Noreña Handout

Jugate heads of Honos and Virtus right (obverse); Italia on left and Roma on right, clasping hands; between clasped hands, cornucopia; behind Italia, caduceus; Roma wears diadem, holding parazonium, places right foot on globe; on left, inscription; on right, inscription (reverse), RRC 403/1; BM1843,0116.530
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The Exclusionary Politics of the Late-Republican Aristocracy

Carlos Noreña (

  1. Caesar on his dignitas (BC 1.9)

sibi semper primam fuisse dignitatem vitaque potiorem.

“(He said that) he had always put his own dignitas first and that it was more important than his life.”

Cf. Cic. Part. Or. 90: “there are two kinds of men, one uneducated and rustic, who always puts what is useful above what is honorable, and the other civilized and cultivated (humanum et politum), who puts his dignitas above everything.” (reference links to Latin; public domain full translation also available)

  1. Epitaph for L. Cornelius Scipio, cos. 259 BCE (CIL 12 9 = CIL 6.1287 = ILS 3 = ILLRP 310)

Honc oino ploirume cosentiont Romai | duonoro optumo fuise viro | Luciom Scipione. Filios Barbati | consol censor aidilis hic fuet apud vos | hec cepit Corsica Aleriaque urbe | dedet Tempestatebus aide meretod votam.

“Romans generally agree that this one man, Lucius Scipio, was the best man. Son of Barbatus, he was consul, censor, and aedile among you. He took Corsica and the city of Aleria and dedicated a temple to the Storms as a deserved offering.”

  1. Funeral Oration for Q. Caecilius Metellus, 221 BCE (ORF4 6 F2 = Plin. NH 7.139-40)

Q. Metellus…scriptum reliquit decem maximas res optimasque, in quibus quaerendis sapientes aetatem exigerent, consummasse eum: voluisse enim primarium bellatorem esse, optimum oratorem, fortissimum imperatorem, auspicio suo maximas res geri, maximo honore uti, summa sapientia esse, summum senatorem haberi, pecuniam magnam bono modo invenire, multos liberos relinquere et clarissimum in civitate esse; haec contigisse ei nec ulli alii post Romam conditam.  (Taken from LacusCurtius)

Metellus . . . has left it in writing that his father had achieved the ten greatest and highest objects in the pursuit of which wise men pass their lives: for he had made it his aim to be the best warrior, the best public speaker and the bravest general, for the most important matters to be conducted under his authority, to enjoy the greatest honor, to be supremely wise, to be judged the most eminent senator, to obtain great wealth in an honorable way, to leave behind many children, and to be the most famous man in the state.

  1. Virtues attributed to Caesar in Cicero’s Pro Marcello

mansuetudo (“gentleness”), §1; liberalitas (“generosity”), 19; magnitudo animi (“magnanimity”), 19; aequitas (“fairness”), 12, 31; clementia/misericordia (“mercy”), 1, 9, 12, 18; sapientia (“wisdom”), 1, 9, 18, 19.

Cf. Pro Deiotaro 26, characterizing King Dieotarus as fortis, iustus, severus, gravis, magnus animi, largus, beneficus, liberalis (“these are the royal praises,” regiae laudes).

  1. The virtues of Augustus’ Golden Shield (Res Gestae 34.2)

et clupeus aureus in curia Iulia positus, quem mihi senatum populumque Romanum dare virtutis clementiaeque et iustitiae et pietatis caussa testatum est per eius clupei inscriptionem

“… and a gold shield was placed in the Julian senate house, and the inscription on that shield testified to the virtue, mercy, justice, and piety for which the senate and Roman people gave it to me.”

Round, marble shield, with curved face, on which the inscription is placed, surrounded by a border of 10 cm width. A post at the base of the shield and bronze clasp indicate that it originally stood on a pillar, originally from the sanctuary for emperor worship in the colonia of Arelate; AE 1952, 165, Arles Museum. Image links to further information.

The shield is also illustrated on some 40 coin types.

  1. New virtues proclaimed by Roman aristocrats in the early empire

fides, obsequium, industria (with MacLean 2018: ch. 2)

Some References

Clark, Anna, Divine Qualities: Cult and Community in Republican Rome (2007).

Flaig, Egon, Ritualisierte Politik: Zeichen, Gesten und Herrschaft im Alten Rom (2003).

Flower, Harriet, Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture (1996).

Hellegouarc’h, Joseph, Le vocabularie latin des relations et des partis politiques sous la République (1963).

Hölkeskamp, Karl-Joachim, Reconstructing the Roman Republic: An Ancient Political Culture and Modern Research, transl. H. Heitmann-Gordon (2010).

Hölscher, Tonio, Staatsdenkmal und Publikum: vom Untergang der Republik bis zur Festigung des Kaisertums in Rom (1984).

MacLean, Rose, Freed Slaves and Roman Imperial Culture: Social Integration and the Transformation of Values (2018).

Noreña, Carlos, Imperial Ideals in the Roman West: Representation, Circulation, Power (2011).

Rosíllo-Lopez, Cristina, Public Opinion and Politics in the Late Roman Republic (2017).

Russell, Amy, The Politics of Public Space in Republican Rome (2016).

A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP AVG P M TR P Laureate and draped bust r. Rev. HONOS ET VIRTVS Honos, bare from the waist up, standing r., holding long vertical sceptre in r. hand and cornucopiae in l., facing Virtus, in military attire, standing l., holding parazonium in r. hand and vertical spear in l., r. foot on helmet. In exergue, S C. RIC 113