Other Forms FormsAlfidius
Edit Status Status [show contributor]
Meaning & History
From the Roman nomen gentile Aufidius, which is of uncertain origin and meaning. The first element, au, may have been derived from the Latin preverb au "away, off", but it could also have been a phonetic variant of the Latin preverb ab "from". The second element could then have been derived from Latin fides "faith", which would then roughly give the name's meaning as either "away from faith" or "from faith". Alternatively, the name could have been derived from Aufidus, a river in Apulia that is nowadays known under the name Ofanto. Aufidus was a latinization of Greek Ophidous (Ωφιδους), which was derived from Greek ophiōdēs "snaky" or opheōdēs "snake-like", both ultimately derived from Greek ophis "snake, serpent". The Greek linguistic origin is due to the fact that Apulia, although located on the Italian peninsula, had been colonized by the ancient Greeks for several centuries until it was eventually conquered by Rome in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Lastly, there is also a possibility that the name is etymologically related to Aufidena (sometimes given as Alfidena), the name of a city in northern Samnium which was under control of the Caraceni, the most northern tribe of the Samnites. Since the Samnites mostly spoke Oscan, it is not unreasonable to assume that the city's name is also Oscan in origin. Oscan is an extinct Italic language, just like Latin - but note that it is a cousin of Latin, not actually descended from Latin itself. I don't know what the name of the city was in Oscan, but given how the language is related to Latin, the meaning may be the same (or close to) the possible Latin meaning that I had provided earlier. In history, bearers of this name were Roman historian Aufidius Bassus and Roman magistrate Marcus Aufidius Lurco, the latter of which was also the maternal grandfather of the Roman Empress Livia Drusilla (the third wife of Emperor Augustus). In Literature, this was the name of Tullus Aufidius, a Volscian general from William Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus. The character was based upon a real person, namely the wealthy Volscian noble Attius Tullus Aufidius, who lived in the 5th century BC.