Greetings, Trinomina, and Goodbyes (reposted)

   Aemilius Gallus recommended that this be reposted here to be more visible. 

  • First, the trinomina (as its name suggests) is divided into three parts: a personal name (praenomen), a “tribal” or gens name (nomen), and a nickname (cognomen) later on this became more of a specifier. In my case; Numerius is what a close friend or family would call me, Caelius would’ve been the name of my “tribe”, family, or father and Saturninus is a nickname to refer to me specifically if there is another Caelius. Note that people with the same nomen and gens aren’t usually related. Most people would probably refer to me as Caelius Saturninus or just Saturninus. Some people have honorifics attached (such as Dominitian, Augustus, or Germanicus) for specific actions and these are occasionally used in formal settings but not too often, mostly it is nomen + cognomen for formality.


  • Now onto greetings. Most people use “salve” (literally “save”) as “hello” to a single person: “Salve puer!” (Hello boy!), “Salve Iulius!” (Hello Julius). To a group, “salve” becomes “salvete“: “Salvete omnes” (Hello all), “Salvete discipuli et discipulae” (Hello [male and female] students). “Ave” (usually translated as “hail”) is usually used as a formal greeting: “Ave Iulius Consul” (Hail, Consul Julius). It can also be plural “avete“: “Avete omnes animae fideles” (Hail to all the faithful spirits). Whether they are plural or not depends on the subject(s) you are greeting.


  • For goodbyes, “valeo” (I will be strong) is often used though “vale” (strength) is more common and has a plural “valete“: “Valeo/Vale Numerius” (Goodbye Numerius), “Valete Senatores” (Goodbye senators).

For an example of what these should look like, I’ll use a an example from Traupman’s Conversational Latin:

  • Paulus: Salve, quid es nomen tibi?
  • GloriaSalve et tu! Mihi nomen est Gloria. Quid est nomen tibi?
  • Paulus: Nomen mihi est Paulus. Quid agis tu?
  • GloriaValeo, gratias. Quid agis tu?
  • Paulus: Valeo. Hui, ego te novi! Nonne in proximo vico habitas?
  • Gloria: Etiam habito.
  • Paulus: Quid novi tibi?
  • Gloria: Nihil novi. Vale Paule.
  • PaulusVale Gloria.

End of conversation.

  • Alternatively, “valesne” ([are you] not strong) can be used as “How are you doing?” and “saluta“/”salutare” (salute) as “Bless you” which can be the plural “salutem” (blessings) or “Greetings”: “Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant” (Hail, Commander, those who die bless you (past tense but gets the general idea).
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