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Quirites is the name of Roman citizens in their peacetime functions.[1]


Latin Quirītis most likely stems from an earlier *quiri-. The origin of the latter is uncertain. Since the quirīs is connected with Sabellic immigrants into Rome in ancient legends, it may be a loanword.[1] Ancient etymologies derived the term from the Sabine word for "spear",[2] or from the Sabine capitol of Cures, after the Sabine people were assimilated early in Roman history.[3]

The etymology *ko-wir-, then *co-uiri-um, 'assembly of the men', has been proposed by some scholars,[4] although De Vaan (2008) notes that it "is not credible phonetically and not very compelling semantically".[1]

Combined in the phrase populus Romanus quirites (or quiritium) it denoted the individual citizen as contrasted with the community. Hence ius quiritium in Roman law is full Roman citizenship. Subsequently the term was applied (sometimes in a deprecatory sense, cf. Tac. Ann. ~. 42) to the Romans in domestic affairs, Romani being reserved for foreign affairs.[5]

In identifying this name as the possible source of the word cry, the Oxford English Dictionary cites Varro.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c de Vaan 2008, pp. 509–510.
  2. ^ "For a spear is decreed sacred to Juno, and most of her statues are supported by a spear, and she is surnamed Quiritis, and a spear of old was called quiris, wherefore they surname Mars Quirinus." (Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae, 87.
  3. ^ Livy, History of Rome I 13.20; [http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/ovid/ovid.fasti2.shtml Ovid, Fasti II 479–480
  4. ^ Originally proposed by Kretschmer, Paul (1919). "Lat.. quirites und quiritare". Glotta. 10 (3): 147–157.
  5. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  6. ^ "cry". Oxford English Dictionary.


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