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By Stephen Wilson

Names are by no means given unintentionally; they're selected and bestowed in accordance with principles that mirror basic gains of the society and tradition involved. it is a learn of the character and historical past of naming practices in Western Europe.

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Extra resources for The means of naming: A social and cultural history of personal naming in western Europe

Sample text

From the time of the early Empire, upper-class women began to be given and to inherit cognomina, for example Aemilia Lepida and Corellia Hispulla; and women with two or three names become frequent in inscriptions and literature. 22 Women in Pliny’s letters nearly all have two names, and he refers to them by their cognomina alone or their gentilicia plus cognomina. In the later Empire, women joined in the accumulation of names that characterized the upper classes. In the Republican period it is obvious that a woman did not change her name at marriage; it remained the gentilicium.

The names of imperial freedmen clearly expressed their peculiar and elevated status. The usual rule followed was to add the status element Aug. lib. or Aug. e. Augusti libertus, to the tria nomina. This they continued to do “even when the freedmen of private citizens were ceasing to use any form of freedman indicator at all”,32 and even when they achieved high office. Flavius from Vespasian. Later the very frequency of such names led to their being dropped, or the gentilicium might be retained in only abbreviated form: Fl.

His brother Quintus had children, but they were probably named before their uncle died in 30 BC. Whatever the reason, the next Marcus Aemilius Lepidus was the son of the first’s cousin Paullus. In some families, the eldest son’s name was less distinctive, or was given to the sons of younger sons when their first-born uncles did have offspring or the prospect of it. Gaius Licinius Varus, consul in 236 BC, a younger son, gave his son the name Publius, the name of his father, his elder brother and the latter’s eldest son, Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, consul in 205 BC.

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