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COGNOMEN. A Latin word, which signifies a family name. The praenomen among the Romans distinguished the person, the nomen, the gens, or all the kindred descended from a remote common stock through males, while the cognomen denoted the particular family. The agnomen was added on account of some particular event, as a further distinction. Thus, in the designation Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, Publius is the proenomen, Cornelius is the nomen, Scipio the cognomen, and Africanus the agnomen. Vicat. These several terms occur frequently in the Roman laws. See Cas. temp. Hardw. 286; 1 Tayl. 148. See Name; Surname.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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Se detectan, pues, la existencia de oligarquias de distinta procedencia (Cornelius, Pupius, Sempronius, Vecilius, Manilius ...), pero tambien se ha documentado la existencia de una solida base demografica norteafricana con algunos cognomina procedentes de traducciones punicas (Honoratus, Novellus, Optatus, Rufus y Saturninus) (Lefebvre, 2006: 139 y ss.).
The panegyrical preamble comprises a roll-call of cognomina ex virtute in Roman history, many hereditary, including that of Drusus, who bequeathed to his son the name Germanicus (597).
Kajanto, The Latin Cognomina Helsinski 1965) 220 has shown
'Epaphroditus' (= 'lovely', 'charming') is perhaps the commonest of Roman slave names apart from 'Felix', which it sometimes renders as a Greek equivalent.(1) It is also used very extensively under the early empire by those with tria nomina, whether freedmen or freeborn, whether descendants of freedmen or not, whether citizens or Junian Latins.(2) It is also found among decurions and even equestrians, but not senators.(3) It thus has a non-elite resonance in the western half of the empire, but, like almost all personal cognomina, not exclusively so.
MAXIMI NVS * MA XIMI [F(ilius)] * AN(norum) LX * H(ic) * S(itus) * E(st) S(it) * T(ibi) * T(erra) * L(evis) * F(ilii?) C(uraverunt?) Tanto Maximus como Maximinus son cognomina bien representados en el registro epigrafico hispano, especialmente el primero de ellos, uniformemente extendido por todo el territorio peninsular, tanto en su forma canonica, como en sus diferentes variantes graficas (Maxsumus, etc.) (59).