My “research” into a background story for a Batavian Roman character.
Mostly notes, bookmarks and tidbits lumped on one big pile. I might organise this better into multiple pages, but it’s very much a work in progress!
- It started with just only trying to find a name, but that depended upon the historical period: upon attaining roman citizenship, “provincials” usually took the family name or nomen from the current emperor or imperial dynasty, and the cognomen of their promotor or supporter into roman civil life. I wanted a name from around the Batavian Revolt (69 AD, or 823 AUC), which also saw the Year of the Four Emperors. So citizens who earned their name before that were often called “Julius” or “Claudius”, and after that often “Flavius”. See also the examples of historical batavian characters below.
- So, a Batavian name then, because that’s where I live: that is, technically in the area of the Canninefates, but coming from a smaller tribe practically similar to the Batavians, and treated the same, they might often have introduced themselves as Batavian to the average Roman, as that name was (in)famous among the Romans for being the fiercest (and most sought after) warriors of the Roman Empire (in fact, the Imperial German bodyguard was mostly comprised of Batavians, and as a client/subject kingdom they were uniquely exempt from regular taxes and tribute, as “they furnished to the Empire naught but men and arms” (Tacitus). That is, an estimated 50% percent of the male population enlisted in the roman legion as auxilaries when they came of age (or, while only 0.05% of the empire’s population, they provided about 4% of it’s auxilia).
Most likely then, our persona would have earned his citizenship through service in the legions as an auxiliary, or, in the case of descendence from the local nobility, would have been a commander, leading one of these units as an officer (and more likely to have been quite romanised).
- What follows is a list of Batavian historical characters I’ve found, where I will have a look at the name, and in what time-period they lived, and hopefully infer some common themes on which I can base my roman name.
This is not complete information as I’ve only, quite haphazardly, copy-pasted the few bits that I felt were relevant, or I thought were interesting. I’ve put it under a button, to hopefully reduce the picture-heavy load of this page. Below that, I might paste some more information on the Batavian Revolt, it’s consequences and how the area changed afterwards, and perhaps draw a little map of the local area, to flesh out the background of our character.