Talk:Dignitas (Roman concept)

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Could someone please explain more percisely the difference between dignitas and our English understanding of the word dignity? The article doesn't demonstrate why it cannot correspond directly to our modern word.

Dignity is basically a person's personal pride and/or honour. Dignitas isn't just "honour", it is, as the article states, the amount of honour and clout a person has attained throughout their life or even the lives of their forefathers. Dignitas was used as a measurement of a person's worth. A Roman couldn't become a consul without establishing his dignitas, and his rivals would stop at no end in order to bring down his dignitas. The fundamental difference is that person's dignity is a personal feeling of pride whereas dignitas is a measurement of personal worth. --Scottie theNerd 12:14, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
If you say that a man's rivals would try to bring down his dignitas, and that things like becoming a consul would be extremely difficult without establishing one's dignitas, then wouldn't it be fair to say that dignitas equates to a more intense from of 'reputation'? (Perhaps political terminology might have a more direct equivalent, in this usage). Also, its important to note that you state "a person's worth", and then conclude it with "personal worth", the latter of which is synonymous today's 'dignity' (though I'm taking 'personal worth' to mean "the worth that a man gives to himself through his decisions and accomplishments"). A man's (and woman's) public image seems to be of tremendous importance today, in any social field. By the definition you have given, it seems silly that the article states it as "a unique social concept in the ancient Roman mindset".--C.Logan 22:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
(Also, I don't mean to sound rude in my comment here. I'm just confused as to why the article tries to convey this concept as "uniquely Roman", when one's public standing is arguably more important than ever. Even less honorable concepts like 'credit score' can be seen as a more impersonalized descendant of the concept of 'dignitas'.)--C.Logan 22:14, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
"Personal worth" wasn't the best way to put it. It is a more intense form of reputation, but it doesn't equate to political clout or popular standing. It isn't reputation by itself either, and it isn't public image. It's something that's essentially inherited through generations and enforced by political and/or military success, but not just something you are "known for". It's difficult to explain because we lack the concept in our society today. Scottie theNerd 03:15, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Couldn't it be seen in the lighter sense of one's own accomplishments coupled with family history? I know some of my cousins (Alabamans) have strong family traits by which they judge the newest adults who leave the home (family of doctors, craftsmen, etc). I assume that this is a more common situation in smaller towns, where most residents are familiar with the local family histories and specialities. Each new youth of the family has his own worth to prove among a famous (or infamous) line of ancestors. In this sense, I would agree that it's uncommon to find examples like this in larger towns and metropolitan areas, where disassociation is more common, and only your achievements and skills are judged.--C.Logan 11:37, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Isn't "Dignitas" a charity that facilitates assisted suicide? 18:47, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

If you're talking about Dignitas International, then yeah, it is. --Scottie theNerd 10:41, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Video game[edit]

Removed video game reference which doesn't belong here. Fils du Soleil 23:27, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Very good article, it does a good job of addressing some of the issues in previous comments. while the part about Cicero provides a good example of the function of Dignitas, the example may be a bit narrow and lengthy. Maybe you could shorten it or talk about other people in addition to Cicero. Also, did the censors have any say in someone's dignitas? - Tim

Anoop, you did a good job at dividing the article in to sub sections. It makes the article much more readable. Can you please correct the spelling of Julius in the second section? I agree with Tim that the article on Cicero is a bit lengthy and at times loses the point. Perhaps you can make it more concise and to the point. Maybe you can also focus on the importance of dignitas from the perspective of other people as well, instead of just keeping it to Cicero. – Mustafa

Anoop - I can tell you spent a lot of time researching this particular topic. Just a few things to point out. First, I think you pretty much cover the meaning of the word dignitas in the introductory paragraph. Therefore, you can cut down on the next paragraph "Meaning of the Word Dignitas" - perhaps title it something like "Origins of Dignitas" and then go on and talk about the people (ie Cicero) who were prolific users of the phrase. Also, the "Influence of Dignitas" seems a bit long. As some people have pointed out, if you omitted some of the information on Cicero I think you'd have a more cohesive section. Finally, if you could find material on the dignitas of people from lower classes (maybe through what means they could establish this clout?) it would really make this a dynamic article. - Greg

Generally solid article and very well researched; your examples are well chosen, but your structure is hard to follow in some places. Anisekstrong 02:24, 1 June 2007 (UTC)Anisekstrong


As someone said above, there is an organisation called Dignitas International, but they were incorrect - it's an AIDs charity, not the Swiss euthanasia/assisted suicde group, which currently has no article. I'm about to start an article for the Swiss group, probably under the title Dignitas (euthanasia group). But with Dignitas International, Dignitas (euthanasia group) and Team Dignitas, I think it would be good to have a proper disambiguation page rather than using toplinks. I would like to propose moving this page to "Dignitas (something)", but I'm not entirely sure what. Maybe "Roman politics" or "Roman concept"? Does anyone object, and are there any bettter names? Cheers, Eve 14:17, 6 June 2007 (UTC)