Classical alternative?

Hi all, “nonentitas” is said to be Medieval Latin, but is there an earlier word, or phrase, that the Romans may have used for “a nobody” or “unimportant person”?
Many thanks, Nick
 

rothbard

Aedilis
Staff member
There's the expression terrae filius, used by Cicero here (ad Att. 1.13):

"sed haec ad te scribam alias subtilius; nam neque adhuc mihi satis nota sunt et huic terrae filio nescio cui committere epistulam tantis de rebus non audeo."
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
yeah, but I find that kinda weird ... a son of the earth??
 

rothbard

Aedilis
Staff member
I looked up this expression in an Italian-Latin dictionary. They define it as "figlio di nessuno, uomo di bassa condizione, di origine incerta" (nobody's son, a man of low extraction, of uncertain origin). They refer to this passage by Persius Flaccus (Sat. VI):

"'progenies terrae?' quaere ex me quis mihi quartus sit pater: haut prompte, dicam tamen; adde etiam unum, unum etiam: terrae est iam filius et mihi ritu Manius hic generis prope maior auunculus exit."
 

Quintilianus

Civis Illustris
"Homo nihili", "homo non nauci" maybe also "homo flocci" can be close to what you're looking for depending on what you mean by "a nobody".
I'm pretty sure there's a more nifty way to express this in Latin but it eludes or I'm mistaken.
 
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syntaxianus

Civis Illustris
ignobilis = unknown

Note that the opposite is aliquis / aliquid:

(L&S : something considerable, important, or great = aliquid magnum ... —Hence, esp., 1. Esse aliquem or aliquid, to be somebody or something, i. e to be of some worth, value, or note, to be esteemed​

nequissimus = a worthless person
 
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