In the Roman Republic, the word comitia was used for the various popular assemblies (e.g. comitia centuriata). I can't find any clear indication online as to its etymological roots.

I was wondering whether it could be derived from the word comes, meaning companion or comrade. Its derivation could be analogous to that of militia from miles. Does this make sense linguistically? And is there some possible evidence out there that could be used for or against this theory?

  • Welcome to the site and thanks for an excellent first question! – Joonas Ilmavirta May 5 at 10:20

Comitia is indeed derived from comes. Both come from the prefix com- "with, together" plus the root i- "go": a companion is someone who goes with you, and an assembly is a place where people go together.

Here's the entry from de Vaan's etymological dictionary of Latin:

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  • @TKR Should I delete all the comments to this answer? They seem to contribute little to improving or clarifying the answer, so I'm tempted to clean them up but I thought I'd ask your opinion. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 1 at 6:38
  • @JoonasIlmavirta I agree the discussion doesn't contribute much -- I don't know what the relevant site policy is (if any), but for my part I have no problem with deleting the comments. – TKR Jun 1 at 16:49
  • I cleaned them up. The network policy is that comments are only for improving the post, like suggesting edits or asking clarifying questions. If someone has a different answer in mind (or any answer when commenting on a question), they should go and post an answer instead. If you ever think that a comment is unnecessary, you can flag it as "no longer needed". Comments are deleted pretty frequently and mostly without warning. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 1 at 17:15

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