Publius (praenomen)

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This page is about the Latin praenomen. For a list of individuals with this name, see Publius (disambiguation).

Publius /ˈpʊbli.əs/ is a Latin praenomen, or personal name. It was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and was very common at all periods of Roman history. It gave rise to the patronymic gens Publilia, and perhaps also gens Publicia. The feminine form is Publia. The name was regularly abbreviated P.[1][2][3]

Throughout Roman history, Publius was one of the most frequently-used praenomina, typically occupying fourth or fifth place, behind Lucius, Gaius, and Marcus, and occurring with about the same frequency as Quintus. The feminine form, Publia, was also quite common, and is found in numerous inscriptions as late as the 3rd century, and perhaps beyond.[1][2][3]

Origin and meaning of the name[edit]

Publius is thought to derive from the same root as populus and publicus, meaning "the people" or "of the people". Chase provides several examples of similar names from other Indo-European languages. Although Publius is generally regarded as a quintessentially Latin praenomen, a few scholars have proposed an Etruscan origin for the name. This may be partly based on the fact that the name, in the form Puplie, was also used by the Etruscans.[4][5][6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dictionary of Greek & Roman Biography & Mythology
  2. ^ a b Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft
  3. ^ a b Mika Kajava, Roman Female Praenomina: Studies in the Nomenclature of Roman Women (1994)
  4. ^ Sextus Pompeius Festus, epitome by Paulus Diaconus
  5. ^ George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII (1897)
  6. ^ Jacques Heurgon, Daily Life of the Etruscans (1964)