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gens , gentis, f. root GEN, gigno, that which belongs together by birth or descent,
I.a race or clan, embracing several families united together by a common name and by certain religious rites; orig. only patrician, but, after the granting of the connubium between patricians and plebeians, also plebeian (syn.: familia, stirps, genus; natio, populus).
I. Lit.: “Sulla gentis patriciae (sc. Corneliae) nobilis fuit, familia prope jam exstincta majorum ignaviā,Sall. J. 95, 3: “vera decora, non communiter modo Corneliae gentis, sed proprie familiae suae,Liv. 38, 58, 3: “L. Tarquitius patriciae gentis,id. 3, 27, 1: “apud P. Sestium patriciae gentis virum,id. 3, 33, 9; 6, 11, 2: “cum Marcelli ab liberti filio stirpe, Claudii patricii ejusdem hominis hereditatem, gente ad se rediisse dicerent,Cic. de Or. 1, 39, 176: “gens Tarquiniorum,id. Rep. 2, 25 fin.: “Julia,Liv. 1, 3, 2: L. Tarquinius duplicavit illum pristinum patrum numerum, et antiquos patres majorum gentium appellavit, quos priores sententiam rogabat; “a se ascitos minorum,Cic. Rep. 2, 20 Mos.; cf. Liv. 1, 35, 6: “ex gente Domitia duae familiae claruerunt, Calvinorum et Aenobarborum,Suet. Ner. 1; cf. Liv. 2, 29, 4: “patricii minorum gentium,Cic. Fam. 9, 21, 2; Liv. 1, 47, 7; Capitol. ap. Gell. 10, 20, 5: “anni principio de connubio patrum et plebis C. Canuleius tribunus plebis rogationem promulgavit, qua contaminari sanguinem suum patres confundique jura gentium rebantur,Liv. 4, 1, 1; cf. id. 4, 2, 5; 10, 8, 9: uti Feceniae Hispalae gentis enuptio, tutoris optio esset, etc., the right of marrying out of her gens, id. 39, 19, 5: “perjurus, sine gente,” i. e. of no family, of vulgar birth, Hor. S. 2, 5, 15; cf. respecting the Roman gens, Dict. of Antiq.
II. Transf.
A. In a manner borrowed from the division of the senators into majorum and minorum gentium (v. above): ipsi illi majorum gentium dii qui habentur, hinc a nobis profecti in caelum reperientur, the superior deities (the consentes), Cic. Tusc. 1, 13, 29: “Cleanthes, qui quasi majorum est gentium Stoicus,id. Ac. 2, 41, 126.—
B. Poet., like genus and stirps, of a single descendant, offspring of an entire race: “vigilasne, deūm gens, Aenea?Verg. A. 10, 228 (for which: “Dis genite,id. ib. 9, 642): “Tirynthia gens est (i. e. Fabius),Sil. 7, 35: “extrema viri,the last descendant, id. 2, 185.—*
C. In a contemptuous sense, like our tribe, brood, crew: “si illo die gens ista Clodiana, quod facere voluit, effecisset,Cic. Sest. 38, 81; so, “Clodia,id. Q. Fr. 2, 13, 1.—
D. In the widest sense = genus, the race; gens humana, the human race, Cic. Fin. 5, 23, 65; Hor. C. 1, 3, 26.—
E. Of beasts, etc., a race, herd, brood, swarm (poet. and in post-Aug. prose): “intestino bello totae gentes consumuntur,Col. 9, 9, 6: “quos (equos) in spem statues summittere gentis,of the race, breed, Verg. G. 3, 73: “utque luat poenas gens haec (i. e. vulpes),breed, race, Ov. F. 4, 711.—
F. In a more extended sense (as also γένος), a race, nation, people (sometimes more restricted than natio and populus, and sometimes put for them; v. in the foll., and cf. Drak. Liv. 23, 42, 1; “freq. and class.): Qui gentis omnis mariaque et terras movet,Plaut. Rud. prol. 1: cf.: “nos per gentis disparat,id. ib. v. 10: “gradus plures sunt societatis hominum. Ut enim ab illa infinita discedatur, propior est ejusdem gentis, nationis, linguae, qua maxime homines conjunguntur: interius etiam est ejusdem esse civitatis,Cic. Off. 1, 17, 53; cf.: “(Deus) non curat singulos homines ... ne civitates quidem ... ne nationes quidem et gentes,id. N. D. 3, 39, 93: “ita nationis nomen, non gentis evaluisse paulatim,Tac. G. 2: “Suebi, quorum non una gens...propriis adhuc nationibus nominibusque discreti,id. ib. 38: “atrox in Thracia bellum ortum, omnibus ejus gentis nationibus in arma accensis,Vell. 2, 98: “omnes exterae gentes ac nationes,Cic. de Imp. Pomp. 11, 31; cf.: “per omnes gentes nationesque,Quint. 11, 3, 87; “for which, in an inverted order: exterae nationes ac gentes,Cic. Font. 11, 25: “aut gentes aut populos,Quint. 11, 1, 86: inter multas regum gentiumque et populorum legationes, Liv. 45, 19, 1; 45, 22, 8; cf. “in an inverse order: populi et gentes,Quint. 12, 2, 3: “postquam bello subegit Aequorum magnam gentem et ferocem,Cic. Rep. 2, 20: “Sabina aut Volsca,id. ib. 3, 4: “Transalpinae,id. ib. 3, 9: “Allobrogum,id. Cat. 4, 6, 12: “Nerviorum,Caes. B. G. 2, 28, 1: “Germanorum,id. ib. 6, 32 init.: “Suevorum longe maxima Germanorum omnium,id. ib. 4, 1, 3; “so of the Etruscan nation,Liv. 5, 1, 6; “and in a wider sense than populus: non ex iisdem semper populis exercitus scriptos, quamquam eadem semper gens bellum intulerit,id. 6, 12, 4; 40, 15, 6; 2, 50, 2.—Also for civitas, the inhabitants of a city or town: “Caesar Gomphos pervenit, quod est oppidum primum Thessaliae venientibus ab Epiro, quae gens ultro ad Caesarem legatos miserat,Caes. B. C. 3, 80, 1: “atqui ad hoc, de quo agitur, non quaerimus gentem, ingenia quaerimus,Cic. Rep. 1, 37 fin.; cf.: “gladio pugnacissima gens Romani,Quint. 9, 3, 8; Liv. 5, 48, 3: “Segni Condrusique, ex gente et numero Germanorum,Caes. B. G. 6, 32, 1: “in illa incorrupta maxime gente Aegyptiorum,Cic. Rep. 3, 9, 14: “nos plurimis ignotissimi gentibus,id. ib. 1, 17, 26: “jus gentium,id. ib. 1, 2, 2; cf.: “quod naturalis ratio inter omnes homines constituit, id ... vocatur jus gentium quasi quo jure omnes gentes utuntur,Gai. Inst. 1, 1.—
2. In partic.
b. Gentes, opp. to the Romans, foreign nations, foreigners (post-Aug. and rare): “maneat, quaeso, duretque gentibus si non amor nostri at certe odium sui,Tac. G. 33; Auct. B. Hisp. 17 fin.
c. In the eccl. fathers, gentes, like ἔθνος, opp. to Jews and Christians, pagan nations, heathen, gentiles, Lact. 2, 13 fin.; Vulg. Psa. 2, 1 et saep.— Hence the title of Arnobius's work, Adversus Gentes.—
3. Transf., a region, country (very rare): “ut Aspim aggrederetur, qui Cataoniam tenebat: quae gens jacet supra Ciliciam,Nep. Dat. 4: “gentes viduatas esse suis cultoribus et desolatas,Arn. 1, 4.
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