Dignitas (Roman concept)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Dignitas is a Latin word referring to a unique social concept in the ancient Roman mindset. The word does not have a direct translation in English. Some interpretations include dignity (merely a derivation) and prestige. The Oxford Latin Dictionary defines the expression as fitness, suitability, worthiness, visual impressiveness or distinction, dignity of style and gesture, rank, status, position, standing, esteem, importance, and honor.
With respect to ancient Rome, dignitas was regarded as the sum of the personal clout and influence that a male citizen acquired throughout his life. When weighing the dignitas of a particular individual, factors such as personal reputation, moral standing, and ethical worth had to be considered, along with the man's entitlement to respect and proper treatment.