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An agnomen (Latin: [aŋˈnoːmen]; plural: agnomina), in the Roman naming convention, was a nickname, just as the cognomen was initially. However, the cognomina eventually became family names, so agnomina were needed to distinguish between similarly named persons. However, as the agnomen was an additional and optional component in a Roman name, not all Romans had an agnomen (at least not recorded).

Pseudo-Probus uses the hero of the Punic Wars, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, as an example:

Marius Victorinus further elucidates:

Africanus, Creticus and the likes are also known as victory titles. For example, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus earned his from the capture of Corioli.


Latin agnōmen (also spelled adnomen) comes from ad "to" and nōmen "name".[1][2]


As a minimum, a Roman agnomen is a name attached to an individual's full titulature after birth and formal naming by the family. True Roman nicknames, fully replacing the individual's name in usage, are rare. One such example where the nickname fully replaced the individual's name in usage was the Emperor Caligula, where that name was used in place of, and not along with, his full name, which was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Caligula's praenomen was Gaius, his nomen Julius, his cognomen Caesar. Some agnomina were inherited like cognomen were, thus establishing a sub-family. Caligula's agnomen came from the little boots he wore as part of his miniature soldier's uniform while accompanying his father Germanicus on campaigns in northern Germania. In turn, Germanicus received his agnomen in 9 BC, when it was posthumously awarded to his father Nero Claudius Drusus in honour of his Germanian victories. At birth, Germanicus had been known as either Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero after his uncle. As with Caligula, Germanicus is mostly referred to by his agnomen.

Agnomens and pseudonyms[edit]

An agnomen is not a pseudonym, but a real name; agnomina are additions to, not substitutions for, an individual's full name. Parallel examples of agnomina from later times are epithets like Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (though he is known more often by his agnomen than his first name) or popular nicknames like "Iron" Mike Tyson or Michael "Air" Jordan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "agnomen". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. 
  2. ^ agnōmen. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnomen — Please support Wikipedia.
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Histoire pour Tous

Histoire pour Tous
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:20:26 -0700

Le général romain reçoit ensuite un triomphe et l'agnomen Allobrogicus. Les Arvernes restent indépendants contrairement à leurs alliés allobroges (tout comme les Salyens d'ailleurs). Peut-être Rome a-t-elle imposé aux Arvernes dans le traité de paix de ...

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