The name was said by Varro to be derived from the Sabine word terenus,
which signified " soft" (Macr. 2.9
.) The Terentii are mentioned as early as B. C. 462, for the C. Terentillus Arsa, who was tribune of the plebs in that year (Liv. 3.9
), must have belonged to the gens; and indeed he is called C. Terentius by Dionysius (10.1
The first member of the gens who obtained the consulship was C. Terentius Varro, who commanded at the fatal battle of Cannae in B. C. 216; and persons of the name continue to be mentioned under the early emperors.
The principal surnames of the Terentii during the republic are CULLEO, LUCANUS, and VARRO: there are a few others of less importance, which are given below under TERENTIUS.