We all know that names have been changing over the past few years. It’s not just your grandparents’ generation; it’s happening in our lives too! But did you know that many of these changes are actually due to ancient influences? From history, we can see how names were changed and evolved through time. Let’s face some of the challenging truths about ancient names and learn more about them here!
It wasn’t until the 1800s that names became more popular than surnames. Prior to this, it was common for people to have a surname and then their individual name.
In Ancient Greece, many parents would give male children two names: one from his father’s family line and one from his mother’s side of the family. The purpose of having two names is so they could inherit property on both sides without complications. For example, if you were Alexander II Aridaeus (a Greek given name) but only had your own descendants in mind when passing down property, then your sons will not be able to get what should rightfully belong to them by birthright because they share an ancestral lineage with another son. Giving each son a different name would prevent such confusion.
In Ancient Rome, it was common for people to have three names: praenomen (first name), nomen gentilicium (family or clan name) and cognomen. The first two are similar to the Greek custom of naming children after their father’s family line and mother’s side but is more formalized in Roman culture. The third middle-name given by parents which came from an individual trait that they saw as admirable was often called the “cognomen” For example, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus had both his paternal ancestors’ Praenomina (“P.” indicating he was a male descendant) and Maternal ancestors Nominum Gentil
Names were originally not passed down from one generation to the next.
Ancient names were often given by parents in honor of a personal hero, someone who had died or was soon going to die, for special occasions like religious festivals and funerals, and as social status markers.
In many cultures priests would have naming ceremonies called “naming days.” These took place once a year when people came together with their families and friends at temples or churches.
Many ancient civilizations such as Rome actually required every citizen to choose a name that could be used on public documents; this is how records survive today about what those names may have been.
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The first truth is that ancient names can’t be found on any documents.
Ancients never used last or middle names, and they usually didn’t have surnames either.
In order to find out what people were called in the past you need to use hyphens (like Marcus Aemilius Lepidus) instead of periods. In Latin, a name would end with an “i” for men and a “a” for women which changed according to case form – like Iulius Caesar vs Julia Caesaris.
For some occupations we know more: athletes had nicknames as well as their actual Roman name; slaves who worked in mines often received both slave and family names from their owners.
Archaeologists have to spend a lot of time scrutinizing the ancient texts as they can give clues about individual names, but their settlements and family history is often missing from the written record.
The second truth is that some cultures actually had more than one name for each person – which might sound odd at first, but in many languages it’s common to use different words or spellings depending on who you’re addressing (which can create confusion with examples like John vs Jean). In certain cases we know people were given two separate honorifics: Marcus Antonius was called Antony by his friends and Marc Anthony by everyone else.
In recent times there has been an increase in naming diversity because parents are looking for creative ways to tell their child’s story and there is less social stigma about giving children unique names.
The fourth truth is that some cultures had no formal naming process whatsoever, which means it can be difficult to come up with a modern name when you have so little information to go on (e.g., what if we only knew the name of an Egyptian pharaoh was Ramses).
In societies where people were often given one or two names at birth depending on who they were born as, parents would also usually try not give their kids identical first and last names in order to avoid confusion within family groups which makes alphabetical sorting by “last” initial something of a challenge! What’s more, the social order of each tribe or village was also typically given a name. That means that even if you know someone’s last name, it doesn’t necessarily make Google-ing them any easier.
The eighth truth is that sometimes people would have three names rather than just one one for themselves and two others to refer to their father and mother respectively (e.g., John/John William). This could be because they were actually born with all three names as an honorific title which applied to both parents or maybe there was some other reason behind it!
In societies where children weren’t formally named until adulthood, such as teenagers in ancient Rome, we might never find out what they called themselves before they were given an official name by their parents.
A child’s first and middle names often represented the hopes of his or her parents, as well as a connection to family history. For example, if you’re named after your grandfather Albert with “Albert William” then it means that they wanted to keep alive not only your grandfather’s memory but also both sides of your family line. You can see why this is such a touching thing!
11 Hard Truths About Ancient Names and How to Face Them: Let’s face the challenging truth about ancient names
The eighth hard truth is that sometimes people would have three names rather than just one one for themselves and two others to refer to their father and mother respectively (for example, Jane Elizabeth West).
In some cultures, where children were named after their grandparents or other family members (such as in the English culture), they would have both a first and middle name. For instance, if your parents had given you “Albert William” then that meant that they wanted to remember not only each of their parents but also themselves when it came time for them to give you an official name by which people could refer to you outside of just your surname. That’s why this is such a touching thing!
The eight hard truth is that sometimes people would have three names rather than two. The explanation for this is that in some cultures, where children were named after their grandparents or other family members (such as in the English culture), they would have both a first and middle name. For instance, if your parents had given you “Albert William” then that meant that they wanted to remember not only each of their parents but also themselves when it came time for them to give you an official name by which people could refer to you outside of just your surname. That’s why this is such a touching thing! In ancient times, we might say someone was called “Marcus Tullius Cicero.” This means he had three names: his personal name; his father’s forename plus ‘i filii’ (‘