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Privatus

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Privatus

Postby TonyLoco23 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:31 pm

According to Whitaker's Words:

Privatus is the participle of "privare", which means to deprive, to rob, or to free.

So 'privatus' means someone/something that is deprived, stolen or freed.

But "privatus" also means simply private, ordinary, or a private citizen.

Is there any connection between these two meanings? Is a 'private citizen' someone who has been freed (i.e. not a slave), or is ordinary/deprived, (i.e. not of the nobility)

If an object is private, that would seem to indicate the opposite of freed or robbed.
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Re: Privatus

Postby Alatius » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:17 pm

Yes, I believe that someone is called "privatus" when not in the capacity of a public office.
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Re: Privatus

Postby ptolemyauletes » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:06 pm

'privatus' is usually used in Classical Latin to refer to a person who is acting outside of the bounds of political office, who has been freed or separated from office (note that the term 'freed' here has no moral attachment or sense of being unburdened, but is being used in a much more literal meaning, that of separation). For example, in his First Oration against Catiline, Cicero describes Publius Scipio as acting 'privatus' ie. not in the capacity of political office. The term comes more generally to mean people or things that are not in the public sphere, hence private. Private property is property that is not held by the state. The connection between English 'deprivation' and private is not immediately obvious, but an understanding of the original meaning of the word and of its various usages and contexts and the journey it has taken is revealing.
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