Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Coin Collectors' Manual

The problem with delving into research is that, inevitably, a piece of information will lead to knew discoveries, which will start the whole researching process again. It's not surprising therefore that more posts have come from what was suppose to be a quick look into some of the more forgotten ancient Greek and Roman feminine names. This time, though, the list covers names exclusively from ancient Rome. It was taken from a book titled The Coin Collectors' Manual Vol II written by Henry Noel Humphreys. It turned out to be a fantastic source, especially if you have a little bit of time to spare (or waste). It can be found here. 

Aviola - A Roman cognomen likely derived from the Latin avis meaning 'bird'. Although my Latin is non-existent, and I'm taking stab in the dark, I would add that perhaps the meaning of 'little bird' fits even better, but that's just guess work. For those who like Avalon, Avery or Aviva, Aviola might be one to add to the list. 

Axilla - It's one of those cases where a lovely name hides a bad meaning, this time that of 'armpit'. Two reasons why Axilla was included despite her rather unattractive little secret: Lou's wonderful post on Axel and Axelle made me think that Axilla could slot right in next to them, and because of her tough, no-nonsense vibe that she has going on. 

Dolabella - Considering how popular Isabella is, and how most names with the possible nicknames of Belle or Bella have climbed up the chart (Arabella was #545 in 2000 and ten years late she's at #228. Annabelle was at #167 but in 2010 had cracked the top 100 at #87), it seemed only right to include Dolabella in the mix. It was a Roman cognomen, from the Latin dolabra meaning 'pick-ax', and a branch of the gens Cornelia.

Luria - Nuria is quite popular in Portugal at the moment (#42 in 2011). Just head into a church during baptism days and you'll find little Nurias all over the place, which is why Luria seems so usable to me. The Manual mentions that the Luria Roman family is of 'doubtful extraction', and there is very little written about them that I can find. There is, however, a town in Italy named Santa Luria, but not much information on how the town got its name.

Mindia - Like Luria, there is little information about the origins of the Mindia family and their name. We do know that Lucius Mindius was a Roman aristocrat and senator. He married Salonina Matidia and had a daughter named Mindia Matidia. Mindia seems very wearable, not as fluffy pink as Mindy but with all of India's coolness. 

Naevia - I was a huge fan of Sparticus: Blood and Sand, but I'd never noticed that there was a character by the name of Naevia. It is another Roman cognomen, this time from the Latin naevus meaning 'birthmark'. One of Naevia's attractions is that she sounds somewhat like Nevaeh without carrying all the stigma attached to the name.

Rubria - The name of an Imperial Vestal Virgin, and of a Roman law which allowed a colony on the ruins of Carthage. It comes from the Latin ruber meaning 'red'. Similar names include Rubrica, 'red earth', and popular Ruby (#7).

Salvia -  She looks a bit like Sylvia, and they both share Roman origins, but Salvia is earthier and greener. She comes from the Latin salvere 'to feel well and healthy' and is another name for the herb sage. Perhaps a nice masculine form of Salvia could be Salve, the Latin for 'well'. 

Verina - Aelia Verina was an Empress consort to Leo I, and there was a saint Verena from Egypt. The name comes from the Latin verus meaning 'true'. Of all the names on the list, this is the only one that seems to have stuck around, even ranking three times in 1890, 1895 and 1898 in the American chart. 

Vettia - Volusia Vettia Maeciana was the wife of Avidius Cassius, a Roman general who usurped the throne and ruled Syria and Egypt for a brief time. The name means 'bent outwards' and likely has to do with the appearance of one of the family's ancestors.

Image: Drawings taken from The Coin Collectors' Manual