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SPQR, an abbreviation for (; en, "The Roman Senate and
People A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field wh ...
"; or more freely "The
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
and
People A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field wh ...
of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
"), is an emblematic abbreviated phrase referring to the
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
of the ancient
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
. It appears on
Roman currency Roman currency for most of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilisation of ancient Rome. Roman history has been influential on the modern world, especially in the ...
, at the end of documents made public by an inscription in stone or metal, and in dedications of monuments and public and civil works. The full phrase appears in Roman political, legal, and historical literature, such as the speeches of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
and ''
Ab Urbe Condita Libri The book ''History of Rome'', sometimes referred to as ''Ab Urbe Condita Libri'' (''Books from the Founding of the City''), is a monumental history of ancient Rome, written in Latin between 27 and 9 BC by the historian Titus Livius, or "Livy", ...
'' ("Books from the Founding of the City") of
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a historian. He wrote a monumental history of and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC th ...
.


Translation

SPQR: ''Senātus Populusque Rōmānus''. In
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
, '' Senātus'' is a
nominative In grammar, the nominative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject (grammar), subject o ...
singular noun meaning "
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
". ''
Populus ''Populus'' is a genus of 25–30 species of deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturist ...
que'' is compounded from the nominative noun ''
Populus ''Populus'' is a genus of 25–30 species of deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturist ...
'', "the People", and '' -que'', an enclitic particle meaning "and" which connects the two nominative nouns. The last word, '' Rōmānus'' ("
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
") is an
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
modifying the whole of '' Senātus
Populus ''Populus'' is a genus of 25–30 species of deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturist ...
que'': the "Roman Senate and People", taken as a whole. Thus, the phrase is translated literally as "The Roman Senate and People", or more freely as "The Senate and People of Rome".


Historical context

The title's date of establishment is unknown, but it first appears in inscriptions of the Late Republic, from c. 80 BC onwards. Previously, the official name of the Roman state, as evidenced on coins, was simply ''ROMA''. The abbreviation last appears on coins of
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine the Great
(ruled 312–337 AD), the first Roman emperor to support
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
. The two legal entities mentioned, ''Senātus'' and the ''Populus Rōmānus'', are sovereign when combined. However, where ''populus'' is sovereign alone, ''Senātus'' is not. Under the
Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilis ...
, neither entity was sovereign. The phrase, therefore, can be dated to no earlier than the foundation of the Republic. This signature continued in use under the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. The emperors were considered the ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' representatives of the people even though the '' senātūs consulta'', or decrees of the Senate, were made at the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' pleasure of the emperor. ''Populus Rōmānus'' in Roman literature is a phrase meaning the government of the People. When the Romans named governments of foreign states, they used ''populus'' in the singular or plural, such as ''populī Prīscōrum Latīnōrum'', "the governments of the Old Latins". ''Rōmānus'' is the established adjective used to distinguish the Romans, as in ''cīvis Rōmānus'', "
Roman citizen Citizenship in ancient Rome () was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance. *Women in Ancient Rome, Roman women had a limited form of citizenship. They were not allowed t ...
". The Roman people appear very often in law and history in such phrases as ''dignitās'', ''maiestās'', ''auctoritās'', ''lībertās populī Rōmānī'', the "dignity, majesty, authority, freedom of the Roman people". They were a ''populus līber'', "a free people". There was an ''exercitus, imperium, iudicia, honorēs, consulēs, voluntās'' of this same ''populus'': "the army, rule, judgments, offices, consuls and will of the Roman people". They appear in early Latin as ''Popolus'' and ''Poplus'', so the habit of thinking of themselves as free and sovereign was quite ingrained. The Romans believed that all authority came from the people. It could be said that similar language seen in more modern political and social revolutions directly comes from this usage. People in this sense meant the whole government. The latter, however, was essentially divided into the aristocratic Senate, whose will was executed by the
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
s and
praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the granted by the government of to a man acting in one of two official capacities: (i) the commander of an , and (ii) as an elected ' (magistrate), assigned to discharge various duties. The functions of the magi ...
s, and the ''comitia centuriāta'', "committee of the centuries", whose will came to be safeguarded by the
Tribune Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ...

Tribune
s. One of the ways the emperor
Commodus Commodus (; 31 August 161 – 31 December 192) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn R ...

Commodus
(180–192) paid for his donatives and mass entertainments was to tax the senatorial order, and on many inscriptions, the traditional order is provocatively reversed (''Populus Senatusque...''). Beginning in 1184, the
Commune of Rome #REDIRECT Commune of Rome#REDIRECT Commune of Rome The Commune of Rome ( it, Comune di Roma) was established in 1144 after a rebellion led by Giordano Pierleoni. Pierleoni led a people's revolt due to the increasing powers of the Pope and the e ...
struck coins in the name of the SENATVS P Q R. From 1414 until 1517, the Roman Senate struck coins with a shield inscribed SPQR. During the regime of
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
, SPQR was emblazoned on a number of public buildings and
manhole cover A manhole cover or maintenance hole cover is a removable plate forming the lid over the opening of a manhole, an opening large enough for a person to pass through that is used as an access point for an underground vault or pipe. It is designed to ...

manhole cover
s in an attempt to promote his dictatorship as a "
New Roman Empire
New Roman Empire
".


Modern use

Even in contemporary usage, SPQR is still used in the municipal coat of arms of Rome and as abbreviation for the
comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services: Civil registry, registry of births a ...
of Rome in official documents. The Italians have long used a different and humorous expansion of this abbreviation, "''Sono Pazzi Questi Romani''" (literally: "They're crazy, these Romans"). In
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, SPQR is also used in the flag and coat of arms of
Sabiñánigo
Sabiñánigo
. In business, in English-speaking countries, SPQR is sometimes (humorously) used to mean "Small Profits, Quick Returns", often by people who have studied Latin at school.


Civic references

''SPQ'' is sometimes used as an assertion of municipal pride and civic rights. The Italian town of
Reggio Emilia Reggio nell'Emilia ( egl, Rèz; la, Regium Lepidi), usually referred to as Reggio Emilia, or simply Reggio by its inhabitants, and known until Unification of Italy, 1861 as Reggio di Lombardia, is a city in northern Italy, in the Emilia-Romagn ...

Reggio Emilia
, for instance, has SPQR in its coat of arms, standing for . There have been confirmed usages and reports of the deployment of the "SPQ" template in;


Popular culture

In the 2000 movie ''
Gladiator A gladiator ( la, gladiator, "swordsman", from , "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run thr ...
'', the Roman general Maximus (portrayed by
Russell Crowe Russell Ira Crowe (born 7 April 1964) is an actor, director, musician, and singer. He was born in New Zealand, spent 10 years of his childhood in Australia, and moved there permanently at age 21. He came to international attention for his role ...

Russell Crowe
) has "SPQR" tattooed on his shoulder, which he removes by scraping after he is sold into slavery.


Use by white nationalists

Some members of
white nationalist White nationalism is a type of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular natio ...
groups use the abbreviation SPQR on flags, on their person (such as
tattoo A tattoo is a form of body modification Body modification (or body alteration) is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy The human body is the structure of a human being. It is composed of many different types of cells that to ...

tattoo
s) and other forms of identification. However, the
Anti-Defamation League The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), formerly known as the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, is an international Jews, Jewish non-governmental organization based in the United States. It was founded in late September 1913 by the Independent ...
does not include SPQR in its hate symbol database, and the organization's
Mark PitcavageMark Pitcavage is a historian and analyst of far-right wing groups. He works with the Anti-Defamation League and was the creator of the now-archived Militia Watchdog website. The site has been an archive since 2000 when Pitcavage took the position ...
said that the abbreviation is used "just as much or more often by nonextremists than extremists".


Gallery

File:Arch.of.Titus-Inscription.jpg, The inscription in the
Arch of Titus The Arch of Titus ( it, Arco di Tito; la, Arcus Titi) is a 1st-century AD honorific arch, located on the Via Sacra The Via Sacra (, "''Sacred Street''") was the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through ...

Arch of Titus
File:Rome-SPQR.JPG,
Manhole A manhole (alternatively utility hole, maintenance hole, or sewer hole) is an opening to a confined space such as a shaft, utility vault, or large vessel. Manholes are often used as an access point for an underground public utility A publi ...

Manhole
cover in Rome with SPQR inscription File:Stemma reggio emilia municipio.jpg, SPQR in the coat of arms of
Reggio Emilia Reggio nell'Emilia ( egl, Rèz; la, Regium Lepidi), usually referred to as Reggio Emilia, or simply Reggio by its inhabitants, and known until Unification of Italy, 1861 as Reggio di Lombardia, is a city in northern Italy, in the Emilia-Romagn ...

Reggio Emilia
File:3492 - Milano - Galleria Vittorio Emanuele - Stemma di Roma - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto, 22-June-2007.jpg, Detail from the mosaic floor in the
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II () is Italy's oldest active shopping gallery and a major landmark of Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most ...

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
in
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
File:Wenceslas Hollar - Superiority of the warrior class (State 2).jpg, "Superiority of the warrior class", by
Wenceslaus Hollar Wenceslaus Hollar (23 July 1607 – 25 March 1677) was a prolific and accomplished Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are ...
File:Arch of Septimius Severus Top Inscription.JPG,
Arch of Septimius Severus The Arch of Septimius Severus ( it, Arco di Settimio Severo) at the northwest end of the Roman Forum is a white marble triumphal arch dedicated in 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus Lucius Septimius ...

Arch of Septimius Severus
top inscription File:Fellini plaque, Via Veneto.jpg, Dedicatory plaque to
Federico Fellini Federico Fellini, (; 20 January 1920 – 31 October 1993) was an Italian film director and screenwriter known for his distinctive style, which blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness. He is recognized as one of the greatest and most ...

Federico Fellini
on
Via Veneto Via Vittorio Veneto (), colloquially called Via Veneto, is one of the most famous, elegant, and expensive streets of , . The street is named after the (1918), a decisive Italian victory of . 's classic 1960 film ' was mostly centered on the Via ...

Via Veneto
File:20080423 Rotterdam Stadhuis Burgerzaal Pricker SPQR1.jpg, Mural in the Burgerzaal of


References


Further reading

* *


External links


Instances of "Roman Senate and People"
in www.Perseus.edu
Lewis & Short dictionary entry for populus
on www.Perseus.edu
Polybius on the Senate and People (6.16)

SPQR street light lamp in Rome
{{Ancient Rome topics , state = collapsed Ancient Roman government Latin mottos Initialisms