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SPQR - Four letters you’ll see all over Rome

SPQR - Four letters you’ll see all over Rome
Every city has its recurring visual themes that seem to follow you wherever you go. While Florence has the red balls of the Medici family, Rome has the rather more mysterious letters ‘SPQR’.
You’ll find them everywhere. Whether etched into the glorious ruins of ancient Rome, or as rather more mundane engravings on manhole covers in the street, on coins, letters or plaques, the letters SPQR aren’t hard to find. The letters stand for Senatus Popolus Que Romanu (The Senate and People of Rome) and are the official emblem of the city.
No-one’s quite sure when the tradition began. One of the earliest references was among inscriptions of the Late Republic in 80BC. The Romans had a long-standing belief that people were ‘free’, creating a democracy where authority came from the people, rather than a single ruling power.
You won’t just see the letters in Rome. The Roman’s onward march and conquering of much of Europe means you’ll find the letters in cities all over Europe, telling a tale of previous occupation and Roman settlement. Perhaps less official is the adoption of SPQR by some London market traders, who sometimes scrawl the letters on signs as short hand for ‘Small Profits, Quick Rewards’, demonstrating the British sense of humor and dis-respect for their once occupants.