The Roman Campaign: Celts and Germanic berserkers to the north, Greeks due east, Egyptians and all of Africa to the south; politics, intrigue and vast frontiers to explore! Send your campaign back to the Roman Empire with genuine Roman names! Culled from epigraphy (inscriptions in stone) and Latin texts, these names allow players and Game Masters alike to name game characters with names that real Romans really used!
Consider the name Gaius Julius Caesar. Gaius
is his praenomen
(given name). Julius
is his nomen gentilicium
(family name). The Romans used only a few given names, so they added modifiers (sort of like adjectives) to their family names. These modifiers were called Cognomen (Caesar
is his cognomen
Like any name table, you can roll randomly with percentage dice
; but for those of you who want historical authenticity, Appendix C
matches Roman nomen gentilicium (family names) with their associated tribes as found in authentic Roman inscriptions; Appendix B
lists authentic pairs of nomen gentilicium and cognomens as found in Roman inscriptions
. While these pairings are not exhaustive, here is an example of cognomen tied to the nomen gentilicium Cornelius
: Anteros, Balbus, Carpus, Cato, Cerdo, Cinna, Crispus, Dolabella, Fabia, Felix, Fortunatus, Fuscus, Gallus, Iucundus, Lentulus, Paternus, Restitutus, Saloninus, Scipio, Successus, Sulla, Theophilus, Trupo. More than 130 families are listed. Appendix D
discusses how to handle non-humans (elves, dragons, giants, etc.) in a Roman world.
- Learn how a Roman name is organized.
- See real naming examples using real Roman names!
- Learn how to handle the naming of sons and daughters (including adoption and marriage).
- Find out how to use these table for a fantasy Amazon culture!
- Discover how to name foreigners (peregrini).
- Learn how slaves were named.
- See commonly used abbreviations ("initials").
- Find out "How Do You Say That?"
- All names are presented in tables which you can pick from or roll on for random determination and each table entry lists both the masculine and feminine forms (i.e. Julius/Julia). This helps keep the names sounding correct without you having to change endings (this alone speeds up naming during game play).
- Praenomen (two tables; the first lists the 22 common names; the expanded table lists all 48).
- Nomen Gentilicium (800 names).
- Cognomen (more than 700 names with their associated meanings, and 1200 more that are undefined; that's 1900 cognomen!). The Roman Senate awarded cognomen for deeds (cognomen ex virtue), and with these meanings the Game Master can award characters names of virtue (for heroism, foolishness, or as a reminder of an adventure, etc). Those that are defined are divided into the following tables: Authority Figures, Criminal Descriptors, Entertainers, Fauna, Flora, Gemstone Descriptors, Geographical Descriptors, Geographical Fantasy, Magic Descriptors, Military Descriptors, Months, Other, Personal (three tables), Religious Descriptors (General, Christian, Druidic, Jewish, Roman), Slaves, and Socio-Occupational (two tables). The text notes which were found on inscriptions and which were not.
- Filiation: name your father, grandfather, etc. already declined in Latin thus, Gaius is listed as Gaii;(two tables; the first lists the 22 common names; the expanded table lists all 48). If someone asks your character, "Who's your daddy?", you can answer them! ;)
- Tribu and Domo (matches tribe [tribu] to the domus [residence]). Three tables (280 names) use Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia to match the tribal people of the Italian peninsula to their cities of residence, and with a brief write up about each tribe. A Fourth table focuses on the voting families of the city of Rome, while the fifth table focuses on the tribes found on authentic inscriptions (46 names).
- Agnomen (for adoption, 800 names).
- Speed tips for the Game Master for how to handle naming Non-Player Characters when you're in a pinch without a prepared name (but that never happens, right?). Topics include Roman Senators, Citizens in the city of Rome, Citizens of the Provinces, etc. This is located right after the Table of Contents, so that it's easy to find in a hurry!
Here's just part
of the Bibliography:
- A.D. Godley (translator) Herodotus. (Harvard University Press)
- D.P. Simpson, Cassell's Latin and English Dictionary. (MacMillan)
- E. Gibbon, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. (Crescent)
- E. Ridley (Sir), The Pharsalia of Lucan. (Longmans, Green, and Co.)
- H. T. Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. ( Harper and Brothers)
- J.E. Morby, The Wordsworth Handbook of Kings and Queens. (Wordsworth Editions Ltd)
- L. R. Taylor, Roman Voting Assemblies. (Ann Arbor)
- M. Le Glay, J.-L. Voisin & Y. Le Bohec, A History of Rome. (Blackwell)
- N. Lewis & M. Reinhold, Roman Civilization.(Columbia University Press)
- S. Keever, Pockets Ancient Rome. (Dorling Kindersley)
- T. Mommsen, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (1861)
Even if you're familiar with the structure of Roman naming, having dozens of praenomen, hundreds of nomen gentilicium and almost 2,000 cognomen organized in table format makes random generation a breeze! If you have trouble thinking up names, you can always browse these tables looking for that cool name for your character! With names pre-declined in masculine and feminine forms (as well as the pre-declined genitive forms for filliation purposes), you'll be putting together authentic Roman names in little time and with little effort! Roman Name Tables
is great book for any campaign with a Roman or pseudo-Roman nation, great for anyone with an interest in the history of Roman naming, and great for anyone wanting to generate a Roman name!