Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-9dmbd Total loading time: 0.25 Render date: 2021-02-26T19:35:13.873Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2015

T.W. Hillard
Macquarie University
J.L. Beness
Macquarie University


It will be noticed that, in the stemma above, no line of descent is marked from the first generation registered therein to the following generations. The genealogy of the Emperor Nerva is customarily traced back to the consul of 36 b.c., M. Cocceius Nerva (above, right). This short note will underline the ancient testimony found amongst the Pseudacroniana tracing his descent from the latter's brother, the consummate diplomat (above, left). There are ramifications. Amongst the items of interest will be the light shone upon what Dio and Eutropius (and/or their sources) understood to be Nerva's standing at the time of his accession. Before passing on to Pseudacron's datum, it might be worthwhile pausing on that point, as well as briefly contemplating the factors that actually bore upon the emperor's ancestral training.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.



This paper arose as part of the Macquarie Dictionary of Roman Biography Project, generously funded in its initial phases by Dr Colleen McCullough-Robinson. The authors would like to thank the editor, Professor Bruce Gibson, the anonymous reader for CQ and our colleagues Professor Edwin Judge and Dr Patrick Tansey for a number of useful suggestions. This paper was completed during a sojourn at the British School at Rome in September 2013. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the characteristically unfailing support of the staff there.


1 This is vouchsafed by the versions of both Xiphilinus and Zonaras (9.20, pp. 62–3 Dind.).

2 C. Merivale, A History of the Romans Under the Empire, vol. 7 (London, 1862), 193–4; cf. 194 n. 1 for the direct citation of Eutropius.

3 This would seem unquestionably the way in which the term is used in medieval Latin; see e.g. William of Poitiers, Gesta Guillelmi (edited by R.H.C. Davis and M. Chibnall [Oxford, 1998]), 158–61 (milites uero mediae nobilitatis)—though that label permits varying translations also.

4 Nobilitas, in its original sense of ‘celebrated’ or ‘known’, was of course ever open to such a spectrum of readings, hence the comparative and superlative forms found respectively in the cognomen of one branch of the Fulvii (the Nobiliores) and in the classical usage of nobilissimus—which might mean, inter alia, notorious.

5 U. Vogel-Weidemann, Die Statthalter von Africa und Asia in den Jahren 14–68 n. Chr. Eine Untersuchung zum Verhältnis Princeps und Senat (Bonn, 1982), 32 n. 78, citing also E. Groag, ‘Prosopographische Beiträge’ JÖAI 21–22 (1922–4), B. 425–78, at 432.

6 The classic references are Cic. Off. 2.44 and Sall. Iug. 85.23; cf. K. Welch, ‘Lux and lumina in Cicero's Rome: a metaphor for the res publica and her leaders’, in K. Welch and T. Hillard (edd.), Roman Crossings. Theory and Practice in the Roman Republic (Swansea, 2005), 313–37, arguing that the illuminated elite reflected the light of public recognition.

7 Mur. 16, though in that particular case it was a nobilitas that had dimmed overtime. What was required was both memoria and sermo recens (implicitly, Cic. loc. cit.), the latter feeding the former. Again, the potential for gradations is clear.

8 For this meaning of nobilis in the Principate, see Gelzer, M., ‘Die Nobilität der Kaiserzeit’, Hermes 50 (1915), 395415 Google Scholar (= The Roman Nobility, tr. R. Seager [Oxford, 1969], 141–61); Otto, W., ‘Die Nobilität der Kaiserzeit’, Hermes 51 (1916), 7388 Google Scholar (in dissent); Stein, E., ‘Kleine Beiträge zur römischen Geschichte’, Hermes 52 (1917), 558–83Google Scholar, at 564–71; id., ‘Zur Kontroverse über die römischen Nobilität der Kaiserzeit’ (defending and modifying); E. Groag, ‘Zur Ämterlaufbahn der Nobiles in der Kaiserzeit’, Strena Buliciana (Zagreb, 1924), 253–6, at 254 (modifying). G. Barbieri, L'Albo Senatorio da Settimo Severo a Carino (193–285) (Rome, 1952), 474, suggests (with reference to Groag) that imperial nobiles were descendants of Republican senators (not consuls). The painstaking study by Hill, H., ‘Nobilitas in the Imperial period’, Historia 18 (1969), 230–50Google Scholar, opened by asserting that ‘Nobody, as far as I know, has since attempted to defend Gelzer's original thesis, which is clearly indefensible on the evidence of the Annals alone’ (232)—understandably unaware of the defence of Gelzer that would be issued in the same year by R. Seager in the introduction to his English translation of The Roman Nobility (xiii–xiv)—and closed by observing that the sources provide evidence of individuals (amongst them Otho, Vitellius and Titus) who acquired nobilitas after a.d. 14 and that ‘writers of the Imperial period were familiar with the process of ennoblement’ (250). Cf. Hill, op. cit., 232 nn. 9–10 (for the registration of other contributions); A. Garzetti, Nerva (Rome, 1950), 18–19 n. 3; R. Syme, Tacitus (Oxford, 1958), 654 nn. 2–4; Brunt, P.A., ‘The Lex Valeria Cornelia’, JRS 51 (1961), 7183 Google Scholar, at 74–5; Barnes, T.D., ‘Who were the nobility of the Roman empire?’, Phoenix 28 (1974), 444–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and, for a history of the discussion of the Republican concept of nobilitas (and further bibliography), U. Vogel-Weidemann (n. 5), 23–6 and attendant notes, 26–30 and nn. (for the Augustan and post-Augustan nobilitas). Eutropius’ datum is not an item discussed by Gelzer (the Cocceii are unregistered in his list at 150–1), who draws chiefly upon Pliny the Younger and Tacitus with a side glance at Velleius, Suetonius and the younger Seneca.

9 Even this is not unproblematic. Others have wished to read Sallust's ex factione media as ‘belonging to the moderate section of the nobility’ or even ‘from the middle faction’ (see the commentary of P. McGushin, Sallust. The Histories: Volume II [Oxford, 1994], 89). The rhetorical context of the Sallustian phrase (the tribune C. Licinius Macer's vitriolic denunciation of the dominatio paucorum, the opes nobilitatis, the factio noxiorum) favours the translation in the text above (i.e. that the target of Macer's hostile gaze was ‘The Nobility’ as Henderson, M.I. phrases it in her ‘Review of H.H. Scullard, Roman Politics, 220–150 b.c. ’, JRS 42 [1952], 114–16Google Scholar, at 115)—with McGushin (cited above) in accord.

10 D. Librale, ‘L'Eis Basiléa dello pseudo-Aristide e l'ideologia traianea’, ANRW 2.34.2 (Berlin, 1993), 1271–313, at 1277: ‘Del [suo padre adottivo (i.e. Nerva)], [Traiano] era palese una certa nobilità di natali: nobilitatis mediae lo definisce Eutropio, εὐγενέστατος καὶ ἐπιεικέστατος lo chiama Cassio Dione’. Librale traces these illustrious origins back to his ‘great-grandfather, the consul of 36’ (‘console nel 36 a.C. il bisnonno M. Cocceio Nerva’).

11 ‘That the family had at some time been granted patrician rank is shown by Nerva's early appointment as salius Palatinus’: R.P. Long Den, ‘Nerva and Trajan’, in S.A. Cook, F.E. Adcock and M.P. Charlesworth (edd.), CAH, vol. 11 (Cambridge, 19361), 188–222, at 188–9 (discussing Nerva's origins and distinctions); 189 n. 1 (citing nobilitatis mediae). On the patrician standing of Nerva, Syme (n. 8), 1–2; E.T. Salmon, Augustus the Patrician (Toronto, 1974), 3–33, at 22–3  (= A.J. Dunston [ed.], Essays on Roman Culture: The Todd Memorial Lectures [Toronto, 1976]), following Syme.

Elevations to the patriciate had now become a quasi-familiar phenomenon. Caesar had enrolled new patricians by right of the lex Cassia (45 b.c.); Augustus by right of the lex Saenia (30 b.c.) in 29; Claudius and Vespasian by right of the extended powers of the imperial censorship; T. Mommsen, Res Gestae Divi Augusti ex monumentis Ancyrano et Apolloniensi (Berlin, 18832), II 1 (on p. 34); Römisches Staatsrecht, vol. 2 (Leipzig, 18873), 1100–1 [1046–7]; P. Willems and J. Willems, Le Droit Public Romain (Louvain, 19107), 386. We know of about twenty families elevated to the patriciate by Augustus, seventeen families elevated by Claudius and more than twenty families elevated by Vespasian; cf. W. Eck, Senatoren von Vespasian bis Hadrian. Prosopographische Untersuchungen mit Einschluss der Jahres- und Provinzialfasten der Statthalter (Vestigia 13) (Munich, 1970), 108–9; Vogel-Weidemann (n. 5), 22; and R.J.A. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (Princeton, NJ, 1984), 30.

On Augustus’ awards of patrician status, see H.C. Heiter, De Patriciis Gentibus Quae Imperii Romani Saeculis I, II, III Fuerint (Diss., Berlin, 1909), 41–55; R. Syme, The Roman Revolution (Oxford, 1939), 382 and nn. 8–9; J. Scheid, Res Gestae Divi Augusti. Haut faits du divin Auguste (Paris, 2007), 39; cf. Salmon, op. cit., 16. Augustus might have preferred to emphasize the action undertaken on the instruction of the people and the senate (RG 8.1), although it is possible that the Cocceii went through in his more irregular creation of new patricians in 33 (Dio 49.43.6); cf. Syme, op. cit., 382 n. 8. Mommsen, loc. cit., had inferred that the account of the creation of patricians in 33 was apocryphal—largely on the grounds of its omission at RG 8.1 (and was followed by Salmon, op. cit., 5). Syme countered with the suggestion that this earlier elevation of certain families to the patriciate had occurred in a period of ‘irregularities’ and that it was considered by Augustus best passed over in silence.

12 Long Den (n. 11) allows that Nerva was ‘nobly-born’ but avers, presumably disdainful of the sanction provided by a triumviral appointment, that ‘on neither side was he descended from the Republican nobility’ (alluding to Eutropius’ phrase)—and sees the family's distinction arising from more recent connections (to wit, a link with the Julio-Claudian dynasty), achievements and imperially bestowed patriciate status. In the second edition of CAH, M. Griffin, ‘Nerva to Hadrian’, CAH, vol. 11 (Cambridge, 20002), 84–130, at 84, chooses to leave Eutropius’ troublesome phrase to one side, but allow that Nerva was ‘of high birth’, providing the evidence for his patrician standing (ILS 273 = E.M. Smallwood [ed.], Documents Illustrating the Principates of Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian [Cambridge, 1966], no. 90): ‘He was descended from a triumviral consul and imperial jurists and related, through a maternal uncle, to Iulia, the granddaughter of Tiberius.’ (85)

13 Cf. B. Gibson, Statius Silvae 5 (Oxford, 2006), 195.

14 Salmon (n. 11), 10–11, on the near extinction of the old patriciate.

15 Salmon (n. 11), 8–14: ‘The patricians were an integral part of the Roman state … at the very heart of the Roman community … indispensable’ (the case being so strongly stated for the purpose of the argument); cf. R.M. Ogilvie and I. Richmond, Cornelii Taciti De Vita Agricolae (Oxford, 1967), 158 [= H. Furneaux – J.G.C. Anderson, Cornelii Taciti De Vita Agricolae (Oxford, 19222), 59–60]; M. Reinhold, From Republic to Principate. An Historical Commentary on Cassius Dio's Roman History Books 49–52 (36–29 b.c.) (Atlanta, GA., 1988), 212 (characterizing the emperor-chosen patricians as an elite group forming the highest stratum of the nobility); W. Eck, The Age of Augustus (Oxford, 2007 [Augustus und seine Zeit (Munich, 1998)]), 49, 83; and A.E. Cooley, Res Gestae Divi Augusti. Text, Translation, and Commentary (Cambridge, 2009), 138. For further references to scholarship on the ongoing importance of the patriciate, see Gibson (n. 13), 183 n. 41; cf. 293 (on 5.2.130).

16 Salmon (n. 11), 8.

17 R. Syme, The Augustan Aristocracy (Oxford, 1986), 52. For Syme's implicit agreement with Salmon, see Syme, op. cit., 4 (where the revived patriciate is registered as ‘decus ac robur’ in a renascent Republic); cf. Syme (n. 8), 570.

18 Toohey, P., ‘Politics, prejudice, and Trojan genealogies: Varro, Hyginus, and Horace’, Arethusa 17 (1984), 528 Google Scholar, argues that Julius Hyginus produced his work on the Trojan genealogies (the de familiis Troianis) in response to the lex Saenia of 29—and Octavian's creation of new patrician families.

19 Did these claims prompt a certain scepticism? Juvenal, Sat. 1.102 has ‘the Trojan-born’ (Troiugenae) lining up at a salutatio amongst an otherwise motley crowd, the praeco calling forth the praetor first, then the tribune, with a Syrian-born freedman arguing the toss (complaining that his earlier arrival entitles him to precedence and that his new wealth outstrips the empty symbols of his rivals’ rank). The word Troiugena was not coined by Juvenal; it had long meant simply Trojan (see e.g. Catull. 64.356) or a descendant of the same (Liv. 25.12.5)—but it is surely redeployed here with acerbic irony. A gifted pedigree offered a status undercut by harsh reality. The intentional incongruity is underlined at Sat. 11.95, where the luxurious tortoise-shell head-rest adorning the collective couch of these Troiugenae is labelled clarum and nobile. (Unsurprisingly the tag turns up in Sat. 8.181—what avails a lineage?)

20 Tac. Ann. 11.25; cf. Hist. 2.37. For a discussion of Tacitus’ use of such terms as claritudo generis, clara familia, claritas natalium (referring ‘almost exclusively to members of a consular family’), see Vogel-Weidemann (n. 5), 23, esp. n. 19. There can be no doubt, Vogel-Weidemann observes, that Tacitus’ reference to clari parentes at 11.25 gives the impression of a certain exclusivity. At the same time, she notes the noua generis claritudo at Ann. 14.47. On Claudius’ adlection of numerous individuals to the patriciate and imperial augmentation of the patriciate more generally, see now S.J.V. Malloch, The Annals of Tacitus: Book 11 (Cambridge, 2013), 381–4.

21 Syme (n. 8), 654. See n. 8 also for Stein.

22 ‘The Nobilitas’, ‘Nobiles in Horace’, ‘Nobiles in Velleius’.

23 Syme (n. 17), 50–1.

24 Jones, B., ‘The diminishing role of the patricians, a.d. 70-96’, Athenaeum 62 (1984), 635–40Google Scholar (see the first footnote for a bibliography).

25 Jones (n. 24), 640.

26 For the last of those options, cf. Hill (n. 8), 250: ‘Our examination of the ancient evidence suggests, therefore, that three Emperors, Otho, Vitellius and Titus, and a number of others … acquired nobilitas after 14 a.d.’; with regard to Hill's assertion that writers of the Imperial period were familiar with the process of ennoblement, see, in particular, his emphasis on the evidence of Velleius Paterculus (232).

This is not to say that an appreciation of ‘Republican’ nobility did not persist. Pliny the Younger was still sensitive vis-à-vis his prickly grandfather-in-law, L. Calpurnius Fabatus (PIR 2 C 263). Pliny makes bold to suggest that any son or sons of his own (they were never to be born), the prospective great-grandchildren of Fabatus, would enjoy a relatively easy road to honores, having been bequeathed (through Fabatus) a well-established ancestry (non subitas imagines). As A.N. Sherwin-White, The Letters of Pliny. A Historical and Social Commentary (Oxford, 1966), 459 put it: ‘The concept of Republican nobilitas dies hard. The novus is still ashamed of himself’.

Alexander Severus had a stemma published demonstrating his descent from the Metelli (SHA, Alex. Sev. 44.3. In that age, the Metelli were remembered amongst exemplary models; SHA, Alex. Sev. 8.5).

27 Positive context: uir in priuata uita moderatus et strenuus, nobilitatis mediae. He was aequissimus and ciuilissimus (loc. cit.).

28 On Nerva as jurisconsult, see R.A. Bauman, Lawyers and Politics in the Early Roman Empire (Munich, 1989), 68–73. The emperor's father was also known as a jurist, but was not in the same league—even if something of a prodigy, practising at the age of seventeen, or a little later than that (Dig.; tentatively put into perspective by Bauman, op. cit., 53–4). On the latter as jurist and politician, Bauman, op. cit., 119–20, 126–7.

29 On Frontinus’ preferment by Nerva, see Frontin. Aq. 1.1 and 2.102.17; cf. M. Peachin, Frontinus and the Curae of the Curator Aquarum (Stuttgart, 2004), 48–50. On Frontinus’ treatise being very much in alignment with Nerva's imperial program, Peachin, op. cit., passim, but see esp. 79–81, 139–43. When he comes to Nerva's grandfather in the list of previous curatores, Frontinus pauses—uniquely—for a short biographical note, underlining the man's standing in legal circles; cf. R.H. Rodgers, Frontinus De Aquaeductu Urbis Romae (Cambridge, 2004), 276. Perhaps a brief registration of the man's scientia was intended to distance him from the other curatores whom Frontinus has introduced collectively with reference to their sloth—or, at least lack of initiative (inertia ac segnitia; 2.101.2), on which curious passage (possibly, Rodgers suggests, an allusion to political caution), op. cit., 274–5 (on 101.2 and 102.1); Peachin, op. cit., 77 (and n. 84). The point is that the genealogical datum provided here by Frontinus was not casual or careless.

30 Tac. Ann. 4.58; cf. Dig. (Caesari familiarissimus); Bauman (n. 28), 70–1.

31 Tac. Ann. 6.26.1; cf. Dio 58.21.4–5; and Bauman (n. 28), 71–2 (proclaiming Dio the ‘better informed’, but then going on to suggest that Tacitus was reticent). The connection was further confirmed when the man's son (the Emperor Nerva's father) married into a family with close connections by descent from Tiberius (on this, see E. Groag, ‘Prosopographische Beiträge’, JÖAI 21-2 [Vienna, 1922–4], 425–78, esp. 425–36)—although the marriage of Tiberius’ granddaughter into that family [see our opening stemma] had, at the time, elicited the sorrow of those whose judgement Tacitus felt compelled to record (Ann. 6.27). The standing of the Rubellian family was questionable on the grounds that a grandfather had been an eques. The point is not irrelevant to the present discussion.

32 Liv. 127, frr. 51–2 Weissenborn; Hor. Sat. 1.5.27–8 and 31–2; App. B Civ. 5.60.251–64.273; Porph. ad Hor. Serm. 1.5.27; Pseudacron, ad loc. Cf. E. Groag, ‘Cocceius 12’,  RE 4, col. 130 (corrected at RE Suppl. 7, col. 90); T.P. Wiseman, New Men in the Roman Senate 139 b.c.–14 a.d. (Oxford, 1971), 225 (no. 125).

33 App. B Civ. 5.61.256; cf. T.R.S. Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic (Atlanta, GA., 1952), 2.373; E. Gabba, Appiani Bellorum Civilium Liber Quintus (Florence, 1970), 102. There were Cocceii (or, at least, one) who required magnanimity, having been embraced ex aduersariorum castris: Sen. Clem. 1.10.1.

34 This was a reconstruction of Groag (RE Suppl. 1, cols. 323–4 [on RE 3 and RE 12]). Cf. (cautiously) PIR 2 C 1223; T.P. Wiseman (n. 32), 225 (no. 124) (rightly querying his senatorial status); Syme (n. 17), 48 n. 109; E. Bispham, From Asculum to Actium: The Municipalization of Italy from the Social War to Augustus (Oxford, 2007), 299 (and n. 47 for further references).

35 Syme (n. 8), 223.

36 ‘Cocceius 14’ (RE 4, cols. 131–2).

37 PIR 1 C 972, on M. Cocceius Nerva, the consul suffectus before 24: filius ut videtur M. Nervae consulis a. 718 = 36.

38 PIR 2 C 1225: Nepos videtur M. Coccei Nervae consulis anno 36 a.C.

39 See e.g. Biondi, L., ‘Intorno un frammento marmoreo di fasti consolari’, Dissertazioni della Pontificia Accademia romana di archeologia 6 (1835), 271376 Google Scholar, Part 1, 1 ‘Cocceio’, 278–91, at 279; B. Borghesi, ‘Osservazioni numismatiche, Decade IX Osservazione V²’, in id., Œuvres complètes de Bartolomeo Borghesi (Paris, 1862), 1.433–6, at 434; Long Den (n. 11), 189; Garzetti (n. 8), 18–20; Syme (n. 8), 627; Bauman (n. 28), 68–9; Griffin (n. 12), 85; and J.D. Grainger, Nerva and the Roman Succession Crisis of a.d. 96–99 (London, 2003), xiv (‘The Descent of Nerva’), 28, 133 n. 3.

40 ‘Cocceius 12’ (RE 4, col. 130); cf. Garzetti (n. 8), 20 n. 5.

41 It is appropriate to use here the impersonal pronoun for this collection of scholia. For the explicit dismissal of the scholia, see also Biondi (n. 39), 288–9; Borghesi (n. 39), 434; and A. Bianchi, ‘L. Cocceius Nerva’, in S. Mariotti (ed.), Enciclopedia Oraziana (Rome, 1966), vol. 1, 694–5. We thank Patrick Tansey for drawing these items to our attention.

42 O. Keller, Pseudacronis Scholia in Horatium vetustiora II (Leipzig, 1904), on Hor. Sat. 1.5.27 (Γ´bƒV). Perhaps the item was thought undercut by variant contributions in these same manuscripts (and some others []) which conformed to the faulty testimony of Porphyrio (loc. cit.). For a detailed discussion of variants and the formation of this text—but one which does not discuss the item in hand, see G. Noske, Quaestiones Pseudacroneae (Diss., Munich, 1969). For useful discussions of the scholia and the complicated nexus between the component parts that would lead to the creation of ‘Pseudacro’, see also R.G.M. Nisbet and M. Hubbard, A Commentary on Horace Odes Book 1 (Oxford, 1970), xlvii–li; M.J. McGann's review of Noske, op. cit., CR 22 (1972), 110; K. Friis-Jensen, ‘Medieval commentaries on Horace’, in N. Mann and B. Munk Olsen (edd.), Medieval and Renaissance Scholarship: Proceedings of the Second European Science Foundation Workshop on the Classical Tradition in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Leiden, 1997), 51–73, esp. 51–2; and the useful opening comments by J. Zetzel (on the problems faced) in his review of A. Kalinina, Der Horazkommentar des Pomponius Porphyrio: Untersuchungen zu seiner Terminologie und Textgeschichte (Palingenesia 91) (Stuttgart, 2007) in BMCR 2009.02.06. Cf. our earlier contribution, Late antique memories of Republican political polemic: Pseudo-Acro ad Hor. Sat. 2.1.67 and a dictum Macedonici ’, CQ 62 (2012), 816–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

43 Bispham (n. 34), 299–300 offers a detailed set of calculations, though based on the assumption of relatively standard generations which must remain the stuff of plausible speculation. Bispham works backwards from the birthdate of the emperor ‘between ad 30–35’, and ‘assuming thirty years per generation’  calculates that his father was born c. a.d. 1–5 ‘which is not unreasonable for a consul c. ad 40’; ‘if twenty-five years was the generational interval, he will have been born c. ad 5–10.’ Bispham thus calculates that the emperor's grandfather (RE 14) would have been born c. 30–25 b.c. (or 25–20) and that he held his consulship ‘later in life’ (not the only jurist to await a late consulship). If this man was born of the generation that tops our family tree, he will have been born (relatively) late in his father's life. That is neither impossible nor implausible—though Bispham is troubled by the gap (see further below).

44 For Q. Terentius Scaurus, RE 5A, cols. 674–5.

45 This was certainly the case with the learned Biondi (n. 39), 279 and Borghesi (n. 39), 433. Both supplied the reading that we offer below (and which we take in good faith as authentic).

46 Cf. Groag, ‘Cocceius 14’ (RE 4, cols. 131–2).

47 This can be seen in an engraving in F. Cancellieri, Notizie del Carcere Tulliano (Rome, 1788), reproduced by P. Fortini et al., Carcer Tullianum. Il carcere Mamertino al Foro Romano (Rome, 1998), 32 fig. 28. A careful line drawing in the latter (30–1 fig. 26) depicts the inscription as it is presently seen (giving the impression that no patronymic was attached to this Nerva's name), but it is clear (from personal observation) that the relevant blocks are restored, and in the cautious avoidance of a patronymic must offer an incorrect reconstruction.

48 A. Degrassi, I Fasti Consolari dell'Impero Romano (Rome, 1952), 11; cf. F. Coarelli, ‘Carcer’, in M. Steinby (ed.), LTUR, vol. 1 (Rome, 1993), 236.

49 Others have also thought this likely; see Garzetti (n. 8), 20; Bispham (n. 34), 299 n. 53 for references. Bispham supplies two candidates to fill the gap (300, and see his stemma on 301): a Lucius Cocceius (L.?) f. Nerva (born c. 75–60) and M. Cocceius M. f. Nerva (born c. 60–55), neither of whom enjoyed historical significance or survived in historical testimonia.

50 Obviously, given our hypothesis, we are obliged to disagree with Bispham's speculation (n. 34) that only M. Cocceius Nerva (cos. 36 b.c.), amongst the three brothers, might have carried the cognomen (300).

51 OLD and OLD 2 s.v. proauus 2, for examples. For proauus used more loosely as ‘ancestor’, see also TLL 10.2.1444.5–7; the first of many citations there (to Cic. Fam. 3.11.5) is more than enough to establish the point. Cf. D.R. Shackleton Bailey, Cicero Epistulae ad Familiares (Cambridge, 1977), 380 (on 74 [III.11] 5) on the usage. Thus, the source material available to the earliest commentators on Horace may not have been of the most rigorous kind in its use of technical vocabulary with regard to kinship. We are grateful to the anonymous reader for drawing our attention to, by way of example, the imprecise manner in which Velleius Paterculus uses the terms atauus (for abauus), auus (for proauus), nepos (for pronepos) and auunculus (for magnus auunculus) at 1.2.1 (cf. 2.16.1), 1.8.5, 2.16.2, 59.5 (cf. 60.2) respectively. For a fuller discussion of this, see M. Elefante, Velleius Paterculus Ad M. Vinicium consulem libri duo (Hildesheim, 1997), 158; cf. 243. Elefante is surely right to resist the call of Sumner, G.V., ‘The truth about Velleius Paterculus. Prolegomena’, HSPh 74 (1970), 257–97Google Scholar, at 259 and n. 9, to ‘correct’ Velleius’ text at 2.16.1.

52 If from nowhere else, the scholiast would have picked this up as standard Horatian usage, e.g. from Ars P. 270, a line on which the Pseudacronic commentary also pauses.

53 To which status Groag returns Cocceius the diplomat in RE Suppl. 7, col. 90, correcting the earlier confusion, at RE 4, col. 130 (‘Cocceius 12’), with the suffect consul of 39 (C. Cocceius Balbus): ‘Vielmehr wird er, wie sein Verhandlungspartner Maecenas, im Ritterstande verblieben sein.’

54 Horace (Sat. 1.5.50–1) refers to his plenissima uilla above Caudium. His valuable service has been alluded to above.

55 Or possibly the achievement of two (grand-?) uncles, if C. Cocceius Balbus (cos. suff. 39) is to be allowed the fraternity tentatively awarded in the family tree above.

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 19
Total number of PDF views: 59 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th February 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *