[ANSTHRLD] More on Drusilla

Lee & Susan lecachot at airmail.net
Sat May 10 17:21:01 PDT 2003

Thanks for the info, that pretty much confirms what I'd been finding :(  I
guess it's back to the naming board.

----- Original Message -----
From: "C. L. Ward" <gunnora at vikinganswerlady.com>
To: <heralds at ansteorra.org>
Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2003 4:39 PM
Subject: [ANSTHRLD] More on Drusilla

> >I would like to use the nomen Drusilla, is possible;
> >which I believe would be a feminine diminutive of
> >Drusus (basing that idea on Iulilla being a diminutive
> >of Iulius).
> The suffix -illa is a standard feminine diminuitive in Latin.
> In Republican Rome, women were officially known only by the female form of
> their father's nomen (specifically, the nomen gentilicum or clan name),
> sometimes further differentiated by the possessive (genitive) form of
> father's name (if unmarried) or husband's name (if married). The example
> usually given is from Cicero:
> Annia P. Anni senatoris filia (Annia the daughter of P. Annius the
> By the late Republic women also adopted the female form of their father's
> cognomen, which was often made a diminutive (e.g., Augustus's wife Livia
> Drusilla (58 BC - AD 29) was the daughter of a Marcus Livius Drusus -
> actually, I think there were several women named Drusilla in the Livia
> and Drusa or Drusus were often found as masculine praenomens in the
> gens). The later you get in the Republic and on into the Imperial period,
> the whole Roman naming scheme became completely chaotic.  Lots of new
> citizens were made as Rome's conquests expanded and citizenship was
> into the provinces, names were made up, names used by the upper classes
> tended to become very long and elaborate, the distinction between nomen
> cognomen was blurred and names were intermixed, gens and familiy names
> used as personal names, and personal names were used to create new names
> gens and families. Towards the end of the Imperial era names became
> again, often consisting of just two names, without any reference to gens.
> I don't see any documentation in my Latin materials for Drusa/Drusus as a
> nomen, so (unless  there's one in the late Empire's chaotic naming
> I don't think you'd see a feminine "Drusilla" as a nomen.  Father's
> adapted to "Drusilla" yes, nomen no... But my sources are not exhaustive.
> I can find other examples of the name Drusilla in use.  For instance, in
> the Vulgate Bible, Acts 24:24 reads:
> Post aliquot autem dies veniens Felix cum Drusilla uxore sua quae erat
> Iudaea vocavit Paulum et audivit ab eo fidem quae est in Iesum Christum.
> [And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a
> Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.]
> This would be the Emperor Claudius's favorite, the freedman Antonius
> who eventually became procurator of Judaea. His wife Drusilla, daughter of
> King Herod Agrippa the 1st, was seduced away from her royal husband,
> king of Emesa. The passage above from Acts is part of the tale of how the
> Apostle Paul was arrested in Judaea and brought to trial before Felix and
> his consort Drusilla, in Caesarea (c. AD 59).  The Biblical reference
> complementary, as this Drusilla is portrayed as rather an adulterous
> P. Cornelius Tacitus writes in his Histories, Book V.9 (109AD) talks about
> this same Drusilla, but he has her ancestry vetry differently derived:
> Claudius, defunctis regibus aut ad modicum redactis, Iudaeam provinciam
> equitibus Romanis aut libertis permisit, e quibus Antonius Felix per omnem
> saevitiam ac libidinem ius regium servili ingenio exercuit, Drusilla
> Cleopatrae et Antonii nepte in matrimonium accepta, ut eiusdem Antonii
> progener, Claudius nepos esset.
> [The kings were either dead, or reduced to insignificance, when Claudius
> entrusted the province of Judaea to the Roman Knights or to his own
> freedmen, one of whom, Antonius Felix, indulging in every kind of
> and lust, exercised the power of a king in the spirit of a slave. He had
> married Drusilla, the granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra, and so was
> grandson-in-law, as Claudius was the grandson, of Antony.]
> Googling led me to the "Orlando Furioso" (1516AD) of Ludovico Ariosto
> 37, v.52 (http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Orlando/), which has:
> "No fairer was the dame than chaste and right,
> And well deserving every praise; the peer
> Derived of generous stock, and bold in fight,
> As ever champion, of whose fame we hear;
> And 'tis well fitting, that such valiant wight
> Should joy a thing so excellent and dear,
> Olindro he, the lord of Lungavilla,
> And she, his lady wife, yclept Drusilla.
> And, also compliments of Google, right after the end of the SCA's period
> 1642, Claudio Monteverdi had a character named Drusilla in his opera
> "L'incoronazione di Poppea" which is sort of set in a very fanciful
> Rome.
> Who would ever have guessed that I'd still be using my Latin more than 20
> years later?
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