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docoflove1974

Development of the Maternal Cognomen

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He did - there was also a slew of new citizens called Antoninius from the same thing. However (as I understand it) by then Roman naming conventions had become flexible enough to allow some variations. Ever since Vespasian - the earliest I can find - adding parts of a distinguished female line also became acceptable. Vespasian was properly Flavius, but he added his mother's line of Vespasia, which is why he is Flavius Vespasianus in the sources. At least that's how I remember it, but will be happy to be corrected!

 

Certainly sounds right! As you said, Roman naming conventions had become quite flexible by that time, as evidenced by the fact that Roman women were acquiring names of more variety, adopting their own distinctive, feminine cognomina.

 

-- Nephele

 

This might be too off-topic to keep in here, and perhaps should be split off...I'll let the mods take care of that. But...

 

Why was this acceptable at the time of Vespasian? Were women given more rights in society, and therefore adding the feminine-line to the name was acceptable? Or was it simply to be more distinguished?

 

It would seem to me that if it became acceptable to put the feminine-line to the name, then matrons of the family (not necessarily matriarchs) started to weild more influence and/or power. It's a big step in such a patriarchal world. I know that, as a whole, (patrician) women in Rome had more power and rights (for lack of better terms) than the (elite) women of ancient Greece, but they still weren't exactly 'liberated' in the modern sense.

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Why was this acceptable at the time of Vespasian? Were women given more rights in society, and therefore adding the feminine-line to the name was acceptable? Or was it simply to be more distinguished?

 

It would seem to me that if it became acceptable to put the feminine-line to the name, then matrons of the family (not necessarily matriarchs) started to weild more influence and/or power. It's a big step in such a patriarchal world. I know that, as a whole, (patrician) women in Rome had more power and rights (for lack of better terms) than the (elite) women of ancient Greece, but they still weren't exactly 'liberated' in the modern sense.

 

You're right, Roman women never became "liberated" in the modern sense, although they did achieve greater social recognition as time progressed -- particularly among the upper classes, and it was the imperial family which often set the trends of their day.

 

But a more likely reason for Roman men to receive a cognomen fashioned from their maternal line (especially if their maternal line presented advantageous status) was due to the fact that the praenomen was going into disuse and being replaced by the cognomen as the distinguishing name. In fact, both Vespasian and his elder brother, Sabinus, had been given the same praenomen of "Titus" -- and Vespasian in turn named both of his own sons "Titus" -- showing that the praenomen was not the distinguishing name for sons within this family.

 

While Vespasian's elder brother Titus received their father's cognomen of "Sabinus," Vespasian (the younger Titus) was called "Vespasianus" (after their mother, Vespasia). Then, when Vespasian had sons of his own, his own elder Titus received the father's cognomen, but the younger Titus (Domitian) was named for their mother (Vespasian's wife, Domitilla).

 

-- Nephele

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Assuming that this thread will be split off, and thus not being :furious: , in the ancient world weren't Roman women the most liberated of all?

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But a more likely reason for Roman men to receive a cognomen fashioned from their maternal line (especially if their maternal line presented advantageous status) was due to the fact that the praenomen was going into disuse and being replaced by the cognomen as the distinguishing name. In fact, both Vespasian and his elder brother, Sabinus, had been given the same praenomen of "Titus" -- and Vespasian in turn named both of his own sons "Titus" -- showing that the praenomen was not the distinguishing name for sons within this family.

 

While Vespasian's elder brother Titus received their father's cognomen of "Sabinus," Vespasian (the younger Titus) was called "Vespasianus" (after their mother, Vespasia). Then, when Vespasian had sons of his own, his own elder Titus received the father's cognomen, but the younger Titus (Domitian) was named for their mother (Vespasian's wife, Domitilla).

 

-- Nephele

 

So it really came down to distinguishing names...makes sense. Do we know if this practice--both the disuse of the praenomen and the increased used of the maternal line--was pervasive in Roman society, both patrician and plebeian? Or only in the upper upper crust?

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So it really came down to distinguishing names...makes sense. Do we know if this practice--both the disuse of the praenomen and the increased used of the maternal line--was pervasive in Roman society, both patrician and plebeian? Or only in the upper upper crust?

 

Dr. Benet Salway, senior lecturer on later Roman history at University College London, put together a survey of Roman onomastic practice spanning over a thousand years of Roman history. In his article he indicated that the "fossilization" (his term) of the praenomen was indeed pervasive in Roman society. While some traditionalist families held out, Salway maintains that the significance of the praenomen was in "rapid decline" from the middle of the second century CE onwards. Prior to this (around the end of the first century BCE), some noble families attempted to revive the use of the praenomen by making use of rare and archaic praenomina, or by using cognomina for the purpose of the forename. But, as Salway states, this had little to no impact on popular practice, as the praenomen continued to fall into disuse.

 

The use of maternal cognomina depended mostly on the mother's wealth and ancestry -- particularly if the family wished to make apparent their connection to the Imperial family. It wasn't so much a matter of the liberation of Roman women being indicated by the use of women's names for their sons, as it was the interest of the family in establishing aristocratic credentials. So it would appear that perhaps the members of the upper crust were most likely to make use of maternal cognomina.

 

-- Nephele

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The use of maternal cognomina depended mostly on the mother's wealth and ancestry -- particularly if the family wished to make apparent their connection to the Imperial family. It wasn't so much a matter of the liberation of Roman women being indicated by the use of women's names for their sons, as it was the interest of the family in establishing aristocratic credentials. So it would appear that perhaps the members of the upper crust were most likely to make use of maternal cognomina.

 

So, following that logic, if you were the child (or just son?) of the main wife, the one with money and familial power, chances are you were 'eligible' to have the maternal cognomina. But if you were the child/son of a lesser wife, then no dice. Right?

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So, following that logic, if you were the child (or just son?) of the main wife, the one with money and familial power, chances are you were 'eligible' to have the maternal cognomina. But if you were the child/son of a lesser wife, then no dice. Right?

 

It didn't always work that way, although I believe that those with mothers from connected families might be more likely to receive maternal cognomina (which were really more to honor the maternal grandfather than the child's mother). But the practice wasn't exclusive to these cases. And, in the case of Vespasian (mentioned earlier), the maternal cognomen was given to the second-born son each time.

 

Sometimes an additional maternal cognomen might be used to distinguish two sons with the same father and different mothers. As in the case of Marcus Porcius Cato Salonianus, half-brother to Marcus Porcius Cato Licinianus. Both men had the same father -- Cato the Elder -- but Salonianus was the son of Cato's second wife, Salonia, while Licinianus was the son of Cato's first wife, Licinia. Salonia was by no means from an illustrious familiy, having been Cato's freedwoman. But her name was conferred upon the son she had by Cato, to distinguish this son from Cato's other son by Licinia, both sons having the same praenomen, nomen gentilicium, and cognomen (all inherited from their illustrious father).

 

-- Nephele

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I can't find any logic in naming a person (a nobilis) in the middle empire .

 

let us see the case of the Arii Antonini (not the familiy of Antoninus pius')

 

The founder of the family was Caius Arrius Antoninus (cos suff c 170), he married a Calpurnia Quadratilla .

The couple had 3 childrens - 1 - Caius Arrius Antoninus (not a problem)

2 - Caius Arrius Quadratus (why another Caius ? Quadratus from the mother ?)

3 - Caius Arrius pacatus (why Pacatus ?)

 

No. 1 had 3 childrens - 4 - Caius Arrius Antoninus (not a problem)

5 - ...Arrius Maximus (Maximus for what ?)

6 - ...Arrius pacatus (another Pacatus and for what ?)

 

No. 3 married an Antonia Saturnina and had one son, 7 - Caius Arrius Calpurnius Frontinus Honoratus (two nomens, Calpurnius from the grandmother ? why ? Frontinus honoratus ?????)

 

No. 7 married an Oscia Modesta or a Cornelia Valeria (two nomens ?) and had two childrens - an Arria (no problem) and 8 - Caius Arrius Calpurnius Longinus the Patrician (again, two nomens, Longinus stands for what ?)

 

The Arria (above) married Marcus Flavius and had a son 9 - Marcus Flavius Arrius Oscius Honoratus !!!!! (Flavius for the father, Arrius for the mother, why ? Oscius for the grandmother?? and Honoratus for the grandfather ?)

 

What is the rule here ?

Edited by Caesar CXXXVII

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Nice genealogical tracing, Caesar.

 

I can't find any logic in naming a person (a nobilis) in the middle empire .

 

let us see the case of the Arii Antonini (not the familiy of Antoninus pius')

 

The founder of the family was Caius Arrius Antoninus (cos suff c 170), he married a Calpurnia Quadratilla .

The couple had 3 childrens - 1 - Caius Arrius Antoninus (not a problem)

2 - Caius Arrius Quadratus (why another Caius ? Quadratus from the mother ?)

 

By the time of the Empire, praenomina were falling into disuse, and it wasn't unknown for brothers to have the same praenomen. Compare with the case of the emperor Vespasianus, a Titus who named both his sons "Titus." (As mentioned above in this thread.) Additionally, a cognomen could be derived from one's mother, and a precedent for this had already been set long before the time of the Empire. (Again, for the reasons mentioned above.)

 

3 - Caius Arrius pacatus (why Pacatus ?)

 

Not being familiar with this particular family, I can only guess that either the cognomen of "Pacatus" was given to this son to honor a relative bearing that name, or perhaps the son acquired or assumed the cognomen later in life, due to having a distinctively peaceful nature (which is what this cognomen signifies), as opposed to his brothers named Caius.

 

No. 1 had 3 childrens - 4 - Caius Arrius Antoninus (not a problem)

5 - ...Arrius Maximus (Maximus for what ?)

 

No. 3 married an Antonia Saturnina and had one son, 7 - Caius Arrius Calpurnius Frontinus Honoratus (two nomens, Calpurnius from the grandmother ? why ? Frontinus honoratus ?????)

 

In addition to the cognomen or agnomen of "Maximus" meaning greatest (as in military recognition), it might have been used to distinguish the eldest among his brothers. CIL IV 5355 cites Minimus used for a younger child, so Maximus might have been similarly used for an older child.

 

More likely, though, Maximus, along with the surnames Honoratus, Iustus, Magnus, and Verus, was given as an additional, distinguishing name. All of these surnames were common among both the senatorial nobility and the plebs ingenua.

 

No. 7 married an Oscia Modesta or a Cornelia Valeria (two nomens ?) and had two childrens - an Arria (no problem) and 8 - Caius Arrius Calpurnius Longinus the Patrician (again, two nomens, Longinus stands for what ?)

 

A notably tall person might be called "Longinus," if he hadn't already inherited the surname.

 

What is the rule here ?

 

The "rules" or the mos maiorum as regards naming were not followed as strictly by the time of the Empire, as had been done in the time of the Republic. But even in the time of the Republic, exceptions could be found.

 

EDIT.

 

No. 3 married an Antonia Saturnina and had one son, 7 - Caius Arrius Calpurnius Frontinus Honoratus (two nomens, Calpurnius from the grandmother ? why ?

 

Forgot to mention the thing about double nomina gentilicia. Again, this wasn't unprecedented. See discussion here regarding C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus. Do we know whether C. Arrius Calpurnius Fontinus Honoratus might have been adopted by his relative?

 

-- Nephele

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Salve, Amici.

He did - there was also a slew of new citizens called Antoninius from the same thing. However (as I understand it) by then Roman naming conventions had become flexible enough to allow some variations. Ever since Vespasian - the earliest I can find - adding parts of a distinguished female line also became acceptable. Vespasian was properly Flavius, but he added his mother's line of Vespasia, which is why he is Flavius Vespasianus in the sources. At least that's how I remember it, but will be happy to be corrected!

 

Certainly sounds right! As you said, Roman naming conventions had become quite flexible by that time, as evidenced by the fact that Roman women were acquiring names of more variety, adopting their own distinctive, feminine cognomina.

 

-- Nephele

 

This might be too off-topic to keep in here, and perhaps should be split off...I'll let the mods take care of that. But...

 

Why was this acceptable at the time of Vespasian? Were women given more rights in society, and therefore adding the feminine-line to the name was acceptable? Or was it simply to be more distinguished?

 

It would seem to me that if it became acceptable to put the feminine-line to the name, then matrons of the family (not necessarily matriarchs) started to weild more influence and/or power. It's a big step in such a patriarchal world. I know that, as a whole, (patrician) women in Rome had more power and rights (for lack of better terms) than the (elite) women of ancient Greece, but they still weren't exactly 'liberated' in the modern sense.

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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While Vespasian's elder brother Titus received their father's cognomen of "Sabinus," Vespasian (the younger Titus) was called "Vespasianus" (after their mother, Vespasia). Then, when Vespasian had sons of his own, his own elder Titus received the father's cognomen, but the younger Titus (Domitian) was named for their mother (Vespasian's wife, Domitilla).

 

-- Nephele

We agree.

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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Nice genealogical tracing, Caesar.

 

 

Do we know whether C. Arrius Calpurnius Fontinus Honoratus might have been adopted by his relative?

 

1. Thank you

2. PIR A1095 and C269 says that he was a biological son of Caius Arrius Pacatus and Antonia Saturnina (her father was a Lucius) . He became a Patrician by adlectio, maybe his "Honoratus" is connected with it ?

Edited by Caesar CXXXVII

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