New Man Posted by on Sep 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

Homo Novus which is the Latin term for “New Man”, refers to a Roman citizen who becomes the first man in his family to be elected as a consul. Normally the office of consul was restricted to patrician men. There were special cases when men of plebian rank obtained the rank of consul. The term Homo Novus was especially used to refer to these plebian men.

You might be surprised to know that Marcus Tullius Cicero was not born into a patrician family. He became a homo novus when he was elected to be consul in 63 B.C. Cicero was known to be a great orator, but his speeches created many enemies who wanted to kill him. He was murdered by Mark Antony, and his head was dismembered and displayed in public.


Publius Cornelius Tacitus  is chiefly known today as a historian, but he was also a soldier and an orator as well. Tacitus was elected as a consul in AD 97. There is little record of his birth, but historians have suggested he came from an ordinary family and moved up the ranks to become a consul of Rome. We don’t have all his works, but the ones we do have are considered to be reliable accounts of history.


Marcus Porcius Cato also known as Cato the Elder, came from an agricultural family. Cato lived a frugal life and he expected others to do the same. Although the upper class resented his tax on luxuries, they did respect that he lived what he preached. Upon Cato’s death, he was honored for being an upstanding Roman citizen.


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  1. Charles Laster:

    The last fellow looks almost like my grandfather.