Mummius was the first novas homo of plebeian origin who received a distinctive cognomen for military services.
Of equestrian rank, his name Pontius suggests a Samnite origin, and his cognomen in the gospels, pileatus (if derived from the pileus or cap of liberty), descent from a freedman.
His relief of Messana obtained him the cognomen Messalla, which remained in the family for nearly 800 years.
He accepted,or appeared to accept, the cognomen of Nero conferred upon him by the shouts of the populace, whom his comparative youth and the effeminacy of his appearance reminded of their lost favourite.
Beyond the fact that he was of Saxon, not of Norman race, and applies to himself the cognomen of Parvus, " short," or "small," few details are known regarding his early life; but from his own statements it is gathered that he crossed to France about 1136, and began regular studies in Paris under Abelard, who had there for a brief period re-opened his famous school on Mont St Genevieve.