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 common use:

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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