- A persona, in the word's everyday usage, is a social role or a character played by an actor
- The word is derived from Latin, where it originally referred to a theatrical mask
- The Latin word probably derived from the Etruscan word "phersu", with the same meaning, and that from the Greek πρόσωπον (prosōpon)
- Its meaning in the latter Roman period changed to indicate a "character" of a theatrical performance or court of law, when it became apparent that different individuals could assume the same role, and legal attributes such as rights, powers, and duties followed the role
- The same individuals as actors could play different roles, each with its own legal attributes, sometimes even in the same court appearance
- According to other sources, which also admit that the origin of the term is not completely clear, persona could possibly be related to the Latin verb per-sonare, literally: sounding through, with an obvious link to the above-mentioned theatrical mask
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