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Gaius, sometimes spelled Caius, was a common Latin praenomen; see Gaius (praenomen). It is abbreviated C.; the abbreviation goes back to before the Roman alphabet distinguished between C and G, probably from Etruscan Cae or Cai, meaning unknown. In classical times, the name was pronounced in three syllables, Gā-ǐ-us [ˈɡaː.ɪ.ʊs].[1]

It is also possible that the use of C reflects the Greek letter Gamma.


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  1. ^ Gāĭus. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.