Tuomo Nuorluoto, CM Lerici Fellowship (March - July 2021)
The cognomen was the latest component of the Roman onomastic system and in the course of the early first century CE it came to be the primary individual name of Roman citizens. This process was particularly significant for Roman women who normally did not bear individualizing first names (praenomina). Through the emergence of the cognomen, all Roman women eventually came to have an individual name and, consequently, a genuine individual identity in the public eye.
In my doctoral thesis with the title Roman Female Cognomina: Studies in the Nomenclature of Roman Women (Uppsala, 2021), I investigated several aspects of the cognomina used by Roman women. Building upon the doctoral thesis, the purpose of my current project is to publish a comprehensive handbook of female cognomina and some other closely related aspects, over a time period of c. 400 years (from c. 100 BCE to c. 300 CE) and with a broad social historical perspective. During my research period in Rome as the Swedish Institute’s Lerici fellow, I will expand and further analyze the source material, mostly inscriptions in Latin and Greek, and start investigating some of the aspects that either could not be included or were only briefly discussed in the doctoral thesis. In addition, I will finish two shorter articles, one concerning Roman cognomina chosen through calques and semantic association and the other (co-authored) dealing with the onomastic practices of Greek local elites under Roman rule.