ROMAN NAMES IN OLBIAN PROSOPOGRAPHY


Keywords: Northern Pontic region, Antiquity, Olbia, lapidary epigraphy objects, onomastics, prosopography

Abstract

Prosopographical data is one of the most important sources for the study of ethnic structure of the Ancient Greek population in the Northern Pontic area. It should be noted that prosopography reflects mostly wealthier and usually socially privileged strata, the representatives of city elite and the officials whose names are recorded in epigraphic records. Roman names from Greek and Latin inscriptions of the first centuries AD in the lapidary epigraphy from Olbia are presented in the paper.

The names are put in the order according not to their traditional classification but to another approach basing on the name structure. Consequently the Roman names are divided into three groups: 1 — names with Greek structure; 2 — names with Roman structure and 3 — those composed of a single name. Each group consists of subgroups in which the ethnic origin of name is determined. Greek names with Roman structure, Roman (Latin) names with Greek structure, as well as mixed names including the elements of various ethnic and linguistic origin fit into this classification well. According to the name structure it can be already suggested that the bearers of the names of first group did not have the Roman citizenship, while the names of the second group belonged to the Roman citizens. Having received the Roman citizenship the names of new citizens should have consisted of three or two parts, not always Latin, but the name structure had to become traditional Roman one. The classification proposed the possibility to understand fundamental Greek traditions and new phenomena in prosopography of the first centuries AD. The list of names with short information is presented in the Appendix.

Nineteen Roman names with Greek structure (personal name and patronymic in the genitive case) and twenty four names with Roman structure are recorded in the Olbian lapidary epigraphy. They appeared in the city onomastics comparatively late: in the first half of the 2nd century.

There are only four names with Roman elements in the group of names of Greek structure. They have mostly mixed nature and compound Greek and Roman, Greek, Roman and Iranian, Roman and Iranian elements.

The group of names with Roman structure and Roman components contain mostly names consisting of two parts, peculiar for the Late Roman period onomastics. The subgroup of names with mixed elements contains the spesimens of two and three parts of Greek and Roman, Roman and Iranian and Roman and Thracian origin. It should be also noted that each single individual name cannot be considered the direct representation of ethnicity of its bearer.

The third group of Roman prosopography in Olbia is represented by a single name. Such names do not clearly indicate the social position of their bearers: they could be either socially depended or full citizens.

Consequently, there are 52 names with at least one Roman element. If we proceed from the fact that the Olbian onomastics of the first centuries AD is represented by 299 names, the Roman names make approximately 17.4 % and the people with Roman citizenship was approximately 8.4 % of general number of the Olbiopolites whose names are recorded in epigraphic monuments of Olbia.

Unlike Chersonesos and Tyras the members of Olbian civic community rarely received the rights of Roman citizenship and the percentage of names with Roman elements was lower here. This fact indicates first of all a certain peculiarity of Roman-Olbian relations in the general Roman policy towards North Pontic region. This circumstance reasoned the later and relatively weak Roman provincial influence on the city population which reflected in the prosopographical material from Olbia.

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Published
2020-03-01
How to Cite
Son, N. O. (2020). ROMAN NAMES IN OLBIAN PROSOPOGRAPHY. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 34(1), 22-30. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2020.01.03