Traditional aristocratic Roman male names had three parts. In order, they were the praenomen, the nomen, and the cognomen.
The Praenomen: A man’s given name, used informally. Only about 20 first names existed during the Republic, although this expanded in the Empire as more non-Romans became citizens. Particular aristocratic families often favored two or three traditional praenomens and always chose their sons’ names from them. Lower-class Roman males usually didn’t have a praenomen and sometimes lacked a cognomen as well.
The Nomen: The name of the clan or gens, which comprised all family members who traced their linage back to a common ancestor. It served as the middle name.
The Cognomen: This distinguished different family branches of the clan and served as the last name. In some families a man might have two or three cognomen. A nickname would often be tacked onto the end of the cognomen—a Scipio who distinguished himself in Africa became known as Scipio Africanus.
Nicknames often evolved into cognomen over time. Lower-class males usually had no praenomen. Slaves might keep their own birth name, be given a new name, or use a form of their master’s nomen, changing the “-ius” suffix to the servile ”-ioper.” Foreign slaves with names that were difficult for Romans to pronounce were often jokingly renamed after Greek gods or mythological figures. A freed slave adopted his or her master’s nomen, but changed the “-ius” ending to ”-ianus.” So a slave in the household of Pinarius might be called Pinarioper, and if he won his freedom he would be Pinarianus.
Female Names: Until a woman married, her first name was the feminine form of her father’s nomen. The last two letters are replaced with an ”a,” so Claudius becomes Claudia, Julius becomes Julia, etc. This was followed by a second name giving the order of her birth. Maior meant oldest, secundus was the next oldest, etc. Once she married, her second name took on a feminine form of her husband‘s cognomen. Julia Secundus who married Lucius Plinius Plautus became Julia Plinia.
Praenomina: Appius, Aulus, Caelus, Decius, Decimus, Faustus, Flavius, Gaius, Gnaeus, Hostus, Julius, Lucius, Mamercus, Manius, Marcus, Mettius, Nonus, Numerius, Octavianus, Oppius, Primus, Publius, Quintus, Secundus, Septimus, Servius, Sextus, Salvius, Spurius, Tertius, Tiberius, Titus, Tullus, Vibius
Nomina: Aelius, Aemilius, Albius, Annaeus, Antonius, Aquilius, Arrius, Artorius, Asinius, Atius, Atrius, Aufidius, Aurelius, Avitus, Axius, Caecilius, Caelius, Caesonius, Calavius, Calpurnius, Cassius, Catullus, Claudius, Considius, Cornelius, Crispus, Didius Domitius, Drusus, Duronius, Ennius, Epidius, Fabius, Falernus, Faustus, Flaminius, Fulvius, Furius, Galerius, Gavius, Gellius, Granius, Gratidius, Helvetius, Herminius, Herrenius, Horatius, Icilius, Laelius, Laetorius, Lafrenius, Lartius, Licinius, Livianus, Lucanus, Lucilius, Lucretius, Maccius, Macrinus, Maelius, Magius, Manilius, Marcellinus, Marcianus, Marius, Matius, Memmius, Mettius, Milonius, Minucius, Modius, Naevius, Nemetorius, Nonius, Norbanus, Novius, Octavius, Oppius, Oranius, Ovidius, Petronius, Pinarius, Placidius, Plinius, Pompeius, Pomponius, Pontius, Porcius, Proculus, Publius, Pullo, Quirinius, Romilius, Rutilius, Sallustius, Salonius, Sempronius, Septimius, Sergius, Sertorius, Servilius, Sestius, Severinus, Sextius, Sidonius, Socellius, Suetonius, Tarpeius, Terentius, Tibullus, Titius, Tremellius, Tullius, Ulpius, Umbrius, Ummidius, Valerius, Varius, Vatinius, Vassenius, Vedius, Velius, Verecundius, Vergilius, Vettius, Veturius, Vibenius, Vibius, Vinicius, Viridius, Visellius, Vitellius, Vitruvius, Vitus, Vorenus
Cognomina: Afer, Agelastus, Africanus, Agricola, Agrippa, Ahenobarbus, Albinus, Arvina, Atticus, Augur, Balearicus, Belisarius, Bellator, Bestia, Bodenius, Brocchus, Brutus, Caesar, Caepio, Caestoninus, Calvus, Cammilus, Caprarius, Carbo, Casca, Cato, Catulus, Celsus, Cerialis, Cicero, Columella, Corbulo, Cotta, Crassus, Crescentius, Cunctator, Cyricus, Damaticus, Dio, Draco, Durio, Eborius, Eburnus, Erasinus, Fimbria, Flaccus, Galba, Getha, Glaucia, Gordianus, Gordio, Gorgonius, Gracchus, Grumio, Iovius, Iustianus, Laenas, Lentulus, Leontius, Lepidus, Limentanus, Litorius, Longius, Lucullus, Lurio, Macro, Mactator, Magnus, Mancinus, Maro, Marinus, Marsus, Martialis, Maximian, Maximus, Meminus, Memor, Merula, Metellus, Mordanticus, Nasica, Nepos, Nero, Nerva, Numidicus, Numonis, Opilio, Orator, Orestes, Otho, Paulus, Pavo, Pelagius, Persius, Pertinax, Pilatus, Pilus, Pulcher, Ravilla, Reginus, Regulus, Rufinus, Rufus, Ruso, Saturnius, Scaeola, Scaurus, Scipio, Senecio, Serranus, Severus, Siculus, Sisenna, Stichus, Strabo, Sulla, Taenaris, Taurinus, Tertulus, Thrasea, Tibulus, Valens, Varro, Varus, Vatia, Verecundus, Viator, Virilis, Vopiscus
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