Talk:Civitas

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It has been suggested that the page called [Civitas] be merged into the page called [Roman citizenship] and I disagree.

I believe that page for Civitas needs to stand independently, and I also believe it should more heavilly focus on the SECOND definition of Civitas. Specifically, the reference to "the outdoor arena of public interaction."

The notion of there being such a thing as a geographic location called the "civitas" --usually the town square or the general vicinity of the Town Hall or City Hall-- is an important concept in contemporary urban planning. There is right now a major push taking place toward the renewal of the civitas of a given community. This renewal includes efforts to more clearly define the boundaries of the civitas, as well as to fashion a distinct character to it to help define the overall character of the entire community.

Civitas is indirectly related to [Communitas], and so this article probably should be somehow related to that one.

You need to sign these things with the four tildes. You are right on two major counts. First, this should be a distinct article, but you can't expect non-classicists to know that. We have to tell them. On the second point there was a physical location of the civitas, which was its city and all its territory. I will try to improve the article but you know anyone is allowed to do that.Dave (talk) 22:51, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

tribe?[edit]

What's the modern scholarly authority for using the word "tribe" as it is here? In Roman usage, tribuscivitas. I have a suspicion (and only that at present) that the language of 19th- and early 20th-century British imperialism in Africa, and European expansionism in the United States, has suggested the use of the word "tribe" for those subsumed under Roman rule. This seems particularly true of the so-called tribes in Gaul, many of whom (such as the Arverni and Aedui) are consistently called a civitas, but not to my knowledge a tribus. The terms pagus and civitas and tribus are not interchangeable. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:06, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

I got no doubt the British view was jaundiced by their own specific experience of racial colonialism, but to me the whole article is suspect. What I read does not conform much to it. I'm working on this set of articles so I expect they will all change a bit. I do recall the word tribus being used by such authors as Caesar but it seems to me you are right, not generally in state contexts. The most popular word was populus, a people, and populi, the peoples. But you know even before the Romans got there the Gauls were creating civitates of an ethnic basis: Paris was the city of the Parisii, etc. Each tribal canton consisted of more or less independent villages. They could pick up and go whenever they wanted and no one said nay. However perhaps on the Roman model in the Roman Iron Age all the villages of the canton accomplished synoecisms to form tribal civitates; that is, the populus of a given civitas was basically the former tribe. The civitas took precedence over the former tribal apparatus. Anyway, onward and upward. I'm going to say what my sources say.Dave (talk) 22:45, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
It's tricky in English, since it means both "citizenship" and something like "polity, nation." But the former meaning doesn't seem so disconnected with the latter in ancient usage, if you think of citizenship as being part of a political entity. And that's why I think Caesar's usage in Gaul is interesting, because he distinguishes pretty clearly between Gallic "nations" he calls civitates, like the Arverni and Aedui, and those that are pagi, or tribal units often within a larger body, like the pagi of the Helvetii. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:53, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Well the Gallic tribes are highly interesting (vive la France) but it sounds like the topic of a scholarly study. If you know of one perhaps you might like to add a subsection on Gallic civitates. I'm sure there must be some about. Right now the article has no real organization but I think that will change as it gets longer. To me the glaring lack is of sources. I see somebody likes the article (probably you?) but I like to reserve judgement until the sources are in and it is reasonably complete. Lot's of material is well-written but unfortunately wrong or speculative. The only way to find out is to work through it pharase by phrase. Ciao.Dave (talk) 01:33, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Picture reversions by Cynewulf[edit]

Oh, hello cynewulf. You're up late tonight. Don't you have a date? Anyway for now I am leaving the pics out but I probably will put them back later. Here's my reasoning. First of all, this article is unsourced. That means there is something wrong with it, typically. One of the things wrong is the too narrow definition of civitas. It meant different things at different times. Let us start with the very first phrase. This is not a phenomenon of the Roman Empire. The civitas was known in the republic, had to have been known in the monarchy. And we go forward from there. I can see you are going to keep me honest on this. It also means I have to deal with you sentence by sentence. OK. It just will take longer. We need a sourced article here and what it says is not basically in the sources. Now, civitas had more than one meaning. One of its meanings was just city-state. In that regard it could and often did mean the physical plant. This is the reasoning behind the pics. The city of Rome was the civitas. We can't go by the definitions given in the unsourced article. Naturally I'd like to have a picture of an abstract civitas but abstracts are a little hard to depict. I settled for the physical plant of a civitas, which it also can mean. I will go on a bit and see if you do not agree once we start working the misconceptions out of there. This will take a bit of time as I am working on the whole set and keep jumping from article to article. I guess I can collaborate if you are taking an interest now. I miss the freedom of working ahead a little but I can work this way also. I will put an invisible line in after the material I have checked and rewritten and sourced. That way you will be able to distinguish. I'm not going to play "no, this is wrong - it is not - it is too" with you. If I state a source and what I say reflects the source I would not expect it to be reverted. The current article is unsourced and that gives me the right to remove any of it at any time. Of course I do not replace the better with the worse. I'm not an unreasonable man. I may ask you to prove it is better with your sources. Or if you want to just hang around commenting that is fine too. I appreciate other people's points of view. Well, back to work. I have to cite the source for my first alteration. See you later, I'm sure, and if I disappear for a few days it is because I'm on another article of the set.Dave (talk) 00:43, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

My point is that since civitas doesn't simply mean "city" it may be confusing to illustrate it with a model of the city of Rome. It's a rather abstract subject and hard to illustrate, but until the article is clearer, I'd worry more about adding to the confusion. Cynwolfe (talk) 03:07, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Point well-made. I accept it. I'm going to stay on this for a bit to bring it further along before I continue on my round-robin of the others. This one has wider implications and there are so many good sources.Dave (talk) 10:45, 28 October 2011 (UTC)