Personal Names and Ethno-linguistic Identity in Ancient Rhodes

Author: Jeremy Pacheco Ascuy (University of Salamanca, Spain)
Speaker: Jeremy Pacheco Ascuy
Topic: Language, Community, Ethnicity
COMELA 2022 General Session


The study of personal names from a linguistic perspective can be an optimal tool for shedding light on ethnical and linguistic identity of a certain community. In the case of Ancient Greek personal names, the most important elements that ought to be taken into consideration are: (1) names with a high frequency of appearance in the region that were perceived as distinctive of a community (e.g., typical Macedonian names such as Ἀμύντας, Πέρδικκας, etc. cf. Hatzopoulos, 2000); (2) name constituents repeatedly employed in the formation of personal names in the region (e.g., names with a second constituent -μβροτος, such as Τιμόμβροτος, Ἀλεξίμβροτος or Ἀριστόμβροτος, found almost exclusively at Rhodes); (3) names formed with a constituent derived from the place name of the region, bearing a strong local and identity sense  (e.g., names containing the elements -κυπρος, from Κύπρος ‘Cyprus’ or -ρροδος, from Ῥόδος ‘Rhodes’).

Following the aforementioned criteria, especially number 1 and 2, I will give an overview of some of the most statistically frequent personal names and onomastic constituents employed in the formation of personal names of ancient Rhodes. Moreover, this onomastic evidence, collected via the thorough and exhaustive analysis of the complete onomastic corpus of the island of Rhodes, will show how these naming customs and traditions make up a major aspect of linguistic and ethnic identity.

Dana, D. (2019). Onomastic Interactions. Greek and Thracian Names. In R. Parker (ed.). Changing Names: Tradition and Innovation in Ancient Greek Onomastics. Oxford University Press. 167-194.
Hartmann, I. J. (2002). What name? What parentage? The classification of Greek Names and the Elean corpus. In A. Willi & I. Hartmann (eds.). Oxford University Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics, 7. Oxford University Press. 55-81.
Hatzopoulos, M. (2000). ‘L’histoire par les noms’ in Macedonia. In S. Hornblower & E. Matthews (eds.). Greek Personal Names. Their Value as Evidence. Oxford University Press. 99-117.
Matthews, E. (ed.) (2007). Old and New Worlds in Greek Onomastics. Proceedings of the British Academy.

Keywords: Ancient Greek Onomastics, Linguistic Identity, Rhodes