A gens represents a loose social group within the modern Roman Republic. This social group forms a Roman family that often consists of blood and voluntary relations. Many gentes (plural of gens), informally are associated with various common themes. Some are associated with a particular geographic region, others by interests or occupations. Many are simply groups of citizens who simply befriend each other and form close relations.
One’s gens is indicated in their Roman name. A Roman name consists of:
PRAENOMEN NOMEN COGNOMEN
Titus Iulius Gemellus
The nomen indicates the gens (Iulia in the example above).
Many actual blood relation based families are a branch within a larger gens indicated by the combination of Nomen and Cognomen.
Decimus Iunius Brutus – Maior* (Paterfamilias of household)
Publius Iunius Brutus (Son of Decimus Iunius Brutus – Maior)
Lucia Hostilia Scaura** (Publius Iunius Brutus’ wife)
Lucia Iunia Bruta (daughter of Publius Iunius Brutus & Lucia Hostilia Scaura)
Decimus Iunius Brutus – Minor* (son of Publius Iunius Brutus & Lucia Hostilia Scaura)
Titus Iunius Varro (Non-blood relation who is a member of gens Iunia)
*Maior (Elder), Minor (Younger) is often used to distinuish members within the same family. Alternatively Primus (First), Secundus (Second) etc. can be used.
**Traditionally women keep their paternal gens nomen+cognomen. However, many women in the modern Roman Republic also adopt the nomen+cognomen of their husband’s, or vice-versa.
A gens is encouraged to form their own private groups (Societas). You may search to see if your gens has a Societas here. If your gens does not have a societas you may create one here (note: you must be logged in and your tax class must be I to IV – update your tax class here).