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Quirites was an early name of the citizens of Ancient Rome. The term's etymology is disputed, but most scholars agree it derives from *co-uiri-um, "assembly of the men", whence also the curiae.[1] Ancient etymologies derived the term from the Sabine word for "spear"[2] or the Sabine capitol of Cures, after the Sabine people were assimilated early in Roman history.[3]

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.[4]

In identifying this name as the possible source of the word cry, the Oxford English Dictionary cites Varro.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Originally proposed by Kretschmer, Paul (1919). "Lat.. quirites und quiritare". Glotta. 10 (3): 147–157.
  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; [ Ovid, Fasti II 479–480
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ "cry". Oxford English Dictionary.