Latinizing Names


Civis Illustris
Re: General Questions

paruos dixit:
1. Is there a Latin form for the name "Hugo"?
Yes, Hugo, genitive Hugonis (as someone already mentioned).

paruos dixit:
2. And I've used the name "Dan Brown" undeclensed ... This is how he's known, all right. However if someone would like to use a Latin version, for Dan I'd use Daniellínus (maybe ...),
The "Names Commemorating Persons" section of Stearn's Botanical Latin and Dan H. Nicolson's Orthography of Names and Epithets: Latinization of Personal Names might be helpful in general.

Iohannes Aurum is right that given names are usually Latinized, while surnames were left in their original forms, which were often indeclinable. But surnames may be Latinized anyway.

When it comes to the the particular name Dan Brown, there are some possible Latinizations:

Dan can be Latinized as Daniel or Danihel (both third declension), Danielus or Danihelus (both second declension). All four forms are cited by Souter's A Glossary of Latin Latin. Personally, I like Daniel best.

It could even be Latinized as Danus (adding the stem vowel -o- to Dan), but I would avoid such a form unless I wanted to be funny.

The surname Brown has been Latinized as Brunonius, as seen in the name Rosa brunonii.

Botanical Latin has some general procedures for Latinizing surnames, and according to those procedures, Brown is Latinized as either a substantive or an adjective:

  • Substantive: Brownius, Brownii (name of a man)
  • Substantive: Brownia, Browniae (name of a woman)
  • Adjective: Brownianus/Browniana/Brownianum
The reasoning (according to Nicolson) is this:

Dan H. Nicolson dixit:
The remarkable thing about Roman personal nomenclature [...] is that the names of the various noble houses (gentes) are derivable directly from the basis of given names by adding -i- before inflection (stem augmentation), such as Juli-us from Jul-us, Tulli-us from Tull-us, [...]. These derived names are properly adjectives, formed by adding -ius to the base of the given name of the real or supposed original head of the house. [...] The present provision of Recommendation 73C (b) (Stafleu et al., I972) which recommends forming epithets (nouns in genitive) from the name of a man by adding the letters -ii when the name ends in a consonant, is a reflection of the ancient Roman tradition: a surname, like the name of a Roman gens, is signalled by augmentation of the original stem plus the appropriate Latin inflection. In a historical sense latinizing a person's name with stem augmentation (adding -i before the inflection) honors the person by according his name the same treatment originally accorded only to surnames of patrician and noble Roman families. [...] Surnames ending in vowels are not augmented for the practical reason of avoiding creation of strings of vowels that the Romans never used.
"Dan Nicolson" would then become "Daniel Nicolsonius."