Latin derivative names & assumptive antecedent names

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Lusus Naturae

Senior Member
Cantonese
For instance, Flavius is from flavus, Claudius is from claudus; according to wikipedia and lsj.gr, Flavus and Claudus are also attested Roman names. Given that -ius is often indicative of derivation (e.g., Celsus is antecedent to Celsius), could one assume that Flavus is antecedent to Flavius, and Claudus antecedent to Claudius?

Another instance, Vivianus is from vivus; I haven't found any attestation of Vivus or Vivius. Could one assume that Vivus and Vivius existed and pre-existed Vivianus?
 
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  • Vivius is attested. I have found two instances in inscriptions.

    In Pompeii:
    Vivi
    Itale
    frunis ·
    carus·s·Ati
    atua
    A shift b>v is suggested by the publisher (that is from Vībius).

    In London, middle 2nd century:
    D(is) M(anibus)
    Vivio Marci-
    ano (centurioni) leg(ionis) II Aug(ustae), Ianuaria Martina coniunx
    pientissima posu-
    it memoriam
    Perhaps with the same b>v.

    Couldn't Vīviānus of the 2th century have v of the same origin (compare Vībiānus)?

    In southern Italy, inscriptions with u pro b start to appear in the 2nd century (deuere, guuernati).
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    These were simply the IE relative adjectives in *ye/o (patris fīlius > patrius fīlius; campus Mārtis > campus Mārtius) which, when formed to given names, originally functioned as patronymics (Numa Pompilius "Numa Pompilī fīlius") - and this use persisted in various other Italic languages, Celtic and in several areas of Greece. So for the archaic period and for old gentile names, you can assume that these come from an actual given name; but not during the Empire, when this became just a conventionalised name-building device. It's more straightforward to assume that any bodily trait could and did at some point serve as a name, the more noticeable the better (flāvus, rūfus, claudus, vārus, celsus, curtus, balbus).

    Concerning names in -ānus, these were normally assumed by freedmen, built to the name of their former master and still patron. The other and earlier use was as a cognomen associated with some famous place and event (Coriolānus "known for Coriolī").
     
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    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    (flāvus, rūfus, claudus, vārus, celsus, curtus, balbus).
    Most of them resulted in -us and -ius names: Flavus Flavius, Rufus Rufius, Claudus Claudius, Celsus Celsius.
    Is -us typically borne by earlier generations, whereas -ius typically by later generations?
    (Varus Varius, but Varius could be from varius).

    Curtius is attested, I don't know whether there are attestations of Curtus.
    Balbus is attested, I don't know whether there are attestations of Balbius.
     
    -Ius is a relational adjective with the meaning “somebody's, descendant of somebody, related to somebody”. The suffix is ultimately of Proto-Indo-European origin (*-i̭os). It may be added to stems of various types, for example paterpatrius, plēbēsplēbējus, NerōNerōnius. Of course, the stem without -ius denotes a person whom the derived adjective refers to, so yes, these are (mostly) people from earlier generations (don't know if Latin has counterparts of the modern Greek Παπακωνσταντίνου “Constantine's father”, where a progenitor is named after his descendant).
     

    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Could we infer that the feminine -ia is borne by later generations, -a borne by earlier generations? e.g.,
    Placidia, later attested; Placida, earlier, unattested?
    Flavia, later, attested; Flava, earlier, unattested?
    Claudia, later, attested; Clauda, earlier, unattested?
     
    That was a different system. See Naming conventions for women in ancient Rome for details.

    Practically, a traditional woman's name would be composed of two adjectives: one after a nomen of her father and other after a cognomen of her father or current husband, or other relatives when there were several daughters. If these names were already adjectives, the woman's name was grammatically just the same adjective in feminine, for example Lucius Cornelius Sulla had a daughter Cornelia Sulla, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus had a daughter Cornelia Africana. If the cognomen was not perceived as an adjective (e. g. Sulla apparently was), a relational adjective could be formed, so that a daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was Vipsania Agrippina, a daughter of Nero Claudius Drusus was called Julia Drusilla (Drusus was adopted into the gens Julia), a daughter of Marcus Valerius Messala Barbatus was Valeria Messalina. Plautia Urgulanilla was named partly after her grandmother Urgulania, again with a relational adjective formed from a non-standard name. Another non-standard case is for example the name of Vespasia Polla or Vespasia Pollia, a daughter of one Vespasius Pollio, since a properly formed adjective would be *Pollionia.

    I wonder how long after the fall of Rome this system persisted. In the 6th century it was still somehow in use, see Flavius Boethius (his daughter's name, Rusticiana, is a relational adjective).
     
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    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    -ia is the majority.
    -a is a sizeable minority, e.g., Fausta Maxima, Justa Grata, Digna Emerita; some are post-Roman but of Latin origin, e.g., Bella, Celestina, Modesta, Renata.
     
    That's because the vast majority of Roman gentes had names formed with the suffix -i- (much more rarely -n-). Important in the context of your question is that -ia is not some special way to form women's names: it is just an automatic outcome of the rules of the Latin grammar. A daughter of one Lusus Julius Naturus would be necessarily called Julia Natura by simply adjusting the grammatical markers.
     

    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    I concur for the most part, for instance, the daughter of Pulcher is Pulchra, of Probus Proba. I don't know if it is always the rule, for instance, if it were, the daughter of Placidus would be Placida (unattested?) instead of Placidia. Some adjectives of common gender require -ia to form feminine names, e.g., felix > Felicia.
     
    Placidia was a woman of gens Placidia, that is her father must have been any Placidius. I guess Placidus → Placida is quite expectable in this context. Another possibility is Placidilla. Felix is ambiguous as it can refer to both sexes, that's perhaps why Felicia arises…

    P. S. Another thing is that the original system was in use in a rather small traditional society of the city of Rome, with actual gentes. As the country rose and the romanization embraced more and more people various deviations must have emerged. When you called your daughter your own way in the 4th century BC, you got marginalized, when you did it in the 4th century CE, nobody cared.
     
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    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    @ahvalj
    I have been thinking that is the gender of Australia (historically Terra Australis according to wiktionary) modelled after precedents like dies natalis > Natalia?
    Or are the gender and number of Australia similar to that of bacchanalia, fetalia, and the like, which are neuter plural (but holistically singular)?
    I think that Australia being feminine singular in certain languages can be understood as the likes of bisaccia, meteora (Latin neuter plural > Italian feminine singular).
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    @ahvalj
    I have been thinking that is the gender of Australia (historically Terra Australis according to wiktionary) modelled after precedents like dies natalis > Natalia?
    Or are the gender and number of Australia similar to that of bacchanalia, fetalia, and the like, which are neuter plural (but holistically singular)?
    I think that Australia being feminine singular in certain languages can be understood as the likes of bisaccia, meteora (Latin neuter plural > Italian feminine singular).
    Isn’t it the case that it follows all the other examples of countries/territories in Latin or having Latinate names over the centuries that have the -ia suffix? So most likely to be feminine singular.
     

    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    @Stoggler
    I came across a similar example: Castilla, from Castella, feminine singular, from castella, neuter, plural of castellum, according to wiktionary, "in reference to the region as terra castellorum".
     
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