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Someone should add something about the utilization of this by hate groups, particularly white supremacists in Europe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:00, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

I notice that an anonymous user has put a copyright notice on the SPQR flag, asserting it belongs to "NovaRoma, Inc." (apparently at Since flags did not actually exist at the time of the Roman Republic, I don't see why this article has a flag illo anyway as it's anachronistic. I shall therefore comment out the image line, while a decision can be made whether to remove the flag from Wikipedia. -- Arwel 18:35, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Since nothing happened until today, when the flag was reinserted, I have decided to be bold and remove the flag altogether, for the reasons stated above. -- Arwel 02:29, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I believe that the correct Latin translation is not Senate and People of Rome, which would be Senatus Populusque Romae, but rather Roman Senate and People. Homagetocatalonia 01:03 30 09 2005 (UTC)

Translated as, "The Senate and the People of Rome". Rome is in the genitive case, and is second declension, so the proper ending is -i. If the word were first declension it would be -ae (which it might be, but I'm pretty sure it's not). I'm pretty confident that a lot of website have this wrong. The "-us" ending is used for the nominative case, which would be the subject of a sentence, for example. I had switched it, but I think I'll revert the page.Miss Innocent (talk) 02:42, 5 April 2008 (UTC)


I seem to recall that for a long time Liverpool adopted a similar motto, branding things in the name of the Senate and People of the City of Liverpool. Anyone know anything about this?

Matthew Platts 10:31, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Reply to above -- this formula is very common in Dutch cities -- I certainly have a photo of SPQG (in Groningen), and I've seen it in various cities I've visited — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

"The senate and people of rome [are behind us]"[edit]

I have always been under the impression that while the literal translation was, "the senate and people of rome", there was an implied "are behind us" that is not directly stated. This would correspond with the use of the phrase by the legions. It would not make sense for the military to claim that they are the senate and people of rome, but it would be a fair claim that the senate and people are behind or supporting the military. --Total randonimity 05:03, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Hello total. The expression is the official signature of the Roman Republic, of which the Senate and the Comitia Centuriata were the governing bodies. The Comitia were basically electoral. The Senate was deliberative, legislative and executive. The magistrates obeyed its decrees. Any official notice was made so by SPQR and only the government could use it. Everyone understood that and no one was free to use the expression privately, any more than a private citizen can sign "the Congress of the United States." "Are behind us" is unnecessary and untrue. "Are us" would be better, but as I say, there was no argument or misunderstanding or misinterpretation about the expression. Everyone knew just exactly what it meant and that it was worth your head to misuse it. 02:18, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
My (probably wrong) understanding from my Latine classes was that it meant "[So have decided] the senate and people of Rome"... just my 2c.--MJeanson 07:35, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Small Profits[edit]

Why is this labeled puerile? I don't get it. I've heard reference to "The law of small profits, quick returns" but i don't understand why it's considered puerile.. or am i just not appreciating some joke here?

Expansion of R in SPQR[edit]

NB re reading of SPQR above - is it not romanus - meaning "Roman" [people] rather than "of Rome", which would be romae? Isn't Romani nom plural romanus - "Romans" - not making any sense at all in context ("senate and people and romans")?

Yes, "Romani" would either mean "Romans" (nominative plural) or "of (a) Roman" (genitive singular), neither of which make any sense there. I'm changing it to "Romae" to match the translation given in the following sentence and to be consistent with (i.e. be one of) the most common possibilities mentioned in a later paragraph of the article (which are "Romae" and "Romanus"). —Isaac Dupree(talk) 21:21, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Most sources report Romanus, and I personally agree with them. "Romani" plural would make sense if it were referred to both senate and people. Since at the time there was only one Senate, there was no need to specify that besides the people also the senate was in fact roman. As for the translation, since the Latin adjective "Romanus" means "of Rome", the usual translation is "the senate and people of Rome".

I use both "Senatus Populusque Romanus" and "Senatus Populusque Romae," as the mood suits me. I grew up assuming the former, but the latter—in which Romanus is a singular, nominative, first declension adjective—seems more economical in English. (Somehow I doubt the Romans worried about how English speaking people—still several centuries away—would prefer it to sound.)

Each one is logical, although in the second, I would say Romae is not possessive but locative. That is, not that the senate and people belong to Rome—during the Republic, my guess is that the Romans saw it the other way round: Rome belonged to the senate and people—but that the senate and people were located at (or in) the city of Rome.

I'm not by any means a Latin scholar, and I have no sources to cite; this is only my two cents' worth. (Keep the change.) I guess we'll never know for sure unless some definitive evidence comes to light, or a twenty-two hundred-year old Roman steps forward to set us straight. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:985:101:311D:4820:712A:D1A6:9F18 (talk) 21:06, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Alternate phrase[edit]

Perhaps a more accurate modern translation of the original meaning would currently be: "The Senate and the Citizens of the People of Rome." - "Senatus Quiritesque Populi Romae", which regretably would change the initialism into "SQPR". However, since word order is secondary to conjugation in Latin, one could rearrange it to "Senatus Populi Quiritesque Romae" for "SPQR". It wouldn't be elegant Latin, but understood.

I'm no Latin expert, but I believe -que has to be attached to the first word in a phrase, meaning that Senatus Populique Quirites Romae" would be the proper form, not "Senatus Populi Quiritesque Romae" Nik42 04:39, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

I don´t know any latin and I asked User:Homagetocatalonia to translate it. I was under the impression that the "que" had to be attached to the more important word in the phrase: "the Citizens", but notice: "It wouldn't be elegant Latin, but understood.". I am afraid you have to ask him or a other user who knows latin to be really sure. Flamarande 13:02, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
That's not the point of the suffix 'que' at all. Que simply means 'and'. So adding it to a this: bellumque pax..means "war and peace".Weather rain.pngSoothingR 18:53, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
If you add "que" to a Latin word, it applies to thát particular word. So, "bellumque pax" should be "pax bellumque/bellum paxque". I think "Senatus Populi Quiritesque Romae" would have been quite wrong.. "The Senate of the People and the Roman Citizens of Rome" sounds as plain nonsense to me. "Senatus Populique Quirites Romae" would really be the proper form, I believe. Actually, it's a great translation. Women, children, slaves etc. were no part of the S.P.Q.R., because they were no Roman Citizens (Cives Romani), they could, however, be Roman People. (Romani, Populus Romae, Populus Romanus) 15:49, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
You have to present your translation of "The Senate and the Citizens of the People of Rome" to User:Homagetocatalonia to decide which is the more correct one, for I don´t know any latin and I am unable to decide which is the better one. Flamarande 18:05, 26 February 2006 (UTC) PS: I will replace "Senatus Quiritesque Populi Romae" for "Senatus Populique Quirites Romae" as the more correct translation for "The Senate and the Citizens of the Roman People" in 1 week if there is no challenge to its correctness.
I decided to include it and not to replace one by another. Let scolars debate who is the correct one. Flamarande 15:50, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

What is your source for including Quirites in the first place? First I've ever seen it. Septentrionalis 17:35, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm, I have to check but I first found in a book (written 1913) of a german scholar. But I found it mentioned in other more recent books. Before I began to reform this article, it was allready here but I expanded it. As for the fact you never read it before, I have to ask you. what books do you have? Flamarande 20:40, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

That would be a long list, including both of Rostovtseff's books on Rome. Septentrionalis 23:10, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
In all these books is there a mention of the initialism? What is the given translation? Flamarande 11:31, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
I haven't gone back and checked; but the only version I know is Senatus Populusque Romanus, usually tr. "the Senate and the Roman People". Please note I'm not removing Quirites, just asking for source. Septentrionalis 17:04, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
That is without a doubt, the more famous one, for it was used by the middle and late Roman republic and by the Roman empire and as such apppears in almost all the monuments and famous documents. Ok, searched and found my main source for the : "Geschichte der Römer" - (eng. tranlation: History of the Romans) by Oskar Jäger, honorary profesor of the university of Bonn. I have the 10th edition (1913), it was originally printed in 1835 but subsequently revised around 1900. It doesn´t have a ISBN (I guess they didn´t have it back then). It is a bit dated, he tends to accept and to follow the views of the old roman sources (he defends the old Roman view that Cleopatra was a unworthy woman - "ein unnütziges weib" who vilely seduced the weak Marc Antony), but on the whole it is a good book, and he is very thourough in his facts. Hmm, I am going to include him in the references. But if you search closely here and there, there is plenty of evidence for this view. Read the article. Flamarande 13:47, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

SPQR Dispute?[edit]

I'm not sure why the author of the SPQR wiki stated that SPQR meaning is disputed. If you go to the forum in Rome and take a look at the Temple of Jupiter there are columns and then the facade above it. The facade clearly says:


Uhh, have you read the article? It is very clearly explained that "version" is the most famous one, since it was used since a very early stage of the republic and continued to be used under the empire. Despite all that, there are other versions (some of them are simply bad translations, others are more ancient) and I thought that it would be simply better to have all of them in this article and explain the value of each of them. It would be the same than to write an article about the "christian gospels", then restrict that article only to the four official ones, while simply ignoring the other 30 of them because they are not well-known and official = gnostic. Flamarande 11:35, 15 April 2006 (UTC) PS: Sign yourself with four " ~ ".

This is an interesting topic. What if the SPQR construction was just something Augustus manufactured from, say SPQG? To me that makes more sense because it is the kind of flag Ceasar could have had non-Roman soldies join the battles in gaul, without getting reinforced from rome. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DavoudMSA (talkcontribs) 12:17, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I was always taught "Senatus Populus Quorum Romanus", but I can't find this version listed in the article or this talk page LaVieEntiere (talk) 06:14, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Find a reliable source and you can add it. -- Ian Dalziel (talk) 07:17, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Not to mention that there's no way to make sense of the Latin syntax. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:44, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes, dispute[edit]

You know, I have never put a template on an article but after reading the pure nonsense of this article I think I may well do that, the one that says, the accuracy of this article is disputed. First of all, SPQR is not a literary phrase to be interpreted or translated as you think fit. It was an official phrase, the official signature of the Roman Replublic, which the emperors chose to retain to make their institution more palatable to the people, who were used to seeing their name plastered on official documents of any medium.

As to the grammar it is beyond me how people can admit to knowing no Latin in one sentence and then give pronouncements on the grammar in the next. The expression is undoubtedly Senatus Populusque Romanus, always was, always has been, never was anything else, never was questioned, never was misunderstood. It is attested on an uncounted number of inscriptions in metal, on stone, on statues, on buildings, in representations, what have you, and it is always the same. There is no doubt about what SPQR stands for or what it means either.

Now for your grammatical pronouncements.
  • First of all, this is a standard piece of inscriptional prose. As such it has no grammar, it is not inflected, cannot be altered, is not living prose. That is what you put to sign with the government's authority and that is that. There are many such pieces, some reflecting archaic Latin, which was not spoken at all for most of the Republic. They were like legal lingo, containing many expressions from a former brand of English that are little understood or used now. SPQR is not archaic, but it is a formula meaning "this is the government talking." The man who chiseled or wrote that expression was not an author or a legislator, was not performing an act of composition, was not even writing anything, did not feel free to interpret or rephrase or disagree about the grammar. The officials who told him to put it there were more or less in the same position. Nor did the senators or magistrates do any composition on it. It was a rubber stamp, you know? The Romans abbreviated when there was no question of what the abbreviation meant (as there is today). C. meant Caius, Q. meant Quintus, S.P.Q.R. meant Senatus Populusque Romanus.
  • que. Que is que, the postpositive conjunction. If you are interested in learning some Latin (I highly suggest it, considering your interests), let me recommend to you Mountford's Bradley's Arnold's Latin Prose Composition, which is at the intermediary level. Article 48 of the Introduction says "-que couples words to form one whole." One whole may therefore take a singular adjective. As for the suggestion that it is Quirites or Quiritium, that is patently wrong. There is no inscriptional evidence to support it. Then you would have three conjoined items without a conjunction, one a plural, modified by a singular adjective. If you suppose the genitive, you have some pretty peculiar prose, "the senate and people of the spearmen." But I thought the people were the spearmen. As for spearmen, you have no sources here. I doubt if it means that. Who says it does?
  • Romanus/Romae. Romanus is used in expressions of this type; e.g., civis Romanus, "Roman citizen." The locative, Romae, means actually at the city of Rome. It wasn't "the senate and the people at Rome", as the people were not all at Rome and anyway they were not interested in the location of the senate here any more than when we say Washington meaning the government we are trying to say the government is located at Washington. Some is, some isn't. Who cares where it is.

Apart from these little problems the author keeps saying that P and Q, for example, are disputed. Of yeah? By whom? Wikipedia editors who don't know any Latin do not count.

Well the bottom line is that this article needs attention by a classicist. A total rewrite is in order. I like the pictures, by the way. The trivia can stay as trivia. I may decide to work on this article next. We need some sources here. The last time I saw the article it had numerous requests for sources on it. Now it has been rewritten and the requests are not there, but neither are any sources. And, the article is wrong. I hope the author does not think he took care of it.

Meanwhile, you afficionados, I appreciate your zeal. I'm only saying, you need to know something about it to write the article. Why don't you fellows work on something easier or more in your line for a while? Let me get some material together, if I am going to; however, I am sure there must be other classics majors out there. Take a hand, you classicists, promulgate the knowledge for the public. Don't let classics die or fall into the hands of those who know no latin. 03:49, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

i'm no expert in latin but it seems to me that the meaning would make more sense and seems to be to me, as italian and spanish are, to mean "Roman peoples' senate". this seems to me to make more sense in the type of propaganda they might use. as it would emphasise that rome belongs and is controlled by the people thus helping to appease the pleibeians and perhaps other countries they would invade and conquer convincing the people that they are freeing those they invade by putting them in control of their country. not unlike how we might hear about spreading democracy thus putting a positive spin on invasion by making it seem as though attacking a country and imposing our ideals on them would be freeing them.

"the roman peoples' senate" just seems to me to fit with the text's meaning particularly if you look at how que is used in spanish and italian and french, no doubt not a coincidence, and at the type of message rome would wish to print on everything.

Format Changes[edit]

I did some minor reformating and the like. Hope it meets with approval. Wilybadger 03:10, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Translation section[edit]

Here is the translation section, which I just removed from the article's text:


Some possible questions rise with this, as with any translation. Initialisms are of debatable value and accuracy, as the meanings of words are subject to both change and complexity. Its meaning was probably of archaic origin even during ancient Roman times.

  • S most assuredly stood for Senatus - "Senate".
  • P is disputed, some see in it Populus or Populusque, "the people" and "and the people", respectively.
  • Q is disputed, it stood either for que - "and", or Quirites or Quiritium, both of which mean "spearmen". Originally all Roman citizens had been soldiers (see below).
  • R probably stood for Romae, Romanus or Romanorum, translated into "of Rome", "Roman" or "of the Romans", respectively.

All this leads to divergent phrases:

  • Senatus Populus Quiritium Romanus

The Senate and the citizens' Roman people, Quiritium being the genitive plural of Quiris - "citizen". This initialism is given by Castiglioni and Mariotti, authors of a renowned Latin dictionary, among other scholars.

  • Senatus Populusque Quiritium Romanorum

This version is remarkably similar to the version above and follows the same logic, being translated as the Senate and people of the Roman citizens.

  • Senatus Populus Quirites Romanus

This is another version and also follows the same logic.

  • Senatus Populusque Romanus

The Senate and the Roman people. This version started to be used since the earliest stages of the Roman Republic, and continued to be used later during the Roman Empire. As such, it appears in most of the famous monuments and documents. A fine example of this is the Arch of Titus built around 81 AD to honor Titus and his father the Emperor Vespasian. It is also used in Trajan's Column which was built in 113 AD to pay homage to Emperor Trajan.

  • Senatus Populusque Romae.

This version translates into the currently famous The Senate and the people of Rome. Populus meaning "people", the suffix que meaning "and", and Romae meaning "of Rome". This version has the great merit that its English translation is simply the better sounding one, but its historical accuracy is highly dubious. The English translation is used in many movies and TV series about Ancient Rome.

The reason I effected this removal are as follows. I'm sorry, I don't mean to step on toes, but this information is 100% false. Anyone with a classics background can immediately see that the author made it up ad hoc. Second, the author never talks about translation at all. He spends the whole space speculating what S.P.Q.R. might stand for. Well, he needn't speculate. He could have just looked it up in the Latin dictionary, if he had any Latin. If he didn't, why is he presuming to write this article? I'd say, only write about that of which you have SOME knowledge. Second, never write off the top of your head. Do your homework first. Third, don't guess. It's a big temptation, I know, but don't do it. Truth is stranger than fiction. So, as a peer review, I'd inscribe on the paper, if it were a paper, "Needs more work!" But, I wouldn't expect to see it back. In Wikipedia technique, it needs references! But I doubt you will find any. 06:25, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Historical context of this date[edit]

The only thing the skeptics are pondering is this section of the article. Bottom line: it needs work by a person with some knowledge of the events and customs, or by one willing to do the homework to find out. I'll be gradually working on it if no one else does, at least until it actually says something. The Wikipedia trangressions are that it presents original theories; to wit, the author's off-the cuff speculations of what he thinks SPQR might mean. There are no references to any published work online or paper. There is no question at all about what SPQR means. Moreover this section only repeats what the "translation" section said, which I excised. It's time for something else more accurate to be said. 06:31, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

PS Here is the removed material. Author, you are not deciding what the best way to say this is, the Romans did that already.Dave 14:13, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Skeptics ponder questionable references to this in history. One has to realize that a citizen of Rome was expected to fight for the Roman Republic. The people of Rome would include women, children, and perhaps even slaves. All these classes were a part of the Roman people but not citizens of the Roman Republic. A free Roman male who had all the rights and fulfilled his duties, who was able and willing to fight for the republic and the people was a citizen, a member of an elite, in effect a subgroup within the people. Therefore, a citizen would originally be called a Quiris - "spearman".

This can also be seen in the original denomination of the citizens right: Ius civile Quiritium. On a certain occasion Julius Caesar subdued a rebellious legion by apparently accepting all their demands and then famously addressing them with quirites - citizens (as opposed to soldiers - Suetonius: Divus Julius 70). The shocked legionaries cried out, reaffirming their loyalty towards their beloved general.

Perhaps a more accurate modern translation of the original meaning would be: The Senate and the Citizens of the People of Rome - Senatus Quiritesque Populi Romae, which regrettably would change the initialism into SQPR. However, since word order is secondary to conjugation in Latin, one could rearrange it to Senatus Populique Quirites Romae or Senatus Populi Quiritesque Romae for SPQR. It would not be elegant Latin, but understood.

Take another course, man.Dave 15:10, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

So then doesn't this support the banner being used to lead 'Roman' troops from outside the province of Lazio into battle? Augustus attempted to destroy Caesar's Republic by making Roman Citizens focus on their differences rather than their unity. Its as if he created the military-industrial complex of his time. DavoudMSA (talk) 12:43, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

New intro and historical sketch[edit]

Well I finished with the accuracy of the thing. Now there is something to copyedit. I'm going to move on however and leave the humor up to someone else to edit. When you finish, take off the copyedit template. If I see the excised material back again without sources and examples I'm going to put the accuracy template on.Dave 15:10, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Image deletion[edit]

Why was Image:SPQR-Stone.jpg deleted? Does anyone here know? | AndonicO Talk | Sign Here 15:25, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

It seems to have been a duplicate image. Image:Spqrstone.jpg should do the trick, so I've used this as replacement. Valentinian (talk) / (contribs) 13:02, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

The Senate and the Roman People[edit]

I figured that my change in translation from "The Senate and the People of Rome" to "The Senate and the Raman People" warranted extra discussion than the small explanation I gave.

The fact that the SPQ expands to The Senate and the People is undebated. Romanus translates directly to "Roman". It is in the nominative case, and as such should not be translated with the helping word "of".

In order to translate the phrase to "The Senate and the People of Rome" SPQR would have to stand for "Senatus Populusque Romae", which it doesn't.

Literally, SPQR would translate to "The Senate and the People Roman". Flipping the words Roman and People (yealding The Senate and the Roman People) has no effect whatsoever on the meaning, whilst translating Romanus as a genitive does. It implies that the people are indeed not Roman, but instead belonging to Rome. The people do not belong to to rome, they are not "of Rome". They are Roman. Do you reference them as Romans or People of Rome? Romans. Do you address Americans as American, or "of America"? American. To say "I am an American" is indeed far more potent than to say "I am of America". Both the terms American, and Roman imply a depth of culture, and nationalism for the people, rather than being simply residents, or citizens. Roman denotes an emotional connection between one and one's country. To call the Romans "of rome", instead of Roman is a despicable understatement.

Although the difference is slight it is indeed important. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:15, 22 February 2007 (UTC).

I just changed it to "The Roman senate and people". It definitely isn't "The senate and people of Rome" since Romanus isn't a genitive noun. I think it was wrong to suggest that Romanus only describes populus; why shouldn't it describe senatus as well? senatus and populus have the same case and number. Think of it as (senatus populusque)Romanus, rather than senatus (populusque Romanus). If it were only the Roman people and no mention of whose senate it is; it could be anyone's senate. Even Carthage, their worst enemy had a senate, and without Romanus applying to both senatus and populus, the sentence would be illogical. Anyone who doesn't speak Latin should not change this page to say "The senate and people of Rome". I have heard it way too many times from ignorant people out on the street, but to see it written in an encyclopaedia is terrible. Romanus IS NOT A GENITIVE NOUN!!! Huey45 10:29, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't think anyone is under the impression that "Romanus" is a noun. However, most people left word for word translation behind in first year language classes. "The senate and people of Rome" is long-established as the translation which best conveys the sense of the original. Wiktionary's definition of "Roman" is "of Rome", so there is hardly a huge semantic gulf. -- Ian Dalziel 09:15, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
First, it certainly is literally translated as "The Senate and the Roman People," as Romanus is clearly nominative. Secondly, one of the beauties of Latin is that since Senatus, Populus and Romanus are all in the nominative, "Romanus" can easily be transferred/applied to both words. Thus, something like "The Roman Senate and the Roman People." Now, clearly it doesn't need to be written like that, as that sense is readily apparent. However, perhaps the header of the article should include (in parenthesis or however) something like: (Literally: The Senate and the Roman People) or something similar to get across both viewpoints. In addition, "Of Rome" (at least to me) seems to imply more of a "city only" feel, meaning only Rome immediately, whereas "Roman people" feels like it encompasses the Empire in general, whether one was a citizen in Gaul, or Africa, or Rome itself. Vincent Valentine 05:01, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Disagree on two points. Firstly, to make the adjective apply to both nouns in English, it would have to be "the Roman Senate and People", not "the Senate and the Roman People". Secondly, the subjective impression is the other way round for me - "Roman" sounds like a geographic or ethnic description, while "of Rome" suggests the city state. I think "Senate and People of Rome" is the normal translation, but all of that is clearly OR and irrelevant. Literally, there is no difference between the translations as long as the adjective applies to both nouns, since "Roman" is defined as "of Rome". I don't really care which way it is stated, but the adjective should apply to both nouns, which it didn't in the version I changed. -- Ian Dalziel (talk) 13:18, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't matter whether YOU prefer "of Rome" or "Roman." What does matter is that Romanus undoubtedly means Roman. It's an adjective. Any Classicist will immediately translate it that way. It's not at all correct to translate it as "of Rome," even if you don't see a big difference. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Ian, I must advise you that you're absolutely incorrect about the "of Rome" being a "long-established" translation. I am a classicist by training and a member of the academic community. I must sincerely urge you not to be obstinate to this point. There is absolutely no benefit whatsoever to translating the SPQR as "of Rome" rather than leaving the equally clear but grammatically superior "Roman" in place. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:59, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Computer game[edit]

I am probably making myself unpopular by not saying anything to do with Latin ;-), but here goes...

There is also a Myst-like adventure game called SPQR, set in Ancient Rome. I would like to know if it is well-known enough to have its own page. I would be able to provide enough information for a short article, as we play on it at the end of our Saturday Latin class (with the teacher's supervision, of course!). What do other people think?

CarrotMan 11:17, 3 April 2007 (UTC) (Okay, so I lied about the Latin)

I have been bold and created the page. CarrotMan 06:40, 28 April 2007 (UTC)


Hi Ep Erik


Fair use rationale for Image:Coat of arms of Rome.png[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Coat of arms of Rome.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 19:47, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

ablative absolute[edit]

In more official contexts therefore Senatus Populusque Romanus was used for signing-off purposes. The singular was used for the nominative case. The plural could be used in other cases: senatu populoque consentientibus, "the senate and people ratifying" (an ablative absolute construction). In society SPQR was often "bully" language, the same as threatening to report or prosecute someone today

I do not understand what this is intended to say. An ablative absolute with a compound subject and a plural verb is not at all surprising. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:57, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, Anderson, it was intended to say what it does in fact say. What it says, it says. The fact that you don't understand it means you know no Latin. If you were to read a mathematical formula knowing no mathematics you would not then be justified in complaining to the world that you did not understand it. I thought it was some interesting additional detail about the use of the formula. On the whole however I see it has little effect on the article. If you find find these things puzzling, my boy, take a course. If you want some instant answers there is enough grammar on Wikipedia now so that you can find the information you desire. Let's just leave it out for now, as the gist of the article is legalistic and governmental rather than grammatical. As to your comment,I don't see any logic in that at all. So what, and what has that to do with what I said? I say, gosh, the formuala can be in the ablative absolute. You say, by golly, that is not surprising, so let's take it out. I suppose you did not like the statement about the bully language and did not wish to say so and therefore threw together some kangaroo reasons. Too contorted for me. I like the direct approach.Dave (talk) 05:06, 21 November 2008 (UTC)


The two translations as currently stated are fine and I hope they are left that way. Nothing at all is to be gained by overanalysis of the grammar typically by first-year Latin students (I presume). The current translations reflect that the words can be grouped two ways: senatus populusque | romanus OR senatus | populusque romanus. The latter choice has the disadvantage of excluding the senate from being the Roman people and I doubt if that is a good idea at all. Populus appears to be of Etruscan origin and the early senate were probably persons of Etruscan descent. But to be perfectly honest after so many billion repetitions of the formula I doubt if anyone knew of these supposed distinctions at all or would have cared in the slightest. The English mind faced with the necessity to translate and to be highly scientific seems to need to ponder these things. Let's just leave it as is, hey?Dave (talk) 05:22, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Clarifying conclusion[edit]

Do I understand (after reading all of the above, and with several years of Latin education [long ago], but NOT a lot of Republican history) that the following express the conclusion here?

1. SPQR may be accurately translated into modern English as "The Roman Senate and (equally Roman) People".

2. A translation as "The Senate and People of Rome" should only be regarded as accurate if we recognize that "of Rome" denotes constitution (of the political entity, by both the Senate and the people), not location (in a particular city) -- perhaps equivalent to "The Senate and People who are Rome". Jmacwiki (talk) 22:26, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

As someone currently studying Classics I would say to those points:

1. Yes, although the adjective Romanus doesn't necessarily have to apply to both nouns. In the translation in the book Amo, Amas, Amat by Classicist Harry Mount, the translation is given as the more likely "The Senate and the Roman People".

2. This would be a weak argument to accept, I think. The constitution of the Republic comprised the Senate and the Roman (i.e citizens) people, together with elected magistrates (who would then go on to the Senate). To talk of the Senate and the Roman People meant the Republic. In terms of grammar, I agree. Romanus cannot mean 'of Rome' or 'at Rome'.

I would add that the use of "People of Rome" is likely a rewording of the correct translation for effects of added grandeur in English, without understanding that "the Roman People" had a significant political meaning to the Romans, and did not simply mean people in the general sense. (talk) 22:51, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Also note that in Latin you do not use 'of Rome' in this sense - Latin always uses an adjective (whereas English allows either). So a correct translation of 'the people of Rome' would be 'populus Romanus'. However, 'the Roman people' is a safer English translation, because it translates directly, and avoids any ambiguity. Teppic74 (talk) 12:47, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Definition Of Manhood[edit]


My Question: As I understand it SPQR first represented a standard of Manhood by the original Romans. Once established it became the phrase to represent the Senate and People of Rome. The word Senutas first meant Honorable and Fatherly men of the family and the People of Rome. The definition was expressed by there word "VIRTUS" or in English "Virtues". What do you think and know about this? I got this idea from a book I read a long while ago entitled Caesar and Christ by Will Durant. I do not know were he got it from? Reestablishment of manhood (talk) 23:14, 24 August 2009 (UTC)


Did the Romans ever write SPQR without dots? I don't whether to markup SPQR[citation needed] or SPQR[is that proper spelling?], so I mention here that I think the Romans did never write abbreviations without dots. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 15:49, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

I think I'm going to answer it myself: images such as on [1] shows that it was customary to skip the dots on coins. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 15:59, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Modern List[edit]

It looks like that list of modern cities that have followed the same pattern could get very long, maybe it should be spun off/removed and only a few more famous ones left in this article. -- (talk) 22:28, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Pazzi Romani[edit]

"Sono Pazzi Questi Romani" better translates into "These Romans are Crazy" rather than "Those Romans are Crazy." "Questi" always means "these." "Those" would be "Quelli" in Italian. I went ahead and edited the page to reflect that. Pastafarian23 (talk) 05:45, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Why is Italian relevant at all? In French original, Obelix says "Ils sont fous ces romains" and taps his forehead, "toc toc toc". The Romans are of course depicted as speaking Latin, not Italian. So if this extra joke can be found only in Italian translation, or if English translation uses an Italian phrase to make it, I find it of less relevance. For now, I'll place a template there asking for sources. -- (talk) 20:39, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah! It is the Italian translation. 'Some translations have actually added local humour: In the Italian translation, the Roman legionnaires are made to speak in 20th century Roman dialect and Obelix's famous "Ils sont fous ces romains" ("These Romans are crazy") is translated as "Sono pazzi questi romani", alluding to the Roman abbreviation SPQR.' Asterix#Humour. -- (talk) 10:22, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Historical context[edit]

Does anyone know the earliest extant example of the SPQR formula? Populus originally had military connotations (i.e. the citizens when under arms). An example ref (of many) "There are various indications that populus has a military connotation; the verb populari mean to sack or destroy; the ancient term for dictator (in the sense of leader of the army) was magister populi; and in the Carmen Saliare, we find pilumnoe poploe (pilum-bearing people...)"[1]

If the phrase truly dates to the early years of the republic, originally it would have meant the Senate and the Army of Rome, or perhaps the Senate and soldier-citizens of Rome. (talk) 22:23, 12 June 2011 (UTC) Jon Jeffery, Leiden

Publica, The Public ...all of the people, citizens and non. Populus, The People, those citizens able to bear arms in defence of Rome. ie: those counted on the Military Rolls. First used as far as we know, just after Tarquinus(younger) was deposed. So at the start of the Republic. Hence re Publica, concerning the people.

Originalfenir (talk) 02:19, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for the reply, but the definition of Populus you give is a modern one, using the known later usage of the word in Latin. What are the reasons that you think that it was first used just after Tarquinus the Proud was deposed? Or that it's meaning then was the same as it was several centuries later? It is not necessary for the phrase Res Publica/republic to originate at the same time as the phrase Senatus Populus Que Romanus (or varients). In fact, do we have any evidence that the Romans in 509BC used the the phrase Res Publica to describe their post-regal form of government? I repeat my question, what is the oldest *surviving* inscription or coin to show the SPQR formula? 2nd or 3rd Century BC? More recent than that? Jon Jeffery, Leiden — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:40, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

SPQR, Meaning.[edit]

SPQR Senatus Populusque Romanus.

Quirites, if you used that word, (from the time of the King's), to describe Romans in their time period, you were insulting them. If you uttered this word, you were in trouble. As it describes the one, over the many in roman parlance, and later became slang used by Romanus enemies. But yes it was the anceint and original name of the people of Rome. It was not in use at the time of SPQR.

NOTE: If i remember correctly, a senator had his head removed for using that word in the senate during the republic.

Well, we all seem to understand Senate. Now lets explain the second part. Populusque. Populus is easy, "the People". re Publica, re populus, concerning the Public / People.

When we want to "and" something in latin, we generally use "et". But when two words need to be "and linked", or need to be linked in way to understand the first word has no meaning without the second, we -que. Que is what we call a enclitic, it links two words. eg: joins them together to obtain meaning. It is used as a, for want of a better explaination, a more powerful "And". Perhaps better saying, it is inclusive, rather than exclusive or descripive.

For example. Pueris puellīsque, Boys "and" Girls. Now this is a far more powerful than Pueris et Puellis. The former is inclusive, while the later is descriptive. Concilium coetusque, Council and Union. Concilium, to council, or in council. English, conciliation. to meet again. to meet in union. Base english, to try and find common ground. General use of -que in roman times was most often in the context of a phrase. Plus plusque, More and More. ei: Plus and Plus. It must be taken together to gain meaning.

So que, links two words together, which is how we get "Senate and the people". It's not exclusive. It's suppose to be inclusive. Therefore Senate and the People, Senatus populusque. They are saying you cannot have one without the other. There is not meaning without both, for example. Senate is of, and for the people.

The senate is of the people of rome. Romanus, Roman. To be Roman, Are Roman. We are Roman. Or, we are of Roman.

Romanus, latin for Roman. Cognomen, Latin plural cognomina is "together with". Hence. SPQR Senatus Populusque Romanus. Senate and the People of Rome. (it's closer meaning in (modern)Vulgar english is "The Senate and the People that are Roman".) But it's meaning is you are of Rome. Therefore you are Roman. Because we are one, so to speak. Well thats the original meaning, but latin spoken remember, is vulgar latin, it is different to how you write latin, which is classical latin. Just the same in modern English, how i talk English, is not the same as how i wrote it at university, or even how i write/type here. What can i say, humans are lazy, me included.

So SPQR, S for Senate, P for the People who can defend Rome & Romans, Q because it tells us one is useless without the other, and R becaue they are of Rome, therefore Roman.

Tempus Locusque, Time and Place.

There are untold numbers of written records, and engravings, with the same words from roman times, all the Romanus cannot be wrong. Espeically when they placed such an importance on exact understanding of their language. And if you could not express yourself in the full context of Latin, you were considered a pleb.

Originalfenir (talk) 02:15, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

This entire discussion is pointless unless someone wants to actually do the work and investigate and cite some sources beyond simply pointing at surviving documents and inscriptions and saying, "Look here!" Scholarly sources have been cited at different points that suggest that the Quirites were the original source of the letter Q for whatever reason (the Quirites being a separate ethnic group, a term for Romans themselves as suggested in the Wikipedia article, etc.). Before people simply revert any mention of Q standing for anything else besides 'que', some real homework needs to be done to show that Q never ever stood for anything else. --Sephiroth9611 (talk) 02:14, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Prove the negative, eh? That ought to be easy... -- Ian Dalziel (talk) 10:08, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, can it be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no doubt? As far as I can see, the scholarly sources presented so far have been ignored. The 'que' advocates should at least make an effort to demonstrate why those sources are should not be considered. --Sephiroth9611 (talk) 00:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Of Rome, or Roman?[edit]

Could somebody explain why it's "The Senate and People of Rome" rather than "The Roman Senate and People"? Doesn't the agreement between *senatus*, *populus*, and *romanus* suggest that *romanus* is an adjective that modifies the nouns *senate* and *people*? In other words, if it's "of Rome," why isn't it in the genitive (*romani*, of Rome), rather than the nominative (*romanus*, Rome (noun)/Roman (adjective))? -- (talk) 22:00, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

It's a translation of the phrase, not of the individual words. -- Ian Dalziel (talk) 22:48, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I just stumbled on this page, made the edit, and it was immediately reverted by Ian Dalziel. It looks like its his way or the viam. Sure. Fine. Whatever. Translate the phrase incorrectly.--Gen. Quon (Talk) 03:12, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
I already apologised for rolling back what was clearly a good faith edit without comment - it just seemed to me that this had already been done to death. The normal translation and the word-for-word translation are both already covered in the article. Ian Dalziel (talk) 16:58, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

How late was it used?[edit]

The article gives some information about when SPQR came into use, and says that it continued to be used into the empire. When and how did it die out? I have only found a forum post [2] suggesting that the last coins to use SPQR are from the reign of Constantine I. Is that correct? It would be nice for the article to include information about how long the SPQR formula was used in the west, and whether it was adopted to any extent in the east. --Amble (talk) 15:24, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ C.J. Smith (2006) The Roman Clan, CUP, p200