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Cicero's Role ModelsThe Political Strategy of a Newcomer$
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Henriette van der Blom

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582938

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582938.001.0001

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Nobilis and homo novus

Nobilis and homo novus

(p.35) 4 Nobilis and homo novus
Cicero's Role Models

Henriette van der Blom

Oxford University Press

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

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