Denominations according to gender: the Greek/indigenous context

According to Dan Dana and Madalina Dana (Dana/Dana 2013: 291, in French in the text), the Greek/indigenous context shows how denomination varies according to gender. This variability is linked with strategies of presence within “the public sphere”: “On epitaphs the name Ἕλλην appears in the case of eight men from Odessos, while their daughters bore predominantly indigenous names. In the same city, the rate of indigenous names is much higher among women than among men. Odessos was very rich in epitaphs, characterized by the formula “So-And-So, son of So-And-So, with his wife So-And-So, daughter of So-And-So”. Three out of four names for women were indigenous, almost always followed by a Greek patronymic. In most cases, however, their husbands bore a Greek first name and patronymic. There may be two reasons for this: either the Greek name was given at birth or, most commonly, it later replaced the indigenous name (or it was added to it, hence the ὁ καὶ formula). At the most, the presence of Greek patronymics, or of other kin bearing Greek names, indicates an older onomastic integration rather than demographic diversity. One cannot help but bring up Greco-Roman Egypt: J. Bingen [Bingen 1991] had pointed out a similar attitude in the Egyptian “gymnasial class” (οἱ ἀπὸ γυμνασίου), for instance at Hermopolis and Leontopolis. Although he notes the obvious rarity of Egyptian names for men (who are much more prominent in the public space), he observes how frequently they appear among women. The same gender differenciation concerning Greek and indigeneous names occurs in Syria”.


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