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Encyclopedia > Cognomen

The cognomen ("name known by" in English) was originally the third name of a Roman in the Roman naming convention. The term is also occasionally seen in modern times as an obscure synonym for nickname or epithet. City motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus – SPQR (The Senate and the People of Rome) Founded 21 April 753 BC mythical, 1st millennium BC Region Latium Mayor Walter Veltroni (Democratici di Sinistra) Area  - City Proper  1290 km² Population  - City (2004)  - Metropolitan  - Density (city proper) 2,546,807 almost 4,000,000 1... In the Roman naming convention used in ancient Rome, male names typically contain three proper nouns which are classified as praenomen (or given name), nomen gentile (or Gens name) and cognomen. ... Synonyms (in ancient Greek syn συν = plus and onoma όνομα = name) are different words with similar or identical meanings. ... A nickname is a short, clever, cute, derogatory, or otherwise substitute name for a person or things real name (for example, Nick is short for Nicholas). ... Linguistics An epithet (Greek epitheton) is a descriptive word or phrase, often metaphoric, that is essentially a reduced or condensed appositive. ...


Because of the limited nature of Roman names, the cognomen developed to distinguish branches of the family from one another, and occasionally, to highlight an individual's acheivement, typically in warfare. Some Romans - notably general Gaius Marius - had no cognomen at all. By the Late Roman Republic, however, the use of cognomen even in daily conversation had become typical. Gaius Marius (Latin: C·MARIVS·C·F·C·N) (157 - January 13, 86 BC) was a Roman general and politician who was mostly known for his reform of Roman armies. ...


In contrast to the honorary cognomen adopted by successful generals, most cognomen were based on a physical or personality quirk; for example, 'Rufus' meaning red-headed or 'Scaevola' meaning left-handed. In Roman mythology, Mucius (also Gaius Mucius Scaevola) was a hero who saved Rome from the Etruscans, led by Lars Porsena. ...


Today, we refer to many prominent ancient Romans by only their cognomen; for example, 'Cicero' serves as a shorthand for Marcus Tullius Cicero. Marcus Tullius Cicero (January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC) was an orator and statesman of Ancient Rome, and is generally considered the greatest Latin prose stylist. ...


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  Results from FactBites:
 
Cognomen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (181 words)
The cognomen ("name known by" in English) was originally the third name of a Roman in the Roman naming convention.
Because of the limited nature of Roman names, the cognomen developed to distinguish branches of the family from one another, and occasionally, to highlight an individual's achievement, typically in warfare.
In contrast to the honorary cognomen adopted by successful generals, most cognomen were based on a physical or personality quirk; for example, 'Rufus' meaning red-headed or 'Scaevola' meaning left-handed.
Roman naming convention - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1187 words)
The third name, or cognomen, began as a nickname or personal name that distinguished individuals within the same Gens (the cognomen does not appear in official documents until around 100 BC).
During the Roman Republic and Empire, the cognomen is inherited from father to son, serving to distinguish a family within a Gens.
Often the cognomen was chosen based on some physical or personality trait, sometimes with ironic intent: Julius Caesar's cognomen meant hairy, while he was balding, and Tacitus's cognomen meant silent, while he was a well-known orator.
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