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Chapter Three. Naming Like The Neighbors: Jewish Onomastic Practices In Roman North Africa

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Chapter Summary

Roman African Jewish populations consistently drew from conventional Roman African naming patterns to label their children. Contextual analysis of regional and diachronic trends in naming, therefore, provides one means to begin to decipher Jews' complex cultural identities in varied North African environments. The presence of a name on a devotional text or an epitaph, for example, results from the convergence of onomastic practices with devotional or commemorative ones. The chapter evaluates regionally conventional and Jewish names in the western provinces of Africa Proconsularis, Numidia, Byzacena, and the Mauretanias from the second through the late third centuries. Next, it evaluates the changed onomastic environment of the later Principate and early Christian periods in the same regions and examines later period Jewish inscriptions in this context. The chapter separately treats Jewish naming patterns in Tripolitania, where onomastic practices remained relatively distinct from those within the western provinces.

Keywords:Byzacena; Christian African onomastic practice; Jewish naming pattern; Jewish onomastic practice; North African epitaph; Numidia; Roman North Africa; Tripolitania



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