I was looking for the proper way to convey the idea of someone being a defender of people's rights,freedoms, and safety. In this context "Man" would be the same as "mankind" or "people." Maybe "Defender of the people" would be a more proper phrasing in English, but I was looking for something more concise. Thank you!


To my ears, defensor hominum would mean someone who defended the existence of human beings. For the political aspect, I'd go with defensor populi, nicely paralleling such concepts as vox populi. For the "people" as state, look no further than Rome's motto: *Senatus Populusque Romanus*, or even Cicero's res publica res populi.

See the Lewis and Short entry on populus.

I'd also second fdb's note of vindex, giving you vindex populi as the best way to convey what you want to say in Latin.

  • Thank you very much for taking out time to answer so thoughtfully; it is much appreciated. The motto is for a project of my brother's, and we were initially leaning toward "Denfensor Hominis" before I posted the question. I think I will now advise him to use "Defensor Populi." Thanks again! – D S Oct 20 '17 at 1:09

One standard title for British monarchs is dēfēnsor fideī, "defender of the faith". So in reference to that I'd take dēfēnsor as your first word. And the standard word for "of men" (as in "humans", not "adult males") is hominum. So I'd say dēfēnsor hominum.

(You can include the macrons, the little bars over some vowels, or omit them. They represent a pronunciation distinction that disappeared in later Latin.)


"Defensor" is certainly not wrong, but I think "vindex" somehow sounds more Roman. See the quotations here:


  • When I hear vindex I always think of an avenger rather than a defender, meaning II in L&S. – Draconis Oct 18 '17 at 22:13

(Adding this as a separate answer since it's very different from my first one.)

If you are interested in using Greek instead of Latin, the word Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros; Alexandrus in Latin) literally means "defending men" or "defender of men". It was an epithet of the goddess Hera as well as a name, made famous by Alexander the Great.

  • ....but it refers only to male men (viri not homines). – fdb Oct 18 '17 at 22:23
  • @fdb True. I've heard the divine epithet usage translated as "defender of humans" but I've never seen anēr used to mean humans in general; might be an epic thing? – Draconis Oct 18 '17 at 22:25
  • @fdb ἀνήρ, especially in compounds, can include women; e.g. see ἀνδροφάγος. – cmw Oct 18 '17 at 22:39
  • @C.M.Weimer. Maybe. But I don't think that either the quotation from Homer or that from Herodotus is unambiguous. The Cyclops at least is only explicitly described as eating men. *Hner- in the meaning "male" is in any event inherited from IE; cf Skt nar- vs. manuṣa-. – fdb Oct 18 '17 at 22:56
  • @fdb Albanian njeri was generalized to refer to "human, person." I deleted the earlier comment and transferred it to Draconis' new question. – cmw Oct 19 '17 at 1:13

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