Agnomen

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 one that is recorded).

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

propria hominum nomina in quattuor species dividuntur, praenomen nomen cognomen agnomen: praenomen, ut puta Publius, nomen Cornelius, cognomen Scipio, agnomen Africanus.

(Men's personal names are of four types, praenomen, nomen, cognomen and agnomen: praenomen for instance Publius, nomen Cornelius, cognomen Scipio and agnomen Africanus.)

Marius Victorinus further elucidates:

Iam agnomen extrinsecus venit, et venit tribus modis, aut ex animo aut ex corpore aut ex fortuna: ex animo, sicut Superbus et Pius, ex corpore, sicut Crassus et Pulcher, ex fortuna, sicut Africanus et Creticus.

(Now the agnomen comes from outside, and in three styles, from personality or physique or achievements: From personality, such as Superbus ["Haughty"] and Pius [displaying the Roman syndrome of virtues including honesty, reverence to the gods, devotion to family and state, etc.], from physique, such as Crassus ["Fatty"] and Pulcher ["Handsome"], or from achievements, such as Africanus and Creticus [from their victories in Africa and on Crete].

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

Etymology

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

Other Languages
čeština: Agnomen
español: Agnomen
Latina: Agnomen
Nederlands: Agnomen
polski: Agnomen
русский: Агномен
Türkçe: Agnomen
українська: Агномен