Tiberius (praenomen)

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Tiberius ( /tˈbɪəriəs/ ty-BEER-ee-əs, Latin:  [tɪˈbɛɾɪ.ʊs] ) is a Latin praenomen , or personal name, which was used throughout Roman history. Although not especially common, it was used by both patrician and plebeian families. The feminine form is Tiberia. [1] The name is usually abbreviated Ti., but occasionally Tib. [2]

For most of Roman history, Tiberius was about the twelfth or thirteenth most common praenomen. It was not used by most families, but was favored by several, including the great patrician houses of the Aemilii, Claudii, and Sempronii. It was probably more widespread amongst the plebeians, and it became more common in imperial times. The name survived the collapse of Roman civil institutions in the 5th and 6th centuries, and continued to be used into modern times. [2] [3]

Origin and meaning of the name

The origin of Tiberius was obscure even in Roman times, although popular etymology sometimes connected it with the ancient city of Tibur. It was also associated with the sacred river, the Tiberis, on the border of Latium and Etruria. A legend recorded by Livy was that the river, originally known as the Albula in Latin and the Rumon in Etruscan, came to be called Tiberis (Latin) or Thebris (Etruscan) after Tiberinus, the king of Alba Longa, was drowned in its waters. Tiberinus was afterward regarded as the god of the river. Children named Tiberius may have been named after the river and its patron god. Chase suggested that the same root may have connected the city of Tibur, the Umbrian town of Tifernum, and the mountain and river in Samnium known as Tifernus. [4] [5]

The Etruscan cognate of Tiberius is Thefarie, and an alternative interpretation of the name's origin is that the Latin praenomen was borrowed from Etruscan, or from the Etruscan name of the river. However, if the river was known in Latium by its present name at the time the praenomen was established, then Tiberius would still be regarded as Latin, even if the river's name were based on an Etruscan root instead of a Latin one. In any case, Tiberius was used by families of Latin, Etruscan, and Oscan origin, and was thus already distributed throughout Italy at the earliest times. [2] [6]

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Tiber Major river in central Italy

The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 km (252 mi) through Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio, where it is joined by the River Aniene, to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Ostia and Fiumicino. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 km2 (6,709 sq mi). The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, which was founded on its eastern banks.

Tiberinus Silvius

Tiberinus was the ninth king of Alba Longa, according to the traditional history of Rome handed down by Titus Livius. He was the successor of Capetus, the eighth king of Alba Longa. The Alban kings claimed descent from Aeneas, a Trojan prince who brought a remnant of the Trojan populace to Italy following the sack of Troy, and settled in Latium. Alba was built by Ascanius, the son of Aeneas and Lavinia, and founder of the Alban royal line. The Alban kings, including Tiberinus, bore the cognomenSilvius, after the son of Ascanius, who was said to have been born in the woods.

The praenomen was a personal name chosen by the parents of a Roman child. It was first bestowed on the dies lustricus, the eighth day after the birth of a girl, or the ninth day after the birth of a boy. The praenomen would then be formally conferred a second time when girls married, or when boys assumed the toga virilis upon reaching manhood. Although it was the oldest of the tria nomina commonly used in Roman naming conventions, by the late republic, most praenomina were so common that most people were called by their praenomina only by family or close friends. For this reason, although they continued to be used, praenomina gradually disappeared from public records during imperial times. Although both men and women received praenomina, women's praenomina were frequently ignored, and they were gradually abandoned by many Roman families, though they continued to be used in some families and in the countryside.

In ancient Rome, a gens was a family consisting of individuals who shared the same nomen and who claimed descent from a common ancestor. A branch of a gens was called a stirps. The gens was an important social structure at Rome and throughout Italia during the period of the Roman Republic. Much of individuals' social standing depended on the gens to which they belonged. Certain gentes were classified as patrician, others as plebeian; some had both patrician and plebeian branches. The importance of membership in a gens declined considerably in imperial times, although the gentilicium continued to be used and defined the origins and dynasties of Roman emperors.

Aulus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was common throughout Roman history from the earliest times to the end of the Western Empire in the fifth century. The feminine form is Aula. An alternative pronunciation leads to the variant spellings Olus or Ollus and Olla. Aulus was widely used by both patrician and plebeian gentes. The name gave rise to the patronymic gens Aulia, and perhaps also to gens Avilia and the cognomen Avitus. The name was usually abbreviated A., but occasionally Av. or Avl.

Caeso or Kaeso is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, usually abbreviated K. Although never a common name, Caeso was regularly used by a number of prominent families, both patrician and plebeian, during the period of the Roman Republic. The feminine form is Caesula. The name also gave rise to the patronymic gens Caesonia. Kaeso is the older spelling, dating from the period when the letter K was still frequently used before the vowel A in Latin, and before the letters C and G were differentiated.

Decimus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, usually abbreviated D. Although never especially common, Decimus was used throughout Roman history from the earliest times to the end of the Western Empire and beyond, surviving into modern times. The feminine form is Decima. The name also gave rise to the patronymic gens Decimia.

Gaius is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, and was one of the most common names throughout Roman history. The feminine form is Gaia. The praenomen was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and gave rise to the patronymic gens Gavia. The name was regularly abbreviated C., based on the original spelling, Caius, which dates from the period before the letters "C" and "G" were differentiated. Inverted, Ɔ. stood for the feminine, Gaia.

Gnaeus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was common throughout the period of the Roman Republic, and well into imperial times. The feminine form is Gnaea. The praenomen was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and gave rise to the patronymic gens Naevia. The name was regularly abbreviated Cn., based on the archaic spelling, Cnaeus, dating from the period before the letters "C" and "G" were differentiated.

Lucius is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was one of the most common names throughout Roman history. The feminine form is Lucia. The praenomen was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and gave rise to the patronymic gentes Lucia and Lucilia, as well as the cognomenLucullus. It was regularly abbreviated L.

Mamercus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was used in pre-Roman times and throughout the Roman Republic, falling out of usage in imperial times. The feminine form is Mamerca. The patronymic gens Mamercia was derived from this name, as were the cognominaMamercus and Mamercinus. The name was usually abbreviated Mam.

Marcus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was one of the most common names throughout Roman history. The feminine form is Marca or Marcia. The praenomen was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and gave rise to the patronymic gens Marcia, as well as the cognomen Marcellus. It was regularly abbreviated M.

Numerius (praenomen) Latin name

Numerius is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, usually abbreviated N. The name was never especially common, but was used throughout the period of the Roman Republic, and into imperial times. The feminine form is Numeria. The praenomen also gave rise to the patronymic gens Numeria.

Opiter is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was used primarily during the early centuries of the Roman Republic. It is not usually abbreviated, but is sometimes found with the abbreviation Opet., apparently based on an archaic spelling of the name. No examples of a feminine form used as a praenomen are known, but from a cognomen it appears to be Opita. The name gave rise to the patronymic gens Opiternia, and perhaps also gens Opetreia.

Paullus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, used throughout Roman history. The masculine form was not particularly common at Rome, but the feminine form, Paulla or Polla, is one of the most common praenomina. The name was later used as a cognomen in many families. It was not normally abbreviated, but is sometimes found with the abbreviation Paul.

Proculus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was most common during the early centuries of the Roman Republic. It gave rise to the patronymic gentes Proculeia and Procilia, and later became a common cognomen, or surname. The feminine form is Procula. The name was not regularly abbreviated.

Publius is a Latin praenomen, or personal name. It was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and was very common at all periods of Roman history. It gave rise to the patronymic gens Publilia, and perhaps also gens Publicia. The feminine form is Publia. The name was regularly abbreviated P.

Spurius is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was used primarily during the period of the Roman Republic, and which fell into disuse in imperial times. It was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and gave rise to the patronymic gens Spurilia. The feminine form is Spuria. The name was originally abbreviated S., as it was the most common praenomen beginning with that letter; but, as it grew less common, it was sometimes abbreviated Sp.

Titus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, and was one of the most common names throughout Roman history. It was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and gave rise to the patronymic gens Titia. The feminine form is Tita or Titia. It was regularly abbreviated T.

Vibius is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was occasionally used throughout the period of the Roman Republic and perhaps into imperial times. It gave rise to the patronymic gens Vibia. The feminine form is Vibia. As a praenomen, it was usually abbreviated V.

References

  1. Siekierka, Przemysław; Stebnicka, Krystyna; Wolicki, Aleksander (2021). Women and the Polis: Public Honorific Inscriptions for Women in the Greek Cities from the Late Classical to the Roman Period. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 403. ISBN   9783110644289.
  2. 1 2 3 Dictionary of Greek & Roman Biography & Mythology
  3. Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft
  4. George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII (1897)
  5. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita , book I
  6. Jacques Heurgon, Daily Life of the Etruscans (1964)