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Nomina

Tria Nomina

Typical Roman names of the late Republic had three parts (the "tria nomina"). Example: Gaius Iulius Caesar where:

  • Gaius is a praenomen ("given name", plural praenomina),
  • Iulius is a nomen ("gens or clan name", plural nomina), and
  • Caesar is a cognomen ("family name within a gens", plural cognomina).

Some names had no cognomen, but in other cases a second cognomen, (called an agnomen), was added. Female names could follow similar conventions, with a few differences. Additional elements such as tribal affiliation and "filiation" (parentage), were also sometimes used.

Praenomen

List of Standard Praenomina
These are the standard praenomina,
from most common to least common.


Abbreviation Male
Form
Female
Form
C. Gaius Gaia
L. Lucius Lucia
M. Marcus Marca
P. Publius Publia
Q. Quintus Quinta
T. Titus Tita
Ti. Tiberius Tiberia
Sex. Sextus Sexta
A. Aulus Aula
D. Decimus Decima
Cn. Gnaeus Gnaea
Sp. Spurius Spuria
M'. Manius Mania
Ser. Servius Servia
Ap. Appius Appia
N. Numerius Numeria
V. Vibius Vibia

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.

There are only a small number of praenomina in ordinary use. These are used by the vast majority of Novi Romani, as they were by the vast majority of ancient Romans. There are also some rarer praenomina, most of them very old ones.
 
Nomen

A nomen indicates which gens a Roman belongs to. A gens is a loose collection of families sharing the same nomen. It is the middle part of the tria nomina, i.e., the three-part Roman name.

In ancient times a new citizen would almost always join an existing gens, and similarly in Nova Roma we ask you to choose a nomen from a closed list. Some ancient Roman nomina which are not listed here may also be acceptable.
 
Acilius Aebutius Aelius Aemilius Albius Amatius Ambrosius Annaeus Anneius Annius 
Apollonius Arrius Artorius Asinius Atilius Atius Aurelius Autronius Caecilius Caedicius
Caelius Calidius Calpurnius Cassius Claudius Cloelius Cocceius Cominius Cornelius 
Curiatius Curius Curtius Decius Didius Domitius Duilius Durmius Equitius Fabius Fabricius
Fannius Flavius Fulvius Furius Gabinius Galerius Geganius Gellius Geminius Genucius
Gratius Herennius Hirtius Horatius Hortensius Hostilius Iulius Iunius Iuventius Laelius
Lartius Licinius Livius Lucilius Lucretius Manlius Marcius Marius Memmius Menenius 
Minius Minucius Modius Mocius Naevius Nautius Numerius Numicius Octavius Ovidius
Papirius Petronius Pinarius Pompeius Pompilius Pontius Popillius Porcius Postumius
Quinctilius Quinctius Rubellius Rufius Rutilius Sallustius Salonius Salvius Scribonius
Seius Sempronius Sentius Sergius Sertorius Servilius Sextius Sicinius Suetonius
Sulpicius Tarpeius Tarquitius Terentius Titinius Titurius Tuccius Tullius Ulpius Valerius
Vedius Velleius Vergilius Verginius Vibius Villius Vipsanius Vitellius Vitruvius Volumnius

Cognomen

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.

Almost everyone has a cognomen, and it is difficult to distinguish different families within a gens unless cognomina are used. However, strictly speaking, cognomina are not compulsory.

It is important to understand that a cognomen is not a way for you to express your innermost thoughts or aspirations, or to boast about your wonderful qualities. It is just a name.

To help you choose a cognomen, there is a list of ancient Roman cognomina below.

Names referring to whole countries or provinces (e.g. Hispanus, "man from Hispania") are not normally allowed because they are not distinctive enough: if everyone in Hispania were called Hispanus, it would be very confusing! But such names may be appropriate if you live away from your native country (e.g. a citizen from Hispania living in America might be called Hispanus).

 

Male Form
Female Form
Meaning
Used especially by
Aculeo
Aculeo
Prickly, unfriendly
 
Agricola
Agricola
Farmer
 
Agrippa
Agrippa
Born feet first
Gens Menenia
Ahala
Ahala
Armpit
Gens Servilia
Ahenobarbus
Ahenobarba
With a red beard
Gens Domitia
Albinus
Albina
Pale, white
Gens Postumia
Albus
Alba
White or fair-skinned
Gens Postumia
Ambustus
Ambusta
Burnt, scalded
Gens Fabia
Annalis
Annalis
Relating to years
Gens Villia
Aquila
Aquila
Eagle
 
Aquilinus
Aquilina
Eagle-like
 
Arvina
Arvina
Fat, lard
Gens Cornelia
Asellio
Asellio
Keeper of donkeys
Gens Sempronia
Asina
Asina
Female donkey
Gens Cornelia
Atellus
Atella
Dark-haired or dark skinned
 
Avitus
Avita
Grandfatherly
 
Balbus
Balba
Stutterer
Gentes Acilia, Cornelia, Lucilia, Naevia, Octavia
Barba
Barba
A beard
 
Barbatus
Barbata
Bearded
Gentes Cornelia, Horatia, Quinctia
Bassus
Bassa
Plump
 
Bestia
Bestia
Like an animal
Gens Calpurnia
Bibaculus
Bibacula
Drunkard
Gentes Furia, Sextia
Bibulus
Bibula
Drunkard
Gentes Calpurnia, Publicia
Blaesus
Blaesa
Someone who mispronounces words, slurs his speech, stammers, or lisps
Gens Sempronia
Brocchus
Broccha
Toothy
 
Brutus
Bruta
Stupid, dull-witted
Gens Iunia
Bubulcus
Bubulca
Cattle-driver
Gens Iunia
Bucco
Bucco
Fool, dolt
 
Bulbus
Bulba
Bulb, onion
Gens Atilia
Buteo
Buteo
Buzzard
Gens Fabia
Caecus
Caeca
Blind
Gens Claudia
Caepio
Caepio
Onion-seller
Gens Servilia
Caesar
Caesar
From archaic praenomen Caesar, perhaps meaning "hairy"
Gens Iulia
Calidus
Calida
Hot-headed, rash
Gens Coelia
Calvinus
Calvina
From cognomen Calvus
Gentes Domitia, Veturia
Calvus
Calva
Bald
 
Camillus
Camilla
A child who helps during sacrifices
Gens Furia
Caninus
Canina
Dog-like
Gens Acilia
Canus
Cana
Golden-haired or grey-haired
 
Capito
Capito
Big-headed
Gens Ateia
Carbo
Carbo
Charcoal
Gens Papirii
Catilina
Catilina
 
Gens Sergia
Cato
Cato
Shrewd, prudent
Gentes Hostilia, Porcia
Catulus
Catula
Puppy, whelp
Gens Lutatia
Celer
Celera
Quick
 
Celsus
Celsa
Tall
Gens Papia
Cethegus
Cethega
 
Gens Cornelia
Cicero
Cicero
Chick pea
Gens Tullia
Cicurinus
Cicurina
Mild, gentle
Gens Veturia
Cilo
Cilo
Large forehead or large lips
Gens Flaminia
Cincinnatus
Cincinnata
Curly-haired
Gens Quinctia
Cinna
Cinna
 
Gens Cornelia
Cordus
Corda
Born late
 
Cornicen
Cornicen
Military bugler
 
Cornutus
Cornuta
Horned
Gens Caecilia, Sulpicia
Corvinus
Corvina
Crow-like
Gens Valeria
Corvus
Corva
Crow
Gens Valeria
Cossus
Cossa
From archaic praenomen Cossus
Gens Cornelia
Costa
Costa
A rib
Gens Pedania
Cotta
Cotta
 
Gens Aurelia
Crassipes
Crassipes
Club-footed
Gens Furia
Crassus
Crassa
Fat
Gentes Claudia, Licinia, Otacilia, Veturia
Crispinus
Crispina
Curly-haired
 
Crispus
Crispa
Curly-haired
Gentes Sallustia, Vibia
Culleo
Culleo
Leather sack for carrying liquid
Gens Terentia
Curio
Curio
Priest of a Curia
Gens Scribonia
Cursor
Cursor
Runner, courier
Gens Papiria
Curvus
Curva
Stooping, bent
Gens Fulvia
Dentatus
Dentata
Toothy
 
Denter
Dentra
Toothy
Gens Caecilia
Dento
Dento
Toothy
 
Dives
Dives
Rich, wealthy
Gens Licinia
Dolabella
Dolabella
Hatchet
Gens Cornelia
Dorsuo
Dorsuo
Large back
Gens Fabia
Drusus
Drusa
 
Gens Livia
Figulus
Figula
Potter
 
Fimbria
Fimbria
Edge of clothing, fringes
Gens Flavia
Flaccus
Flacca
Floppy ears
Gentes Aviania, Fulvia, Valeria
Flavus
Flava
Blonde-haired
Gens Decimia
Florus
Flora
Light-coloured or blooming
Gens Aquilia
Fronto
Fronto
Prominent forehead
 
Fullo
Fullo
A fuller or launderer
Gens Apustia
Fusus
Fusa
From archaic praenomen Fusus
Gens Furia
Galeo
Galeo
Helmet
 
Gemellus
Gemella
A twin
Gentes Servilia, Veturia
Glabrio
Glabrio
A relative of Glaber
Gens Acilia
Gracchus
Graccha
 
Gens Sempronia
Gurges
Gurges
Greedy, prodigal
Gens Fabia
Habitus
Habita
In good physical condition
Gens Cluentia
Helva
Helva
Dun-colored hair
Gens Aebutia
Imperiosus
Imperiosa
Domineering, dictatorial
Gens Manlia
Iullus
Iulla
From archaic praenomen Iullus
Gens Iulia
Labeo
Labeo
Prominent lips
Gentes Antistia, Atinia, Fabia
Lactuca
Lactuca
Lettuce
Gens Valeria
Laenas
Laenas
A woolly cloak
Gens Popillia
Laenatus
Laenata
Wearing wool
Gens Menenia
Laevinus
Laevina
 
 
Laterensis
Laterensis
Person from the hill-side
Gens Iuventia
Lentulus
Lentula
A bit slow
Gens Cornelia
Lepidus
Lepida
Charming, amusing
Gens Aemilia
Libo
Libo
 
Gens Marcia
Licinus
Licina
Spiky- or bristly-haired
Gens Mamilia
Longus
Longa
Tall
Gentes Sempronia, Sulpicia
Lucullus
Luculla
From lucus (grove) or Lucius (praenomen)
Gens Licinia
Lupus
Lupa
Wolf
Gens Rutilia
Lurco
Lurco
Gluttonous, greedy
 
Macer
Macra
Thin
Gens Licinia
Macula
Macula
A spot or blemish
 
Malleolus
Malleola
Hammer
Gens Publicia
Mamercus
Mamerca
From rare praenomen Mamercus
Gens Aemilia
Marcellus
Marcella
From praenomen Marcus
Gens Claudia
Merenda
Merenda
Light afternoon meal
Gentes Antonia, Cornelia
Maro
Maro
 
Gens Vergilia
Mergus
Merga
Sea-gull
 
Merula
Merula
Blackbird
Gens Cornelia
Messalla
Messalla
 
Gens Valeria
Metellus
Metella
Army follower
Gens Caecilia
Murena
Murena
Eel
Gens Licinia
Mus
Mus
Mouse or rat
Gens Decia
Musca
Musca
Fly
Gens Sempronia
Nasica
Nasica
Big-nosed
Gens Sempronia
Naso
Naso
Big-nosed
Gens Ovidia
Natta
Natta
An artisan
Gens Pinaria
Nepos
Nepos
Grandchild
Gens Caecilia
Nero
Nero
From rare praenomen Nero
Gens Claudia
Nerva
Nerva
Vigorous
Gens Licinia
Niger
Nigra
Black-skinned or black-haired
 
Novellus
Novella
New, new-fangled
Gens Gavilia
Ocella
Ocella
Small-eyed
Gens Livia
Pacilus
Pacila
From archaic praenomen Pacilus
Gens Furia
Paetus
Paeta
Squinty or blinking
Gens Aelia
Pansa
Pansa
Splay-footed
Gens Vibia
Papus
Papa
From rare praenomen Papus
Gens Aemilia
Paterculus
Patercula
Little father
Gens Sulpicia
Paullus
Paulla
Small
Gens Aemilia
Pavo
Pavo
Peacock
 
Pera
Pera
Shoulder-bag
Gens Iunia
Pictor
Pictrix
Painter
Gens Fabia
Piso
Piso
Mortar
Gens Calpurnia
Plancus
Planca
Flat-footed
Gens Munatia
Plautus
Plauta
Flat-footed
 
Postumus
Postuma
Born after the father's death
Gens Curtia
Potitus
Potita
Probably derived from an archaic praenomen
Gens Valeria
Praeconinus
Praeconina
A relative of a herald
 
Praetextatus
Praetextata
Young (wearing the toga praetexta)
Gens Sulpicia
Priscus
Prisca
Very ancient
 
Proculus
Procula
From rare praenomen Proculus, perhaps meaning "born during father's absence"
Gens Plautia
Pulcher
Pulchra
Attractive
Gens Claudia
Pullus
Pulla
Child
 
Pulvillus
Pulvilla
Small cushion
Gens Horatia
Purpureo
Purpureo
Wearing purple or with a purplish complexion
 
Quadratus
Quadrata
Stocky, squarely built
 
Ralla
Ralla
A tunic of fine fabric
Gens Marcia
Regillus
Regilla
Prince
Gens Aemilia
Regulus
Regula
Prince
Gens Atilia
Rufus
Rufa
Reddish, Ginger-haired
 
Ruga
Ruga
Wrinkly
 
Rullus
Rulla
Uncultivated, boorish
Gens Servilia
Rutilus
Rutila
Reddish-gold hair
 
Salinator
Salinatrix
Salt-harvester
Gens Livia
Saturninus
Saturnina
Dedicated to Saturnus
 
Scaeva
Scaeva
Left-handed
Gens Iunia
Scaevola
Scaevola
Left-handed
Gens Mucia
Scapula
Scapula
Shoulder-blade
Gens Quinctia
Scaurus
Scaura
Lame, swollen-ankled
Gentes Aemilia, Aurelia
Scipio
Scipio
Rod, staff
Gens Cornelii
Scrofa
Scrofa
Sow
Gens Tremelia
Seneca
Seneca
Elderly
Gens Annaea
Severus
Severa
Strict, severe
 
Silanus
Silana
Nose, water-spout
Gens Iunia
Silo
Silo
Snub-nosed
Gens Sergia
Silus
Sila
Snub-nosed
Gens Sergia
Stolo
Stolo
Shoot of a plant
Gens Licinia
Strabo
Strabo
Squinty
Gens Titia
Structus
Structa
Possibly derived from an archaic praenomen
Gens Servilia
Sulla
Sulla
 
Gens Cornelia
Sura
Sura
Calf of the leg
 
Taurus
Taura
Bull
 
Triarius
Triaria
A type of soldier
Gens Valeria
Trigeminus
Trigemina
A triplet
Gens Curiatia
Trio
Trio
One of the seven stars of the Plough / Big Dipper
Gens Lucretia
Tubero
Tubero
Having a tumour or swelling
Gens Aelia
Tubertus
Tuberta
Having a tumour or swelling
Gens Postumia
Tubulus
Tubula
Little tube
Gens Hostilia
Tuditanus
Tuditana
Mallet
Gens Sempronia
Tullus
Tulla
From rare praenomen Tullus
Gens Volcatia
Turdus
Turda
Thrush
Gens Papiria
Varro
Varro
Block-head
Gens Terentia
Varus
Vara
Bow-legged
Gentes Atilia, Licinia, Quinctilia
Vatia
Vatia
Knock-kneed
Gens Servilia
Verres
Verres
Pig
Gens Cornelia
Vespillo
Vespillo
Person employed to bury people too poor for a funeral
Gens Lucretia
Vetus
Veta
Old
Gens Antistia
Vitulus
Vitula
Calf or young cow
Gentes Mamilia, Pomponia
Volusus
Volusa
From rare praenomen Volusus
Gens Valeria
 
Information taken from Novaroma Website.
 
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