplicola, descendent of the great Publius Valerius Poplicola, who along with Brutus overthrew the kings and was the first consul with him.

Q. Valerius Cn. f. P. n. Poplicola. My father is Gnaeus, his younger brother is Gaius, and my grandfather is Publius.