in Dr. Wortle's School

Chapter 04 – The Doctor Asks His Question

facile princeps

The phrase facile princeps is used to set Mr. Peacocke apart from the other teachers and is Latin for “easily foremost.”  This specific phrase can be found five times in Cicero’s work and hardly at all in the texts of other Latin authors; the praise it conveys carries weight by virtue of both its meaning and Cicero’s own status within the Classical canon.  Cicero had a significant place in the Classical curriculum of the 19th c., and so it is particularly apt to use a Ciceronian phrase to describe Mr. Peacocke, the Classics master and the best of the teachers at the school.  [JE & RR 2014]

Sources:  Cicero, Post Reditum in Senatu 5, De Oratore 3.60, De Divinatione 2.87, Timaeus 2, Epistulae ad Familiares 6.10a.