Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Luigi Andrea Berto

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert F. Berkhofer, III

Third Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Anise K. Strong

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This thesis examines many uses of names in Italian culture and society between the years 313 and 604. Through an anthroponymic study of names in Late Antique Italy, I explore the relationships between names and religion, social groups, gender, and language. I analyze the name patterns statistically and through micro-historical studies. This thesis argues that, contrary to studies emphasizing the late antique decline of the Roman trinominal system, Italian names demonstrated continuity with classical onomastic practices. The correlations between saint’s cults and local names and the decline of pagan names suggests that saints’ names replaced pagan ones as apotropaic names as paganism. declined The introduction of Christianity brought only moderate change to naming practices, as Christians preferred to adapt the meanings of existing names. The senatorial elite continued to use names as a means of tracing family lineage and clung to traditional names. Women’s names became more varied during this period but still derived from male names and their role as transmitters of lineage did not improve. Finally, despite the decline of Greek names in Italy during this period, those regions that maintained classical economic, social, and political practices retained use of these names, suggesting a link between the two. Together, these arguments demonstrate endurance and importance of classical anthroponymic customs in Late Antique Italy.

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