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A word of uncertain derivation. Mommsen regards it as composed of the root of curis (quiris), “a spear,”+the root of ire, and hence =“the spearmen,” “warriors.” It was the name of the oldest inhabitants of Rome, the Latin Ramnes and the Sabine Tities taken together. Afterwards it became the name of the Roman people (populus Romanus Quiritium or populus Romanus Quirites) in home affairs, while Romani was used in connection with foreign affairs. It was the proudest of the designations of the Romans. Quirites was also used to indicate peaceable citizens, or civilians, as opposed to soldiers (milites) (Tac. Ann. i. 42; Iul. 70; Lucan, v. 358). See Civitas.

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    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.42
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