A nomen gentilicium indicates which gens a Roman belongs to. A gens is a loose collection of families sharing the same nomen. It is the middle part of the tria nomina, i.e., the three-part Roman name. The nomen was the most important element in the Roman naming system: it was the component of name that was inherited and also indicated the position of the gens in the state, its antiquity and sometimes ist origin. Indeed, the majority of nomina gentilicia come from names of tribes.
Nomina with the following endings indicated a non-Latin origin:
- -acus: Gallic;
- -na, -nius: Etruscan; e. g.: Porsenna, Spurinna, Caecina, Perperna, Vibenna, Ergenna, Mastarna;
- -idius: Oscan;
- -ienus: Umbrian or Picene origin; e. g.: Labienus, Salvidienus.
Inheritance of the nomen is patrilinear, that is, from the father.
List of Nomina
The nomina are listed in their male forms. To make the female form, just replace the ending "-us" with "-a".
Personal Names in the Roman World