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Marcus (praenomen)

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Title: Marcus (praenomen)  
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Marcus (praenomen)

This page is about the Latin praenomen. For other uses of this name, see Marcus, and also Marcus (name).

Marcus (Latin pronunciation: ) is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was one of the most common names throughout Roman history. The feminine form is Marca or Marcia. The praenomen was used by both patrician and plebeian families, and gave rise to the patronymic gens Marcia, as well as the cognomen Marcellus. It was regularly abbreviated M.[1][2][3]

At all periods of Roman history, Marcus was the third-most popular praenomen, trailing only Lucius and Gaius. Although many prominent families did not use it, it was a favorite of countless others. The name survived the Roman Empire and has continued to be used, in various forms, into modern times.[4][5]

Origin and meaning of the name

The praenomen Marcus is generally conceded to be derived from the name of the god Mars. It has been proposed that it was originally given to children who were born in the month of Martius (March), but as the month was also named in honor of Mars, this distinction is of limited importance.[6][7][8]

The feminine form of Marcus should be Marca. However, surviving examples indicate that Marcia, with an "i", was more common. The same was true of the praenomen Tita or Titia.[9]

The Etruscan form of this praenomen is Marce.[10]


  1. ^ Dictionary of Greek & Roman Biography & Mythology
  2. ^ Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft
  3. ^ Mika Kajava, Roman Female Praenomina: Studies in the Nomenclature of Roman Women (1994)
  4. ^ Dictionary of Greek & Roman Biography & Mythology
  5. ^ Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft
  6. ^ Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft
  7. ^ George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII (1897)
  8. ^ Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd Ed. (1996)
  9. ^ Mika Kajava, Roman Female Praenomina: Studies in the Nomenclature of Roman Women (1994)
  10. ^ Jacques Heurgon, Daily Life of the Etruscans (1964)
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