Caput Mundi

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Map of Rome, the imperial capital at the height of its territorial expansion

Caput Mundi is a Latin phrase which literally means "Head of the world" whereas Roma Caput Mundi means "Rome capital of the world" and is one of the many nicknames given to the city of Rome throughout its history.[1]

The phrase is related to the enduring power of the city first as the capital of the Republic and the Empire, and later as the centre of the Catholic Church.[2]

Although it is not known for sure when it was first used, Rome was already named in this way by the poet Ovid in 1st century BC.[3]

Along with "Eternal City" and the "City of Seven Hills", Caput Mundi remains as one of the most commonly used names to refer to the city of Rome.[4]


Via dei Fori Imperiali, Via della Conciliazione and Via del Corso. The term First Rome is used to refer to the "Rome of the Emperors", Second Rome refers to the "Rome of the Popes", and third Rome refers to the "Rome of the people" as capital city of Italy.[5]

Roma Caput Mundi is a Latin phrase taken to mean "Rome capital of the world" and "Roma capitale del mondo" in Italian (literally: "head of the world").[6] It originates out of a classical European understanding of the known world: Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. The influence of Rome in the ancient world began to grow around the 2nd century BC as the Republic expanded across Southern Europe and North Africa. For the next five centuries, Rome governed much of the known world (of traditional Greco-Roman geography) and served as the world's largest city during that period. The cultural influence of the local language of Rome (Latin) as well as Roman art, architecture, law, religion, and philosophy was significant. The Imperial city of Rome adopted as its nickname Caput Mundi, attributing this to its perception of an enduring power of Ancient Rome and the Catholic Church.[7][8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Una storia di grandezza - i soprannomi di Roma". Valle delle Radici (in Italian). 6 December 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  2. ^ "caput mundi in Vocabolario - Treccani". (in Italian). Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  3. ^ Gentile, Antonio (26 April 2019). "Le strade portano tutte a Roma Capitale: "Caput Mundi"". IL POPOLO (in Italian). Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  4. ^ Spada, Oliviero. "Soprannomi di alcune città italiane". (in Italian). Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  5. ^ "Rome Seminar". Archived from the original on 4 December 2008.
  6. ^ "Dictionary of Latin Phrases and Proverbs: C". Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  7. ^ Beretta, Silvio (2017). Understanding China Today: An Exploration of Politics, Economics, Society, and International Relations. Springer. p. 320. ISBN 9783319296258.
  8. ^ B. Bahr, Ann Marie (2009). Christianity: Religions of the World. Infobase Publishing. p. 139. ISBN 9781438106397.
  9. ^ R. D'Agostino, Peter (2005). Rome in America: Transnational Catholic Ideology from the Risorgimento to Fascism. Univ of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807863411.