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To me, it seems as though stage names did not become very common until recently. Maybe I am wrong, but either way, this got me wondering what the first recorded instance of a stage name is. I am curious to see how far back in time it is and which culture it was in.

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What is the first recorded instance of a stage name?

First I used Google Ngram Viewer

This gave the earliest use of "stage name" as around 1800.

Then I searched Google Books using "stage name" 1800 - Google Search

This returned English Literature and Books Printed in England Prior to 1800 books.google.co.uk › books

with the following extract:

Found inside – Page 47 ... designed to commemorate the personality and distinguished acting career of M.-E. Joly ( 1761-1798 ) , was edited by Du Lomboy whom she married in 1781 ; she had insisted in continuing to use her maiden name as a stage name.

(emphasis mine)

So the earliest usage I can find is somewhere between 1761-1798 probably around 1781 by Marie Elisabeth Joly (a French Actress):

Marie Elisabeth Joly

Also known as

Marie Elisabeth Joly primary name: Joly, Marie Elisabeth other name: Joly, Marie

Details

individual; actor/entertainer; French; Female

Life dates

1761-1798

Biography

Actress; performed from an early age; debut at the Comédie-Française in 1781. Married cavalry officer Nicolas Fouquet Dulomboy.

Source: Collections Online | British Museum

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Not sure, whether actors are also asked for, given that this is Music Fans; if so Turlupin (French Wikipedia) was a stage name of Henri Legrand, 1587-1637, so stage names seem not exactly to be a new appearance.

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