Origin of the name Antonia/Antonio

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Tanyara, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Tanyara New Member

    Hi, my name is Antonia and I have always been interested in the meaning of my name. The only information I have been able to get my hands on is that the name is of an unknown Etruscan origin and that it means "priceless" or "invaluable". I am also aware that in the past the name has been falsely associated with the greek word "anthonos"(flower).

    Just some days ago I watched a documentary about old cities when the narrator mentioned a city named Tartessos which was ruled by a king named Arganthonios. The similarities of the names struck me almost immediately and I started thinking if it might be a possibility for Arganthonios to be the origin for the names Antonius/Antonia.

    It just so happens that the ancient city of Tartessos was situated in Spain(not too far from Etruscan regions) and that the city was famous for its wealth in precious metals such as silver and gold. The king was therefore named after the wealth of silver(latin argentum) and the name Arganthonios is thought to mean "treasurer" or "wealth of silver".

    Is this a possible origin of the names Antonius/Antonia or do you think it pure coincidence?

  2. sotos Senior Member

    Hi. Antonios, as such, is not a classical Greek name, but the suffix -ios is Gr. and gives the meaning "of Anton". There is an Anton (Άντων) son of Hercules, I think mentioned by Plutarch.
    This Arganthonios may be a Hellenized foreign name, adapted to the Gr. word "anthos" (flower). There was also the god Adonis, of eastern origin and the Gr. verb antono (αντώνω) having the sense of "to resist, to push back a force".
    It seems that a kind of folk etymology mixed all these meanings and words and made the name popular during the Roman period.
  3. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Hi antonia! Just an opinion. Your name sounds " Tons of weight' but the prefix " a" make it sounds negative (in Greek) .You may change it into " Nathanios"/Nathania ( i am not sure what it means). Good day/kalihmera/Magandang Araw!
  4. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Of course not, the name is originally Latin.
    In this case, for once, the original is -ius and the Greek -ios is a Hellenization of a Latin word and not the other way round. Antonius is a Roman nomen generis (clan/family name).
    It was the legend of the clan was that they claimed to be decedent from the son of Hercules. The most famous member of the clan, the triumvir Marc Anthony, is reported to have made this claim.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  5. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    How is it possible that the name is of an unknown origin, and at the same time it is of Etruscan origin, and that you nevertheless know the meaning of it?
  6. aruniyan Senior Member

    If you need an Indian connection :)

    The king's name sounds like Anthanan (Arahant) meaning noble, (anthi or anth means end or on the other side)
  7. Tanyara New Member

    It was actually a quotation from a name-research site, though they did not give any explanation as to why they thought it was Etruscan. I thought it sounded a bit weird but I guess they meant that it possibly is Etruscan, perhaps that some etruscan word sounds very much like "Antonia/Antonio"? All I have found out is that it is most likely of etruscan/latin origin and that the name probably means priceless or invaluable.

    I haven't been able to find a single source that states WHY it is of possible Etruscan origin, or how/why they could exclude that the name wasn't greek. Just though anyone might have an idea or heard another theory about the name.
  8. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Quite a few Antonius in ancient Rome belonged to noble families, descending from the powerful family of "the Antonii", among which one of the most illustrious was Marc'Antonio (Marc Antony), supporter of Julius Caesar and opponent of Octavian (Ottaviano).
    "Antonio" is most probably an Etruscan name , but its ultimate origin is the Greek verb "antéko", meaning "to resist", therefore the name "Antonio" means "He who resists".


  9. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    How would we know this, given how little we know about Etruscan?
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  10. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    The Greek verb is «ἀντέχω» (ăn'tĕxō, /an'dexo/ in modern pronunciation), with a much earlier form «ἀντίσχω» (ăn'tīsxō)--> to hold against, resist. I'm afraid there's no Greek verb "antéko".
    Is it plausible the name to be an Egyptian original? The name Antonios was very-very common in Christian Egypt of 2nd - 3rd c. CE --> Ⲁⲛⲧⲱⲛⲓ
  11. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    That was much, much later. The Antonians were a very old Roman gens (clan). St Anthony is the most important Saint of the Coptic church and before him, the name Anthony was probably so popular in Egypt because of Marc Anthony who, as the ruler of the Eastern Roman empire, wanted the restore the Ptolemaic kingdom to its former glory (which didn't happen because, as we all know, Marc Anthony lost the war against Octavian).
  12. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Hullo, ap.

    Sorry for my poor transliteration of the word. It should've been "antékho".

  13. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Ciao Giorgio nessun problema

    Thanks Bernd, you are probably right.
    However, what I find intriguing is the omega in the Greek version of the name (which probably is the result of paretymology or folk etymology). But what if it's not? Let me explain:
    In Latin we have the Greek loan word "antonomasia" (original, «ἀντωνομασία») which - according to Maurus Servius Honoratus, the famous grammarian - ...est, non epitheton; quæ fit quotiens pro proprio nomine ponitur quod potest esse cum proprio nomine et epitheton dici.
    What if Antonius was the «ἀντωνομασθείς», the one who has changed his old (ethnic perhaps?) name and is now called by a new Roman name?
    Here's my fiction story: An Egyptian slave is freed and he is now a Rome resident, under the name Antonius Libertus (an emancipated person). He's a freedman with a changed (Antonius) Roman name.

    PS: We all know that the previous scenario of mine with the Caracalla's decree became Roman Law: It raised provincial populations of Roman colonies to equal status with the city of Rome itself, thus anyone could take up a Roman name, irrelevent of ethnicity (that's why we have a Greek historian named Flavius Arrianus and a Jew historian named Flavius Josephus).
  14. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Why would this surprise you? Would Omega be the normal transliteration for a long Latin "o"?
  15. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Of course it would.
    Any suggestions for the macron ō in the Latin Antōnius (that was my clumpsy previous attempt; I was trying to explain the ω and ō in both languages; the word could be a reloan, which explains both the omega and the long o)
  16. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Ok, I see. But you realize, that you mix up time scales in your story, don't you?
    First, Titus Flavius Josephus lived about a century before Caracalla and he carried, like every slave, nomen and nomen generis of his owner (Titus Flavius Vespasianus).
    Second, the oldest known member of the gens Antonia was Titus Antonius Merenda who was decemvir in 450BC, 400 years before Marc Anthony's restoration of the Ptolemaic Empire, 650 years before the reign of Caracalla and 800 years before the death of St. Anthony.

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