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gens


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(‘lineage’) derives from a Lat. root denoting procreation, and the gens was often conceived as comprising the free‐born descendants of a common ancestor in the male line. That distant ancestor was often a fiction, and a real or supposed kinship link between those claiming membership of the same gens became increasingly difficult to demonstrate. Since all members of a gens bore the same nōmen (normally ending in ‐ius), by the late republic alternative definitions based membership of a gens on tenure of the same nomen, not kinship. See names, personal, roman.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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