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Questions tagged [names]

For questions about personal names (Ancient and Modern) in the Latin language.

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Why did so many Romans name their children after ordinal numbers?

Why were so many praenomina ordinal numbers or apparently derived from ordinal numbers? A few examples: Octavia Minor (Augustus Caesar's older sister) Octavia Major (Augustus Caesar's older half-...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
584 views

Did the Romans derive verbs from names?

I know the Romans did derive verbs from nouns (laudare, finire, lucere…), but did they ever derive verbs from names? The Greeks did, for example forming homerizein (ὁμηρίζ&...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
866 views

What is the vocative of Gnaeus?

I would like to know how to decline the name Gnaeus in vocative. I see three options: Gnaee (regular declension) Gnai (would make sense by analogy to Gai if the name is pronounced /gnaius/) Gnaeus (...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is Jesus inflected in such a way?

The name Iesus is declined in a very peculiar way in Latin, and no other word seems to follow similar declensions. Why is this so? Is there a way to put this broader declension in context to make some ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why do so many names end with -us?

This is probably a simple question, but why do so many ancient Roman names (both first and last) end in "-us"? For example: Marcus Aurelius, Josephus Flavius, Julius, Maximus, Hadrianus, ...
Lo ani's user avatar
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2 answers
1k views

Do plural names referring to a singular thing require a plural verb?

Another question related to my geography of the Roman Empire which I am writing has arisen: during the time of Trajan, 117 AD, there were several provinces which had names in the plural, especially ...
Ethan Bierlein's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

What declension is the name, Aeneas?

How would you decline this noun? It can not be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd declension. Also, how would you say "of Aeneas", which is genitive case?
Lucy A.'s user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there a John or Jane Doe in Latin?

In English, John Doe or Jane Doe is understood not to be an actual name of a person, but to be some kind of a placeholder name or mean an average citizen. There are many variants of this name in ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the Latin name for the Romani people?

The Romani (aka Gypsies, though some consider that a slur) are nomadic people who dispersed across Europe about a thousand years ago. In other languages they have exonyms like tzigane, gitan, and ...
Draconis's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
354 views

How would a servus publicus be named - using the nominative or the genitive?

I was reading this encyclopedia entry on Roman naming, and it discusses the naming of Roman slaves. Originally, slave's name was the name of his master + "puer". During the age of the Roman Republic, ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
3k views

General principles for translating non-Latin names into Latin

I am engaged in several translation projects on the side which often involve translating names that do not have a Roman equivalent. Certain names obviously come from or have obvious equivalents in ...
brianpck's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
14k views

What is the difference between Iesus and Jesu?

In the Latin version of the Gloria, the name Jesus is rendered as "Domine Fili unigenite Jesu Christe". However, in the Latin Vulgate, the name of Jesus is rendered as "Iesus". What is the name of ...
This Guy 's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
5k views

The many forms of William?

In my genealogical research in England I have come across many different spellings of the name William in Latin documents: Gulielmus, Guglielmus, Wilhelmus, Willelmus, to name just a few. I know that ...
Harry Vervet's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
224 views

Female Names and Heritable *Cognomina*

Suppose I want to speak of the daughter of a man with a heritable cognomen. Let us take Marcus Tullius Cicero as an example. If I want to clarify that the Tullia I am speaking of is his daughter (or ...
C Monsour's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
5k views

Mother Earth in Latin - Personification

I'm looking for a Latin equivalent to the personification 'Mother Earth'. Does Matris Orbis or Mater Terram do the job? Do they translate in the same way?
DVCITIS's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
581 views

What is the etymology and origin of the name of Dido's sister Anna?

Dido's sister and confidante Anna has a name that I believe to be unusual in Latin. Where did this name come from? Is it perhaps Semitic and related to Hebrew Hannah and the derived name Anna? The ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
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Why is Descartes Latinised as Cartesius?

The famous French philosopher Rene Descartes is Latinised as Renatus Cartesius. Those unfamiliar with this, or with his thought in general, might then not realise that some words are derived from his ...
luchonacho's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is there a plural of Jesus in Latin?

The name Iesus has peculiar declension in Latin. The declension of this word in every source that I have seen only gives singular forms. However, I can imagine situations where a plural is needed: a ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Hypocorism/diminutive name forms in Roman antiquity/Latin?

I'd originally asked this on SE:H, but it was suggested that here would be more appropriate. Triggered by recently reading about the history of English names with Anglo-Saxon roots and the ...
user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
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Confusion re the naming of Roman freedman

I asked this on the HistorySE site, without much luck, so thought I'd try here. If it's inappropriate for this forum, please let me know and I'll delete it. I have just been reading this which is ...
TheHonRose's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
876 views

Is "Io" accusative case in "Iuppiter, rex deorum, pulchram Io amabat"?

In The Adventures of Io, a story found in Thirty-eight Latin Stories, Designed to Accompany Wheelock's Latin, the first sentence of the story is as follows: Iuppiter, rēx deōrum, pulchram Iō amābat, ...
Adam's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

What did the Greeks and Romans call their pets?

I know that some Greeks and Romans kept pet canēs, cattī, and even dracōnēs. My question now is: what did they name them? In other words, do we have attestations of how the ancients named their pets? ...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
3k views

The Names Amadeus, Amadeo, Amadei

Beloved Wikipedia says: Amadeus is a theophoric given name derived from the Latin words ama – the imperative of the word amare (to love) – and deus (god). As a linguistic compound in the form of a ...
Johan88's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
699 views

Which is the logic behind "Aloysius" Latinisation?

Wikipedia states that Aloysius is: ... a Latinisation of the names Louis, Lewis, Luis, Luigi, Ludwig, and other cognate names (traditionally in Medieval Latin as Ludovicus or Chlodovechus), ...
luchonacho's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
500 views

Etymology of Nausicaa?

There was an interesting question on Lit regarding a proposed meaning of Nausicaa as "burner of ships". Although I don't have an issue with the ναῦς/κάω hypothesis, I suspect κάω is more likely used ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
  • 1,102
9 votes
2 answers
266 views

Is *Numidius* an Ancient Roman name?

Is Numidius an Ancient Roman name (probably a nomen gentilis) or is it spurious and caused by corruption of other names? What I have found so far: The name Ummidius (that is clearly and unmistakably ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
919 views

Where did the name Ulixes come from?

He's Odysseus in Homer, but how did he become Ulixes/Ulysses when he arrived (so to speak) in Rome, where there were many people who knew him from the Iliad and the Odyssey? And was there a separate ...
Tom Cotton's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
680 views

Which name came first, Lucius or Λουκᾶς?

The etymology of the name Luke is commonly said to be the Latin name Lucas, itself from Lucius, from the praenomen Lucius, from the root Lux (gen. Lucis). [A separate etymology says Λουκᾶς/Λουκανός, ...
Johan88's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
259 views

Hexametric Greek names

A number of Greek names encountered in hexameter follow the syllable length pattern -vv-; consider for example Penelope, Telemachos, Calliope, Terpsichore. The pattern -v-- is absent as the metric ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
451 views

How did the Romans latinize foreign names (personal, place names)?

I am looking for references to linguistic work on latinization of foreign names by the Romans from the earliest days to the early centuries AD. As this is perhaps quite a wide topic, some field review ...
kkm mistrusts SE's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
590 views

Does an irregular word decline regularly if it is used as a proper name?

Does an irregular word decline regularly if it is used as a proper name? For example, imagine there is a dog name Rex (=King). We might have: Vide Regem currentem. See Rex run. However, since Rex is ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Both 'masculus' and 'vir' mean man/male: what's the difference?

In Latin, masculus means male. Noun masculus m (genitive masculī); second declension a male (of humans or other animals) In Latin, vir also means male. Noun vir m (genitive virī); second ...
user14417's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
514 views

In what contexts, exactly, did Augustus use the name Octavianus?

Wikipedia says Caesar Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus, making his nomen Octavius and that nomen would have held sway prior to his ascension to emperor. Screenwriters, though, seem always to ...
Robusto's user avatar
  • 263
8 votes
1 answer
613 views

Are there gender-neutral names in Latin?

Latin has some "epicene nouns", like canis "dog", which can be either masculine or feminine: a good dog could be either a canis bonus or a canis bona, depending on the dog in question. Are there any ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
7 votes
3 answers
548 views

Names of main Tintin characters in Latin?

The website Tintinologist.org gives the following suggestions but it is not complete for the Latin language. What would be some good Latin names for the various Tintin characters ? Other characters ...
MOLAP's user avatar
  • 527
7 votes
2 answers
6k views

What is the meaning of Satanas?

Satanas is a name I have encountered on several occasions, such as when hearing of a lost silent movie of this name by F. W. Murnau. What is the meaning of the as ending in Satanas?
Abdul Al Hazred's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
455 views

Inflections of Ζεύς

Διώνη is the name of a Titaness, a nymph, and Phoenician goddess. And according to the Wikipedia article on said Titaness, it's derived from the feminine form of the genitive of Ζεύς. And according to ...
MarqFJA87's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
228 views

Do barbarians have nomina?

The word nomen means, literally, "name". But it also refers to the most important part of a Roman citizen's name, the part indicating which gens they belong to. Barbarian names were frequently ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
7 votes
1 answer
145 views

Why does Parthenope refer to Naples?

Vergil's tomb bears the inscription: Mantua me genuit; Calabri rapuere; tenet nunc Parthenope; cecini Pascua, rura, duces. Why does "Parthenope" refer to Naples?
J. Nakaso's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
593 views

Is Ἀχιλλεύς actually from ἄχος and λαός?

As I mentioned in a previous question, I've been taught that ancient authors associated the name Ἀχιλλεύς (and its many variations) with ἄχος ("pain") and λαός ("people"). After ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
4k views

Latinisation of a surname. Seeking advice from expert Latinists

I have a need to Latinise a surname (details about that name are provided further down in my question) rather urgently, but with my miniscule knowledge of Latin I cannot do that myself well. I hope ...
Alex's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why didn't Byzantine emperors after Justinian II have a Latin name?

Justinian II had the Latin name Flavius Iustinianus Augustus and was the last Byzantine emperor from the Heraclian Dynasty, but his successor Philippikos Bardanes did not have a Latin name. Why didn't ...
BJ Dela Cruz's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
529 views

Is there a canonical list of Latinized names?

I'm not only talking about names that existed during the classical period, but also the standard Latinization of modern European names; for example hugo, hugonis is the standard medieval Latin ...
Brennan Vincent's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
956 views

What was Sappho's name?

I've seen the name of the famous Aeolian poet written as both "Ψαπφω" and "Σαπφω". The latter seems universal in Attic, and hence she's known as "Sappho" in English. Which of these names is "more ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
7 votes
0 answers
126 views

An adjective for Seneca

A particular passage in Cicero's works is a locus Ciceronianus, a work written in the style of Vergil is an opus Vergilianum etc. But which adjective should I use for Seneca? There exists apparently ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
5k views

How do I say Disney World in Latin?

How do I say Disney World in Latin? I googled it but I’m still not sure. Disney Mundi? Disney Mundum?
suamae's user avatar
  • 77
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

A personal name ending in -ua: is it male or female?

We have the name of a Romano-British Potter from the 2nd century A.D. whose name is SECVNDVA. Is this a male or a female name?
Peter Robinson's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
619 views

Latin transliteration of Ιησούς

Can someone please show me how the Latin Iesus came from Iesous? It sounds like a shorter form of it. Is it just because certain sounds from the Greek wasn't in Latin?
diego b's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
2 answers
328 views

Dioscuri and Discord

I'm trying to explore if there is any plausible connection between these words. I find them to be somewhat similar in English, where one might carelessly drop the initial "o". I believe there is ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
  • 1,102
6 votes
2 answers
787 views

Male personal names ending in -um

A number of personal names in the works of Plautus end in -um in the nominative singular, which struck me as odd when I first encountered them, since nominative singular -um is characteristically ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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