What's in a (Roman) Name?
A Roman man typically had three parts to his name:
- Praenomen - the personal name
- Nomen - the name of his gens, or tribe
- Cognomen - the family name
Some privileged Romans had an Agnomen, a fourth or even a fifth name.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Marcus (praenomen) Tullius (nomen - Tullius tribe) Cicero (cognomen - Cicero family)
Gaius Julius Caesar
Gaius (praenomen) Julius (nomen - Julius tribe) Caesar (cognomen - Caesar family)
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus
Publius (praenomen) Cornelius(nomen - Cornelius tribe) Scipio (cognomen - Scipio family) Africanus (agnomen - given for his military success in Africa) Aemilianus(another agnomen - adopted from the Aemilian tribe)
What's in Your Name?
My Roman Name Generator calculates the praenomen from your first name, the nomen from your last name, and the cognomen as a combination of both. If you want an agnomen, you'll have to do something noteworthy, like defeating Hannibal.
Please note that it is NOT a direct Latinization of your name (mea culpa), but it is NOT random. My name generator calculates the number values in each letter of your name to mathematically arrive at your unique Roman name. Try switching between your full name and your nickname (if you have one). Your praenomen and cognomen will change, but your nomen will stay the same.
I apologize if you didn't get Julius Caesar or Mark Antony - but you already knew those names. Besides, these are more fun!
One type of name not addressed here, but often seen on inscriptions is the name of the voting tribe - a territorial designation used in earlier Rome for voting. The number of tribes grew to approximately 35. The tribes lessened in importance as the empire effectively eliminated the practice of voting.