Review of T.P. Wiseman's New Men in the Roman State

Paul Gifford


In this work, Wiseman sets out to examine the role of the novus homo in the Roman Senate. Rather than attempt to deal with the earlier period of the Republic, an era for which we have little evidence of most senatorial Romans--let alone new men. Wiseman takes as his starting point the passage of the lex Gabinia in 139 BC.1 This law imposed a secret ballot, meaning magisterial candidates were no longer bound so tightly to the patronage of the nobilitas, and easing the way for those ambitious and talented enough to forge their own way into the senate.

Full Text: