How did ancient Romans name their kids?

I've been watching HBO's Rome and I know they'd tend to give their kids the same name, but how would you differentiate between two kids of the same sex? Like, Atia's kids were Octavia and Octavian, but what if there were two girls or two boys?

2 Answers

  • 6 years ago

    The praenomen was a true personal name, chosen by a child's parents, and bestowed on the dies lustricius, or "day of lustration," a ritual purification performed on the eighth day after the birth of a girl, or the ninth day after the birth of a boy. Normally all of the children in a family would have different praenomina. Although there was no law restricting the use of specific praenomina*, the choice of the parents was usually governed by custom and family tradition. An eldest son was usually named after his father, and younger sons were named after their father's brothers or other male ancestors. In this way, the same praenomina were passed down in a family from one generation to the next. Not only did this serve to emphasize the continuity of a family across many generations, but the selection of praenomina also distinguished the customs of one gens from another. The patrician gentes in particular tended to limit the number of praenomina that they used far more than the plebeians, which was a way of reinforcing the exclusiveness of their social status.

    Source(s): * And in this case, children were distinguished by the addition of "the elder" or "the younger" in order to distinguish them from one another.
  • Mr. G
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Well, never think HBO shows are historically accurate.

    In the Roman world, ancestors were very important. Just from the family tombs, you get that keeping the family going and remembering your ancestors was very important. To do that they would keep the "family name" by naming their child after the founder of the family (or its most important member). Romans tended to like long names too, so it would a name could have been:

    Octavius Marcus Maximillius Cato.

    Now you state what if there were two boys with the same name. If the father had the same name as his son, they would have used a word to is similar to "junior" "the younger" "senior" or "the elder".

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