Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Form: Nobilitas.

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The aristocracy of office, which at Rome took the place of the patrician aristocracy of birth, after the admission of the plebeians to all the offices of state and the levelling of the distinction between patricians and plebeians consequent thereon. It comprised those patrician and plebeian families whose members had held one of the curule magistracies. These families, for the most part the most illustrious and wealthy, had the influence and money, which afforded them the necessary means to canvass for and hold an office. Thus, in spite of the theoretical equality of rights now existing, they almost completely excluded from the higher magistracies all citizens who had neither wealth nor noble relatives to support them. It was quite exceptional for a man who did not belong to the nobility to be fortunate enough to attain to them. If he did so, he was styled a homo novus (a new man, an upstart). It was one of the privileges of the nobility that they enjoyed the right to possess images of their ancestors. (See IMAGINES.)
Type: Standard
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