The Ethos Of The Roman Nobility

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The ethos of the Roman nobility at the time of the second century BCE was driven by ambitious military and political careers. These where brought about by a rigorous set of ideals which were built upon Rome’s cultural foundations. “The four terms that ascribe such a rigorous set of ideals are gloria, nobilitas, virtus and auctoritas ”.
The beginning of the third century BCE saw a new elite emerging in Roman society—the nobiles (nobles).These people were a mixture of patricians and plebeians who had held the highest office (the consulate), or whose fathers or forefathers had done so. This new hereditary ruling class of nobilitas (nobility) controlled the senate and, thanks to their array of clients and their own prestige, the popular assemblies as well .
“The Roman nobility were obsessed with morality and the pursuit of power, glory, position and prestige ”. The term Nobilitas referred to someone who was well known in the community that had risen out of the wealthy plebian and patrician families whom had gained power and political office. Every Roman noble wanted to be well known and also remembered in death, and their funerals and tombstones where dedicated to the exploits of their lives. An extract from the tombstone of Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Hispanus reads “By my good conduct I heaped virtues on the virtues of my clan; I begat a family and sought to equal the exploits of my father. I upheld the praise of my ancestors, so they are glad that I was created of their line.

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