plebeian, the members of which towards the end of the republic were looked upon as belonging to one of the most illustrious gentes. (Cic. Phil. 2.29
; Plin. Nat. 7.57
; V. Max. 6.2.8
.) During the time of the republic, we meet with only two branches of this gens, the AHENOBARBI and CALVINI, and, with the exception of a few unknown personages mentioned in isolated passages of Cicero, there is none without a cognomen.