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Is there a term historians use for an unknown person?

Is there a term historians use for an unknown person?



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History documentaries (especially about the ancient past) often use representative actors to illustrate the narration. This usually happens when describing events where the participant's names are unknown. If someone wanted to use this method in a written work, they could use a phrase like “for example, humans… ” and generalize. But is there a more specific term that historians use?

Examples: Ancient human remains are given names such as Ötzi because the human's real name is unknown. Similar cases are "Pete Marsh" in lieu of "Lindow Man" and "Ginger" referring to one of the Gebelein mummies.

A second example is the use of "Nomen Nescio" which is similar to the English use of "John Doe."

A third example is shown in this excerpt from Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: A Textbook on History and Religion by K. L. Noll.

In summary, what phrase would describe unknown persons, either when the real name is unknown or their existence is unrecorded? Based on what I've looked at so far, a term used in the study of Counterfactual history could be relevant.

To be extra clear and to avoid discussion, this is not asking what the 'best' or 'ideal' term would be, only whether such a term exists or not.


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