The following is a quotation from:
Robert K. Sherk, editor and translator. Rome and the Greek East to the
Death of Augustus. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 4.
Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1984. (p. 154)
A Roman citizen's official name by the late Republic normally had five
parts, arranged in a particular order: praenomen, nomen, filiation, tribe,
and cognomen. . . . and there were not very many of these praenomina to
choose from. Among the Roman ruling class only the following were in
|A. = Aulus
||M. = Marcus
||Sex. = Sextus|
|Ap. = Appius
||M'. = Manius
||Sp. = Spurius|
|C. = Gaius
||Mam. = Mamercus
||T. = Titus|
|Cn. = Gnaeus
||P. = Publius
||Ti. = Tiberius|
|D. = Decimus
||Q. = Quintus
|L. = Lucius
||Ser. = Servius
This praenomen, regularly abbreviated in official documents, was followed
by the nomen, which was the clan name. The clan (gens) was a group of
families linked together by a common name and their belief in a common
ancestor. Since the clan formed the basis for the organization of
political life in the Republic, the nomen is perhaps the single most
important part of a Roman citizen's nomenclature.
After the nomen comes the filiation, always abbreviated in official
documents: f(ilius) = 'son' and sometimes n(epos) = 'grandson'. Thus: L.f.
(L.n.) = 'son of Lucius, (grandson of Lucius)'. In the case of a freedman,
the word lib(ertus) = 'freedman' was preceded by the praenomen of the
patron, who had freed him: e.g., C. lib. = 'freedman of Gaius'.
Since every Roman citizen had to belong to a tribe, the tribal affiliation
regularly became part of his official name, and stood at this point in it.
The fifth and last part of a Roman's normal official name was the
cognomen. Some Romans, in the period covered in this volume, never had
cognomina. Others, who did have them, did not include them in official
documents on a regular basis. Their inclusion in such documents does not
become common until the first century BC. . .
The full use of these names in the prescribed form was the hallmark of a
Roman citizen. Non-citizens who acquired the citizenship had to conform to
the official usage. . .
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