Guidelines for finding the nominative of Latin Personal Names

1st Declension (-a, -ae):

Nom. Mari-a
Gen. Mari-ae
Dat. Mari-ae
Acc. Mari-am
Abl. Mari-a

2nd Declension (-us, -i):

Nom. Nicola-us Alexander
Gen. Nicola-i Alexandr-i
Dat. Nicola-o Alexandr-o
Acc. Nicola-um Alexandr-um
Abl. Nicola-o Alexandr-o

3rd Declension:

Nom. Joannes Leo Caesar
Gen. Joann-is Leon-is Caesar-is
Dat. Joann-i Leon-i Caesar-i
Acc. Joann-em Leon-em Caesar-em
Abl. Joann-e Leon-e Caesar-e

A few more guidelines ...

  • Latin masculine names are predominantly 2nd or 3rd declension (but there are a few exceptions that are 1st declension and they should end in -a).  Feminine names are generally 1st declension.
  • Two major practices seem to be present in the formation of masculine names in Latin:
    • Either a name is Latinized into a standard 2nd declension form (e.g. Henricus, Iacobus, etc.), causing it to have the usual -us form in the nominative
    • Or else it keeps its usual form in the nominative case and is declined only in the other cases either following 2nd declension (e.g. Alexander, -dri) or, more often, the 3rd declension (e.g. Joannes, -is, or Leo, -nis, etc.).
  • Names seem to usually only follow the first three declensions.
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