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Roman Names . By: Arianna Sartzetakis 2011. Roman Names. A foreigner that became a Roman citizen took a new Roman name as a mark of citizenship. Typical Roman names of the late Republic had three parts (the " tria nomina “.)

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Roman names

Roman Names

By: Arianna Sartzetakis


Roman names1
Roman Names

  • A foreigner that became a Roman citizen took a new Roman name as a mark of citizenship.

  • Typical Roman names of the late Republic had three parts (the "trianomina“.)

  • This included the praenomen, nomen, and cognomen and for the women they would inherit there father or husbands full name.


List of Standard Praenomina

  • A praenomen, the first part of a 

    Roman name, is a personal name

    which distinguishes an individual

    from other members of the same

    family. The praenomen is not normally

    used on its own: normally only close

    relatives or very close friends call each

    other by their praenomen.

  • The first child of a marriage was

    almost always given the same 

    praenomen as the father; the second

    child was given a different praenomen,

    perhaps the same one as an uncle or

    grandfather, for example.


  • A nomen indicates which family a Roman belongs to.

  • Below is a list of common nomen:

  • Cassius

  • Claudius

  • Cloelius

  • Cocceius

  • Cominius

  • Cornelius

  • Coruncanius

  • Curiatius

    <-- link to Cornelius’s (from the textbook Ecce



  • A cognomen is a family name which would be shared by a group of blood relatives. Cognomina often, but not always, referred to a person's appearance or other characteristics. It was also common to have a cognomen referring to a place of birth, a job, or some other thing which distinguished the person (usually an ancestor) who first bore that cognomen.

  • Under some circumstances Romans were given an additional cognomen, called an agnomen.

Connecting to textbook
Connecting to textbook

  • The father in our story has 3 names. Gaius ( praenomen) Cornelius(nomen) and Calvus (cognomen).

  • Since the Roman society was male oriented the name of a Roman boy included the nomen of his fathers clan and the cognomen of his fathers family. So Corneius’ son was called Marcus Cornelius Calvus.

  • In the formal naming of girls and women the fathers or husbands full name would be added in the genitive case. So Cornelia's would be Cornelia Gaii Cornelii Clavi and Aurelia's name would be Aurelia's Gaii Cornelii Clavi.