[siv-i-tas; Latin kee-wi-tahs]
noun, plural civitates [siv-i-tey-teez; Latin kee-wi-tah-teys] .
the body of citizens who constitute a state, especially a city-state, commonwealth, or the like.
citizenship, especially as imparting shared responsibility, a common purpose, and sense of community.

< Latin cīvitās. See city Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


citizenship in ancient Rome. Roman citizenship was acquired by birth if both parents were Roman citizens (cives), although one of them, usually the mother, might be a peregrinus ("alien") with connubium (the right to contract a Roman marriage). Otherwise, citizenship could be granted by the people, later by generals and emperors. By the 3rd century BC the plebeians gained equal voting rights with the patricians, so that all Roman citizens were enfranchised, but the value of the voting right was related to wealth because the Roman assemblies were organized by property qualifications. Civitas also included such rights as jus honorum (eligibility for public office) and jus militiae (right of military service)-though these rights were restricted by property qualifications.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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