Confusion re the naming of Roman freedman

How were Roman slaves named?

In Rome, slaves were given a single name by their owner. A slave who was freed might keep his or her slave name and adopt the former owner’s name as a praenomen and nomen. As an example, one historian says that “a man named Publius Larcius freed a male slave named Nicia, who was then called Publius Larcius Nicia.”

How many names did Roman slaves have?

one name

Slaves only had one name, as at law they were property and so could have no family of their own.

How do you make a Roman name?


Quote from video: So first you want to take a Roman name so I mean you want take your first name and add a Roman ending either us or I us whichever sounds better I'm gonna take the name John and I like names audience.

What were freed slaves called in Rome?

It was usual for a slave to have only one name, e.g. Felix or Melissa. If a male slave was given his freedom, he became a libertus (freedman), while a female slave became a liberta (freedwoman). Freed slaves were allowed to become Roman citizens, wear the toga (if they were men), and take on new citizen-style names.

How did freed slaves get last names?

If their parents were married, they would take their father’s surname. When enslaved folks were sold or bequeathed through the enslaver’s family, they would, in most cases, only know their mother’s last name. But some would choose a new surname entirely. “That’s something you have control over,” Berry said.

How did Roman naming work?

Roman Names



At least two names were necessary for Roman men, the praenomen (first name, given name) and nomen (principal name, gens name). The nomen usually ended in -ius. Many had a third name, the cognomen (additional name, nickname; often denoted a branch of a family).

Why do Romans have 3 names?

Some Romans had more than one cognomen, and in aristocratic families it was not unheard of for individuals to have as many as three, of which some might be hereditary and some personal. These surnames were initially characteristic of patrician families, but over time cognomina were also acquired by the plebeians.