The abbreviation SPQR stands for Senatus PopulusQue Romanus. Why is the Q included, as there are only three words? Why isn't it just SPR? Or does SPQR stand for something else?

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2 Answers 2


The enclitic -que was treated much like a word. This is most evident in the way Ovid handles quotes, where -que is outside a quote but the word it's attached to is inside. There are few other ancient abbreviations with -que, if any, so it's difficult to compare.

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    For a concrete example, consider Metamorphoses V.414: "adgnovitque deam 'ne' c 'longius ibitis!' inquit" which uses -c instead of -que. Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 20:35

We definitely know that SPQR refers to senatus populusque Romanus and not something else. This text is inscribed in full in the temple of Saturn and arch of Titus in Rome. It's hard to say whether the abbreviation is systematic or an arbitrary choice that happened to stick.

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