civitas x urbs

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by Casquilho, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Here is a somewhat subtle question, guys: if i want to say, "dreams wandering through dead cities", which word would better translate "city" in Latin, urbs, civitas, or none of these?
     
  2. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    'Urbs' stands for 'city': "Romana urbs" = the city of Rome. Or "magnitudine urbis" referring to the size of a city.
    "Civitas" stands for "citizens". It is rarely used for the noun 'city': "civitates terrae motu aflictae"= cities destroyed by earthquakes.
    "Latin-Romanian Dictionary", pp.196, 1268, Bucharest, 1983, G. Guțu
     
  3. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Thank you!
     
  4. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    It's to go a bit too far in free translation. Civis (plural Cives) means citizens. 'Civitas' is a political (social) body of citizens, a community.
     
  5. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Yes, it points to society. If 'dead cities' is a metaphor expressing the idea of death on a spiritual level, like everyone lost hope, then 'urbs' might not be the right choice. The plural in "cities" may lead to the entire society.
     

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