Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Well, We're Not in Rome, But...

Many sorts of traditional males name types are "being overtaken" by girls. I'm not really sure that's true, but it can sure seem that way at times, I imagine.
However, although you can probably think of several occupational names, patronymics, or Biblical boys' names that have been used by girls, I'm betting that you can't think of any Roman names that have been, and yes, there are quite a few still used in English today--Julius, Titus, Felix, Marcus, Lucius--and several more that closely resemble their ancient ancestors.
Whether they've never made the gender-jump is due to the "gladiator" feel, or because in Latin a name's gender was pretty easy to swap (Julia, Tita, Felicia, Marcia, Lucia), I'm not sure, but I lean towards the former. Feminine Roman names have, of course, been a staple of Italian naming for centuries, and are starting to really catch on in the U.S. today as well.

Now, the names ancient Romans were actually called fell into two categories: the praenomen (given name), and/or the cognomen (nickname). There was also the nomen (clan name). Praenomens were the official given names, and often related to birth order (nothing like being known as 'Fifth') or a god important to the family. Later, when the Roman Empire turned largely Christian, virtue-names began to be used as well. Cognomens were originally nicknames, and thus related to physical characteristics, personality, or place of birth.
Only rarely did girls have praenomen or cognomen on their own (it was more common in earlier times). Usually they were just known by the feminine form of their father's name.

You'll note that most names are simply '_____us', but some are '_____ianus'. The '-ian-' (or sometimes just '-in-') makes it an adjective; while Lucius means "light", Lucianus means "like/from Lucius" or "like/from the light".

And I'm just going to list masculine names, since making them feminine is ridiculously regular: just change the '-us' to '-a' or '-ia'. Where the feminine forms differ from expected, I've noted. Obviously in some cases, the masculine form is more usable; in others the feminine is.
A few masculine names did end in '-a'; they've often been considered unisex historically.

  • Aelius (EYE-lee-us)--"sun"
    • Aelianus (eye-lee-AHN-us) [modern feminine form: Eliana/Éliane]
  • Aemilius (eye-MEE-lee-us)--"competitor" [modern forms: Emil/EmilioEmilia/Emily]
    • Aemilianus (eye-mee-lee-AHN-us)
  • Aetius (EYE-tee-us)--"eagle"
  • Albus (AL-bus)--"white"
    • Albinus (al-BEEN-us)
  • Amabilis (ah-mah-BEE-lis)--"lovable" [modern feminine form: Mabel]
  • Amadeus (ah-mah-DEH-us)--"love of God"
  • Amandus (ah-MAHN-dus)--"worthy of love"
  • Amatus (ah-MAH-tus)--"loved"
  • Antonius (an-TOH-nee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Appius (AP-pee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Aquila (ah-KWIL-ah)--"eagle"
    • Aquilinus (ah-kwil-EEN-us)
  • Augustus (aw-GUS-tus)--"venerable"
    • Augustinus (aw-gus-TEEN-us)
  • Aurelius (aw-REH-lee-us, aw-REE-lee-us)--"golden"
    • Aurelianus (aw-reh-lee-AHN-us, aw-ree-lee-AHN-us)
  • Beatus (beh-AH-tus)--"blessed"
  • Caelius (KYE-lee-us, SYE-lee-us)--"heaven" [modern feminine form: Celia]
    • Caelinus (kye-LEE-nus, sye-LEE-nus)
  • Caietanus (kye-eh-TAHN-us)--"from Caeita/Gaeta" [modern form: Gaetano, Gaetana]
  • Caius (KYE-us)--meaning unknown
  • Callistus (kal-LIS-tus)--"most beautiful"
  • Camillus (kam-IL-lus)--meaning unknown
  • Cassius (KAS-see-us, KASH-us)--"proud"
    • Cassianus (kas-see-AHN-us)
  • Clarus (KLAR-us)--"bright, clear"
  • Claudius (CLAW-dee-us)--"lame"
  • Clemens (KLEM-ens)--"merciful". Feminine is Clementia [modern feminine form: Clementine]
  • Cloelius (kloh-EL-ee-us)--meaning unknown [modern feminine form: Clelia]
  • Columba (kol-UM-bah)--"dove" [modern form: Callum/Colm]
  • Cornelius (korn-NEE-lee-us, korn-NEH-lee-us)--"antler, horn" [figuratively, "strength"]
  • Cyprianus (sip-ree-AHN-us)--"from Cyprus"
  • Dionysius (dee-oh-NEE-see-us)--from the Greek god Dionysos [modern form: DennisDenise]
  • Donatus (don-AH-tus)--"given"
  • Drusus (DROO-sus)--meaning uncertain, poss. "strength". Feminine is Drusa or Drusilla.
  • Duilius (doo-EE-lee-us)--"war"
  • Eligius (el-EE-jee-us)--"chosen"
  • Fabius (FAH-bee-us)--"bean"
    • Fabianus (fah-bee-AHN-us)
  • Fabricius (fah-BREE-see-us)--"craftsman"
  • Faustus (FAWS-tus)--"auspicious"
    • Faustinus (faws-TEE-nus)
  • Felinus (fel-EE-nus)--"cat-like"
  • Felix (FEE-liks, FEH-liks)--"lucky". Feminine is Felicia.
    • Felicianus (feh-lee-see-AHN-us)
  • Flavius (FLAH-vee-us)--"yellow"
  • Florus (FLOHR-us)--"flower"
    • Florianus (flohr-ee-AHN-us)
  • Gratianus (grah-tee-AHN-us, gray-shee-AHN-us)--"from grace"
  • Honorius (on-OHR-ee-us)--"honor"
  • Horatius (hohr-AY-shus, hohr-AH-tee-us)--meaning uncertain, poss. "season, time", or from Egyptian god Horus.
  • Julius (JOO-lee-us)--"downy-bearded" [figuratively, "young"]
    • Julianus (joo-lee-AHN-us)
  • Junius (JOO-nee-us)--from the goddess Juno
  • Justus (JUS-tus)--"just"
    • Justinus (jus-TEE-nus)
  • Laelius (LYE-lee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Laurus (LAWR-us)--"laurel"
  • Livius (LIV-ee-us)--"envy"
    • Livianus (liv-ee-AHN-us)
  • Lucius (LOO-see-us, LOO-shus)--"light"
    • Lucianus (loo-see-AHN-us)
  • Magnus (MAG-nus)--"great"
  • Marcus (MAR-kus)--from the god Mars
  • Marius (MAR-ee-us)--also from the god Mars
    • Marianus (mar-ee-AHN-us)
  • Maximus (MAKS-ih-mus)--"greatest"
  • Nonus (NOH-nus)--"ninth"
  • Octavius (oc-TAH-vee-us, oc-TAY-vee-us)--"eighth"
  • Ovidius (oh-VEE-dee-us)--"sheep"
  • Paulus (PAWL-us)--"humble"
    • Paulinus (pawl-EE-nus)
  • Pontius (PAHN-shus, PAHN-tee-us)--meaning uncertain, poss. "sea" or "bridge"
  • Porcius (POHR-see-us, POHR-shus)--"pig" [modern feminine form: Portia]
  • Primus (PREE-mus)--"first"
  • Priscus (PRIS-kus)--"ancient". Feminine is Prisca or Priscilla
  • Quintus (KWIN-tus)--"fifth"
    • Quintinus (kwin-TEE-nus)
  • Quirinus (KWEER-in-us)--"spear" [modern form: Quirin/Corin]
  • Renatus (ren-AH-tus)--"born again" [modern forms: René, Renée/Renata]
  • Rufus (ROO-fus)--"red-haired"
    • Rufinus (roo-FEE-nus)
  • Sabinus (sah-BEEN-us)--"from Sabine"
  • Scaevola (sye-VOH-lah)--"left-handed"
  • Seneca (SEN-ek-ah)--"old" [unrelated to the Native American tribe name Seneca]
  • Sidonius (sid-OH-nee-us)--"from Sidon"
  • Silvius (SIL-vee-us)--"forest"
    • Silvanus (sil-VAH-nus) [modern form: Silas/Sylvain]
  • Tatius (TAH-tee-us)--meaning unknown
    • Tatianus (tah-tee-AHN-us)
  • Titus (TYE-tus, TEE-tus)--"honorable"
    • Titianus (tee-tee-AHN-us) [modern feminine form: Tiziana]
  • Tullius (TOO-lee-us)--meaning unknown
  • Ursus (UR-sus)--"bear"
    • Ursinus (ur-SEE-nus)
  • Valerius (val-EHR-ee-us)--"strong, healthy"
    • Valerianus (val-ehr-ee-AHN-us)
  • Velius (VEH-lee-us)--"concealed"
  • Viator (VEE-ah-tor)--"traveller". Feminine is Viatrix [modern feminine form: Beatrix]
  • Vinicius (vin-EE-see-us)--"wine"
  • Vitus (VYE-tus, VEE-tus)--"life"

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