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Nothos, bastard, is a word used with unusual frequency in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus. In this paper, I investigate the word's importance for Nonnus as a descriptor for both himself and his hero. Through a careful survey of the word's appearances in connection with the poem's major themes of transformation, cosmic upheaval, and sexual violence, as well as an analysis of the poet's direct references to Homer, I propose that Nonnus makes nothos synonymous with artistic excellence. All art is the work of bastards, he suggests, and by this logic he is able to proudly claim his place as the bastard heir to Homer's legacy.