Personal Names in the Roman World - Interesting Reading  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database in


Personal Names in the Roman World
By Clive Cheesman

Available from The Book Depository 

Product Description

The Romans were unusual in the ancient world for having many names. A male Roman citizen would probably have three names and may well have had many more. Some of the names were received at birth, some inherited, some assumed by way of adoption or patronage. Greek writers record their bewilderment at this complex system and even the Romans themselves debated its origin.

This book ' the first synthetic treatment of Roman naming practices in English, and the first in any language for more than half a century ' builds on recent scholarship to trace the story of Roman names from the earliest recorded examples down to the end of the Western empire in the fifth century AD. The author places the evidence in its social, cultural and linguistic context, and where appropriate draws on comparative material from other eras and regions. He looks closely at the names of women, non-citizen inhabitants of the Empire and slaves, and concludes that for all their apparent oddity, Roman naming practices fit ancient models. They were governed and replicated not by law, as has been suggested, but by conservatism and a spirit of emulation. With the spread of empire and the incorporation of other cultures into the citizen body, the practices evolved beyond recognition, leaving behind the beginnings of medieval naming systems.

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Latin Names - Parish Records  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database in , , ,

"Santa Maria della Neve" - 1760
 Sometimes tracing your family back requires you to look at Parish records - especially if the town you are researching was not microfilmed by the LDS or if you are researching the period prior to the Unification of Italy.  Prior to the Unification, Civil Registration was not required so often the only records available are these.  The problem with these records is that not only are they harder to access but the information contained in them is often written in Latin.

This was because dialects were mostly spoken in the towns and the Italian language as we know it did not really exist.  In spite of this,  we noticed that often Latin names also had minor variations in spelling from Church to Church.  Some names are easier to recognize than others such as IJosephina -Josephine and Philippus-Philip. 

The image on the left is taken from the Cosenza Exchange and the record is copied from Santa Maria della Neve from the frazione of Santa Maria La Castagna in Montalto Uffugo.

 More interesting Latin Surname sites:

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