R. Kerr. LAKTANZ: EIN LAKTOSEFREIER PUNIER?

R. Kerr

 

Inârah Institute, University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany

E-mail: robert.martin.kerr@gmail.com

 

LAKTANZ: EIN LAKTOSEFREIER PUNIER?

 

Abstract. The signum Lactantius of the church father and early Christian apologist Lucius Cæcilius Firmianus (ca. 250—ca. 320), advisor to Constantine I, then later tutor of his son Crispus, seems at first glance overtly Latinate. Although the theologian was famous for the purity of his Latin style, and sometimes even hailed the “Christian Cicero”, his name from a Latin perspective is, however, quite unusual: the only contemporary Latin epigraphic attestations come from the interior of Numidia, seemingly where he was born and raised, a region which still in the first centuries AD evidenced a strong Punic substrate. One might then wonder if such a name — attested solely in a region at a time when Romanisation was just commencing and numerous indigenous names, especially in the Western Empire, were being latinised by employing the suffix of the comparative adverb ‑(ant)ius (often resulting in humorous expressive loans), initially, into the early fourth century, merely as signa, though toward its end as regular cognomina, even among aristocracy and then often serving as a gentilicium — is of autochthonous derivation. In this article, we investigate the possibility of a Punic etymology of the name.

 

Keywords: Lactantius, Punic, Semitics, onomastics, Numidia, etymology, neologism, epigraphy, philology

 

DOI: 10.31250/1238-5018-2019-25-1-3-8

 

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Received by the Editorial Board: 25.03.2019

 


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