Definition 2023





civitas (plural civitates)

  1. (pedantic) A community.
  2. (pedantic) A state, (chiefly) a city-state.




From cīvis (citizen) + -itās.


(Classical) IPA(key): /ˈki.wi.tas/, [ˈkɪ.wɪ.tas]


cīvitās f (genitive cīvitātis); third declension

  1. citizenship: the status of belonging to and enjoying the rights of a city or larger state, especially (classical) Roman citizenship
  2. the rights of citizenship themselves, including freedom of the city
  3. the citizenry: a community, (by extension) the body politic, the state, particularly:
    1. (classical) the Celtic tribes or subkingdoms under Roman rule in Gaul and Britain
  4. the area of the citizens: a city with its associated hinterland or territory (thus distinguished from urbs), particularly:
    1. "The City", either (classical) Rome or (Medieval) Jerusalem
    2. (classical) the capital or center of Roman administration in each Celtic civitas (see above)
    3. (Medieval) a borough: a walled settlement, sometimes particularly former Roman towns
    4. (late Medieval) a city: a Biblical, major, or specially incorporated town, particularly cathedral cities
  5. (Medieval, Christianity) the community of believers: either the Church or Heaven


Third declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative cīvitās cīvitātēs
genitive cīvitātis cīvitātum
dative cīvitātī cīvitātibus
accusative cīvitātem cīvitātēs
ablative cīvitāte cīvitātibus
vocative cīvitās cīvitātēs

Derived terms

Related terms



  • civitas in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • civitas in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • CIVITAS in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
  • Félix Gaffiot (1934), “civitas”, in Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Paris: Hachette.
  • Meissner, Carl; Auden, Henry William (1894) Latin Phrase-Book, London: Macmillan and Co.
    • Plato's ideal republic: civitas optima, perfecta Platonis
    • Plato's ideal republic: illa civitas Platonis commenticia
    • Plato's ideal republic: illa civitas, quam Plato finxit
    • universal history: omnis memoria, omnis memoria aetatum, temporum, civitatum or omnium rerum, gentium, temporum, saeculorum memoria
    • the constitution: descriptio civitatis
    • to give the state a constitution: civitati leges, iudicia, iura describere
    • to be the chief man in the state: principem civitatis esse
    • the head of the state: rector civitatis (De Or. 1. 48. 211)
    • to make a man a citizen: civitate donare aliquem (Balb. 3. 7)
    • to enroll as a citizen, burgess: in civitatem recipere, ascribere, asciscere aliquem
    • to present a person with the freedom of the city: civitatem alicui dare, tribuere, impertire
    • to naturalise oneself as a citizen of another country: civitatem mutare (Balb. 11. 27)
    • the dregs of the people: faex populi, plebis, civitatis
    • aristocracy (as a form of government): civitas, quae optimatium arbitrio regitur
    • democracy: imperium populi or populare, civitas or res publica popularis
    • to banish a person, send him into exile: ex urbe (civitate) expellere, pellere aliquem
    • to banish a person, send him into exile: de, e civitate aliquem eicere
    • to expel a person from the city, country: exterminare (ex) urbe, de civitate aliquem (Mil. 37. 101)
    • to keep the citizens in servile subjection: civitatem servitute oppressam tenere (Dom. 51. 131)
    • to extort money from the communities: pecuniam cogere a civitatibus
    • to compel communities to provide troops: imperare milites civitatibus
    • to compel communities to provide hostages: obsides civitatibus imperare
  • civitas in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • civitas in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin