Posthumus Preamble

The origin of the name Posthumus

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Rome the municipal state
Roman familylife (Dutch)
Cicero (Dutch and English)

Since the beginning of the era
From Agrippa Postumus in Rome up to and including Chuck Posthumus in Holland Michigan (US) (Dutch)

Emperor Postumus
From: Dr. W.A. van Es, de Romeinen in Nederland. (Dutch)

Roman-Frisian right
History of jurisdiction in Friesland (Dutch)

The Imperial Decree from 18 july 1811
- The meaning for Friesland (Dutch)
- Registration of the family name Posthumus (Dutch and English)

The pedigree of Gerrit Hielkesz. (Dutch)

Posthumus and genealogy, with references to other websites (Dutch)

A nice page with interesting tidings and references to other websites. (Dutch)

Summary sources

Dutch - Nederlands


The World Heritage List of UNESCO


Inca expedition:
Ecuador, Peru en Bolivia
Trans-Mongolian Railway:
Russia - Mongolia - China

Since 1811 the name Posthumus came to stay as surname in The Netherlands and in countries whereto Dutchmen emigrated. All those families fall back on a Frisian ancestor, because only in the province Friesland they registred themselves at the registration service under the name Posthumus or Postumus, by Decree of 18 august 1811 of emperor Napoleon.

The Roman (nick)name Postumus is a law-term written for the first time in Rome in the fifth century before the beginning of the era. In this story you read how the Frisians succeed in letting to live on the name across a part of the world in the many families with the name Posthumus.

The origin according to dictionary and encyclopedia
In The Netherlands the name Posthumus means 'born after the death of the father'. By some it is considered as a combination of two Latin words post and humus, but is to be reduced from the Etruscan poster via the Latin posterus to postumus.

Post is Latin for ´after´. Of humus the Dutch dictionary Van Dale gives the folowing definition: "The dark matter arised by rotting and moulder of plants and other organic matters in the soil, which is indispensable for the fertility of the ground." The word is according to Van Dale for the first time used in a Dutch text in 1828. 4

The sense of the word posthume by the Grande Larousse is 'born after the death of the father'. It comes from the Latin postumus last-born, that under the influence of the word humus soil changed into posthumus. 5

In English-speaking countries they are acquainted with the word posthumous, mostly used as published after the death of the author or maker, or especially to a child born after the fathers death.
Further the Encyclopaedia Brittannica says about that: The Latin postumus, latest, last, from which the word is derived, is formed from post, after, but it was in Late Latin connected with humare, to place in the ground (humus), to bury. 6

The German encyclopedia Brockhaus says postum (wrong posthum) in the sense of last-born, born after the fathers death, and the word postumus (wrong posthumus) in the sense of nachgeborener.
There are 2 senses under nachgeborene, the most interesting is the second:

    "2) nach der Auflösung einer Ehe oder dem Tode des Vaters geborene Kinder (latein. Postumi). Erbrechtlich werden sie so behandelt, als seien sie noch zu Lebzeiten des Vaters geboren."
[Translation: Children born after a divorce or the dead of the father (in Latin Postumi). According to the law of succession they are treated as born in the lifetime of the father.] 7

In the Dutch encyclopedia Winkler Prins is written: Postumi (singular postumus) are in Roman Law as well children born after the fathers death as those born after making the will. By their birth a drawn up will is null and void, which lead to many complications. 8

Postumus is a superlative of posterus says the Dictionary Latin/Dutch (Woordenboek Latijn/Nederlands). The book mentioned two senses:
A. last born, last arised, classical alone as juridical terminus technicus born after (after the fathers death); as substantive male descendant.
B. last; tua postuma proles (Verg.). [quotation Vergilius: your last child]. In case Postumus [with a capital] it is a Roman nickname. 9

On 3 july 1999 it can be read as well on the page for children Roots of the Saturday Plus of The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India. 10

The Etruscan Vocabulary knows for posterus also a word:
PVSTER (L. posterus [poster]-a-um, subsequent, following, next, future; in posteum, for the next day or for the future; m. pl. as subst. posterity; Compar. posterior-us, next, later; inferior, worse; n. acc. as adv. posterius, later. Superl. postremus-a-um, hindmost, last, lowest, worst. N. abl as adv. postremo, at last; n. acc. postremum, for the last time; ad postremum, at last. Superl. postumus-a-um, the last, last-born [esp. of children born after the father's will or death; It. posteri, m. pl. posterity; posteria, f. general store; posteriore, adj. posterior, behind, back; Fr. postérieur, adj. posterior, subsequent, later, behind, back; m. behind, backside, rear). 11

The Winkler Prins and the Brockhaus mentioned the plural postumi. During the Roman Era Postumius only exists as a surname. About this and how the Etruscans founded Rome, the consul write the law that explains the juridical term postumus, you read on the next page.

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DAVID Jacques Louis (1748-1825). Napoleon in his study in the Tuileries Palace. Washington, National Gallery of Art 3
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