What LNAB for Pulcheria?

+3 votes
I recently adopted and edited the profile for Pulcheria. who was augusta or empress of the Eastern Roman Empire from the age of 15, in the year 415.

I see problems with her LNAB, stemming from the fact that the Romans didn't use surnames as we think of them, or patronymics.

Her current LNAB is "The Eastern Roman Empire-1" which seems awkward, not least of all because Pulcheria didn't speak English.  I think the LNAB does follow the practice in later years of giving a monarch the LNAB of the country governed.  Her father was emperor, so she was certainly born into the family of the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire.  

Another LNAB practice is to use the "House" name of her family.  I think her "House" would be Theodosian.  

Her profile carries a PPP so that would need to be set aside to change her LNAB at all, but before proceeding I'd like to get some consensus, if possible, regarding the direction to go.  Or should it stay the same?
WikiTree profile: Pulcheria Augusta
in Policy and Style by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (467k points)
retagged by Isabelle Martin
Yikes.  I admire those of you working on these oldies.  How would you come to Theodosian?
Theodeosian as a "house" name was already in the profile when I adopted it.  But that suggests that the research needs to be done into whether there were "house" names in this period and what it might have been.  It screws up the WikiTree computers to make unnessary LNAB changes (or merges), so I'll wait until I have a confident alternative on this one!

Work on these oldies is basically a work of love of history, since I accept the statement that it will be unlikely to find -- and document -- all the links to connect pre-Charlemagne profiles to the global family tree.  The Welsh have the best connections back, but probably because they simply had the best story tellers.
Since all house names used in the historical literature and in WikiTree are relatively modern constructs whether to assign one or not depends in my opinion on whether there is an identifiable family structure with ordered power transfer from generation to generation and this certainly applies to the Theodosian Dynasty. Whether a dynasty far from any English speaking places and people should have an English name is another issue that should be debated.

2 Answers

+3 votes
Romans used 'gens' for naming. Her gen is Aelia but it might need to be pluralized. ... Might already have some of those on WikiTree.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aelia_(gens)
by Bree Ogle G2G6 (9.7k points)
So Bree, if we went in that direction we'd have WikiTree's Chinese/Japanese/Korean problem, where the surname/LNAB appears first in normal use, but under WikiTree shows up as a "last name" unless one figures out some way to jerry-rig it!
Jack, these early profiles have their own naming convention.  See EuroAristo projects pages for details.
Jillaine, I have looked at

*https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Name_Fields_for_European_Aristocrats which does not cover this period of time, and I've looked at the list of "Houses" at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Proper_Spelling_of_LNABs.

Is there more that I've missed? I know that there is a convention that English monarchs have the surname England, which I'm imagining is the model being followed for Pulcheria.  But it doesn't seem an appropriate model here and so I figured it was appropriate to throw the question open.
Aelia is the name of her mother. I don't see how that makes her part of the gens Aelia. Aelia's father was a Romanized Frank named Flavius Bauto. In any case she would be considered part of her father's gens and there is only speculation that he may be descended from the gens Flavia.
A few years ago, John Atkins and I got together and tried to clean up some of the Later Roman Period and agreed to use the gens naming system (notice LNABS like "Flavii", which is pluralized form of Flavius). So wherever we could, we went ahead and started cleaning up. Obviously, it wasn't always possible to clean-up LNABS ... but we did make some progress.


We put up a space page called, Later Roman Empire:



Wikipedia normally gives the full name of a person (it's not uncommon for gens to be at the beginning of the name), so that's a good spot to start to check ... but there's another site that John and I used to read do a lot of Roman work. ... Check the space page (website might be there) and for anyone who wants to continue cleaning up the Romans (which also includes marking any BC that needs to be removed ... hopefully that's mostly done, but if you see any ... they need to go:)


Also, don't forget to consult with John Atkins! I'm sure John will be interested to see this next leg of the clean-up and might have something valuable to share.
Somewhere I stumbled upon a help page for pre 792 or was it 693 folks. I'm on road and can't easily find it now.
The problem I'm having here is twofold: First, women did belong to the gens of their fathers and her name is that of her mother. While an argument could be made for her mother that she continued the nomen Aelia because her husband was originally Frankish and, therefore, did not belong to any Roman gens, that does not hold for Pulcheria since she is the daughter of an emperor and would be considered to belong to his gens. Second, during the imperial period in Rome Roman citizenship did get granted to ever increasing numbers of people - and everybody gaining citizenship automatically got the nomen of the emperor at that time, thus completely obliterating the usefulness of the nomen gentilicium to establish family relationships. Therefore, using the gens as LNAB may be entirely appropriate for the republic and the early empire, but for the time in question here it's like putting Rosa Luxemburg in the House of Luxembourg just because they have the same last name.
Great comment! The later roman period does get crazy when it comes to gens. I won't disagree there. So keep the insight coming. When John wakes up (he's on Aussie time), I'm sure he'll rack his brain too:)
I think I would go with the House name because of the unanswerable questions about using the gens in this case.

That would also avoid another problem with her father's line: Using the gens they would be Flavii, but hen there is the unattributed claim on the English Wikipedia site for Theodosius claiming descent from the Iulii. As far as I can trace them back the family appears in the records as landowners in Spain without any sourced connection to either the Flavii or the Iulii.
+2 votes
Here is the general GENS pages on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gens (overview)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_gentes (great go to list)


I recommend really reading it through (especially the List of Roman Gentes). BTW ... John and I *really* hashed it out when it came to agreeing on Gens. So I want everyone to know that we were in no way off the cuff about the naming system. We went over it at length for some days. And since the Gens isn't really that intuitive (at first)... it's a naming system that should be read over. And once that's out of the way ... it will start to feel second nature :D

One thing that John really wanted to be clear on...is that GENS on Wikitree should be pluralized. And I'm pretty sure that in the event you can't find the gens... go for the HOUSE name. So for example ... if we did not know Pulcheria's gens... John and I would probably conclude to use the Theodosian house name --  like the way the House of Wessex is used on WikiTree as an LNAB. (Note that Wikipedia already lists out the Houses for notable Romans in the right hand column of a single person's page).
by Bree Ogle G2G6 (9.7k points)
edited by Bree Ogle
This is all very helpful.  Bree, I think you're maybe referring to John Atkinson?  I tried to find a John Atkins on WikiTree who was still living and managed his own profile but couldn't find one!  

I created [[Category: Theodosian Dynasty]] as a way of grouping all the profiles potentially affected by this discussion, and put on the category page a link to the free space profile you created, [[Space:  Later Roman Empire]].  If you spot other pages in WikiTree that could be profitably referenced on this category page, please name them.  Or Wikipedia pages as well.

My hope at the end of this would be that we not only have the current scintillating discussion on G2G, but end up with profiles and links so any reader will be able to understand why we did what we did!
Yes... John the boss man. IMHO, he'll definitely want a stake in the LNAB, so it's good there's no rush to change it :D

We never dropped the ball on the Romans but sort of hit a brick wall since the main goal was to either get rid of the BC profiles (which WikiTree mostly took care of and redirected to Wikipedia) ... or straighten out the tree as best we could.

I would say that while the Romans are being primped ... it may lead into (in some cases) the Byzantine profiles. Last I checked ... that block looked like a hot mess (but it's been a while). And some Roman profiles also weave in and out of what appears to be Biblical Jewish profiles? A few I found to be extraordinarrily speculative ... So that neck of the tree does need some assistance if anyone is willing. It's definitely a niche project and I suspect that very few members are (or were) willing to take it on (including moi:D ... but it would be wonderful if somebody would!

I applaud you for embarking on the Roman quest. It's no easy task to do alone!
Of course John will have a stake in the LNAB -- he's the one who will have to take the PPP off if it's to be changed!

As one of the few members of the Euroaristo pre-742 project, I believe I'll be involved with these profiles over the long term but it won't be fast!  Now that the pre-BCE profiles have pretty well been deleted, the post-BCE profiles need to at least be sensible, linked to the correct relatives, and refer people to where they can get more information.

Yes, Roman profiles have been steppingstones for people who want to connect Welsh legends, European aristocracy, Byzantine emperors, Arabian caliphs, Jewish Babylonian exilarchs, and Biblical characters.  It's all fascinating and the best place to make those connections would be a series of free-space profiles, where the primary narrative can be about the authors of the material and what they sought to accomplish rather than the lists of names themselves!  I actually got started on genealogy as a teenager mapping out the descendants of Adam in the Bible.  I had a huge chart created when along came the Flood and wiped out everyone but Noah and his family.  I don't think I've wanted to create a huge chart since!

Oh, and having something like this to do alone is pure recreation for someone's introvert tendencies.  I do this sort of thing to re-charge my batteries after having intense discussions about categorization!
This was passed on to me.  I'll add it to the discussion here so it doesn't get lost:


Very detailed and authoritative.
Sounds like you are going to have a lot of fun with this! :D

I'll admit ... I myself have an ongoing fascination with the Roman period ... but I'm more into books and film in this regard. I doubt that I would ever have gotten caught in the WikiTree line were it not for having a family from Northumberland. When I first arrived here, the 2011 imports (as is) still dominated the top of the tree and I wound up running into some really strange Welsh tales. It was all new to me because I had never seen anything in my family tree that really talked about the Welsh per se ... as much of the established Ogle history tends to focus only on the men and cap the discussion during the era of the Conqueror. But as I kept studying, these tales kept popping up from allied families and their surrounding relatives ... So somehow ... I wound up reading about so many Romans LOL! ... And while I probably may be a bit *strict* in the manner of my sourcing, etc ... I still find these tales to be enjoyable reads! Cheers to the Welsh for never-ending entertainment:)

John and I were constantly at that site. He likes that one as the jump for sourcing. Me too:)

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