Nobiles

noblenobilisnobilitasRoman nobilitynoble womennobilityplebeian nobilityRoman nobleennobledhighly distinguished
During the Roman Republic, nobilis ("noble", nobilitas, plural nobiles) was a descriptive term of social rank, usually indicating that a member of the family had achieved the consulship.wikipedia
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Nobility

noblemannoblenobles
During the Roman Republic, nobilis ("noble", nobilitas, plural nobiles) was a descriptive term of social rank, usually indicating that a member of the family had achieved the consulship.
In ancient Roman society, nobiles originated as an informal designation for the political governing class who had allied interests, including both patricians and plebeian families (gentes) with an ancestor who had risen to the consulship through his own merit (see novus homo, "new man").

Roman Republic

RomanRepublicRomans
During the Roman Republic, nobilis ("noble", nobilitas, plural nobiles) was a descriptive term of social rank, usually indicating that a member of the family had achieved the consulship.
About a dozen remaining patrician gentes and twenty plebeian ones thus formed a new elite, called the nobiles, or Nobilitas.

Patrician (ancient Rome)

patricianpatrikiospatricians
Those who belonged to the hereditary patrician families were noble, but plebeians whose ancestors were consuls were also considered nobiles.
Plebeians of the senatorial class were no less wealthy than patricians at the height of the republic.

Novus homo

homo novusnovi hominesnew man
The transition to nobilitas thus required the rise of a non-noble individual to the consulship, who was considered a "new man" (novus homo).
The consuls came from a new elite, the nobiles (noblemen), an artificial aristocracy of all who could demonstrate direct descent in the male line from a consul.

Cicero

Marcus Tullius CiceroCiceronianTully
Two of the most famous examples of these self-made "new men" were Gaius Marius, who held the consulship seven times, and Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Cicero was neither a patrician nor a plebeian noble; his rise to political office despite his relatively humble origins has traditionally been attributed to his brilliance as an orator.

Plebs

plebeianplebeiansplebe
Those who belonged to the hereditary patrician families were noble, but plebeians whose ancestors were consuls were also considered nobiles.
During the Second Samnite War (326–304 BC), plebeians who had risen to power through these social reforms began to acquire the aura of nobilitas, "nobility" (more literally "notability"), marking the creation of a ruling elite of nobiles that allied the interests of patricians and noble plebeians.

Social class

classsocial classesclasses
During the Roman Republic, nobilis ("noble", nobilitas, plural nobiles) was a descriptive term of social rank, usually indicating that a member of the family had achieved the consulship.

Roman consul

consulsuffect consulconsulship
During the Roman Republic, nobilis ("noble", nobilitas, plural nobiles) was a descriptive term of social rank, usually indicating that a member of the family had achieved the consulship.

Gaius Marius

MariusMarianCaius Marius
Two of the most famous examples of these self-made "new men" were Gaius Marius, who held the consulship seven times, and Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Samnite Wars

Second Samnite WarThird Samnite WarFirst Samnite War
The Second Samnite War (326–304 BC) was a formative time in the creation of this ruling elite comprising both patricians and plebeians who had risen to power.

Ticket (election)

ticketticketselection ticket
From the mid-4th century to the early 3rd century BC, several plebeian-patrician "tickets" for the consulship repeated joint terms, suggesting a deliberate political strategy of cooperation.

Fergus Millar

Millar, FergusSir Fergus MillarF. G. B. Millar
Fergus Millar points out that nobilis was a descriptive word as used in the Late Republic, and not a technical term for a restricted social group in the sense of peerage.

Peerage

peerpeerspeeress
Fergus Millar points out that nobilis was a descriptive word as used in the Late Republic, and not a technical term for a restricted social group in the sense of peerage.

Matthias Gelzer

Matthias Gelzer held that the term was reserved for descendants of consuls, and therefore reckoned that Munatius Plancus, consul designate for 42 BC, was the last man to qualify as an ancestor for a nobilis.

Lucius Munatius Plancus

Munatius PlancusPlancusL. Munatius Plancus
Matthias Gelzer held that the term was reserved for descendants of consuls, and therefore reckoned that Munatius Plancus, consul designate for 42 BC, was the last man to qualify as an ancestor for a nobilis.

Peter Brunt

P.A. BruntP. A. BruntBrunt
P.A. Brunt, building on the view of Theodor Mommsen, assembled evidence of broader usage that suggests any curule office might grant the aura of nobilitas.

Theodor Mommsen

MommsenTheodore MommsenChristian Matthias Theodor Mommsen
P.A. Brunt, building on the view of Theodor Mommsen, assembled evidence of broader usage that suggests any curule office might grant the aura of nobilitas.

Curule seat

curule chairsella curuliscurule
P.A. Brunt, building on the view of Theodor Mommsen, assembled evidence of broader usage that suggests any curule office might grant the aura of nobilitas.

Augustus

OctavianCaesar AugustusAugustus Caesar
During the time of Augustus, a nobilis enjoyed easier access to the consulship, with a lowered age requirement perhaps set at 32.

Principate

Roman Principateearly EmpirePrinceps civitatis
Women who descended from Augustan consuls are also regarded as belonging to the Roman nobility.

Tacitus

Publius Cornelius TacitusCornelius TacitusGaius Cornelius Tacitus
In the usage of Tacitus and Pliny Minor, a nobilis is a descendant of the Republican aristocracy.

Pliny the Younger

PlinyPliniusyounger Pliny
In the usage of Tacitus and Pliny Minor, a nobilis is a descendant of the Republican aristocracy.

Roman Empire

RomanRomansEmpire
The meaning of nobilis then evolved during the Imperial period.

Cursus honorum

political careerpolitical career trackcareer
*Cursus honorum