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A word which from the sense of “head,” literal or metaphorical (including under the latter the meaning of “source,” “beginning”), comes to signify:


A single person or thing as distinct from an aggregate ( Inst. iii. 16, 6; Dig. 6, 1, 1, 3). Hence perhaps its use to express a “chapter” of a law (Dig. 9, 2, 2, pr.) and a territorial unit for the purpose of land taxation under the later Empire (Cod. 10, 2).


A human being (B. G. iv. 15), e. g. as a subject of the poll-tax (Dig. 50, 4, 18, 8); and in this sense even slaves may be included, as in the phrase noxalis actio caput sequitur ( Inst. iv. 8, 5). But there is a tendency to restrict the term to citizens of some substance; thus the lowest century of Servius Tullius comprised the proletarii and capite censi; of whom the latter, having little or no property, were barely rated as so many head of citizens (Gell. xvi. 10; de Rep. ii. 22).


A human being regarded as capable of legal rights (= persona).


That capacity or those legal rights themselves.

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