<i>Nobilis</i> and <i>homo novus</i>

Henriette van der Blom

in Cicero's Role Models

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582938
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723124 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Nobilis and homo novus

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Cicero was a homo novus, but what did that mean in a late republican context? In this chapter, the terms homo novus and nobilis are discussed. A discussion of the various definitions set out in modern scholarship and a close analysis of Cicero's flexible employment of the two terms are offered. It is argued that the variety of uses in the sources suggests that strict definitions are unhelpful and misleading; flexibility in terminology reflects better the political rhetoric of the late republic. Furthermore, Cicero's exploitation of an ideology of novitas which advocates true virtue to reside in new men as opposed to degenerate nobiles is situated within the context of the earlier oratory of Cato Maior and the later presentation of Marius in Sallust's Bellum Jugurthinum.

Keywords: Nobilis; Nobilitas; Homo novus, novitas; Cato Maior; Sallust; Marius; ideology of novitas

Chapter.  12424 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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