/truyb/, n.
1. any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc.
2. a local division of an aboriginal people.
3. a division of some other people.
4. a class or type of animals, plants, articles, or the like.
5. Animal Husb. a group of animals, esp. cattle, descended through the female line from a common female ancestor.
6. Biol.
a. a category in the classification of organisms usually between a subfamily and a genus or sometimes between a suborder and a family.
b. any group of plants or animals.
7. a company, group, or number of persons.
8. a class or set of persons, esp. one with strong common traits or interests.
9. a large family.
10. Rom. Hist.
a. any one of three divisions of the people representing the Latin, Sabine, and Etruscan settlements.
b. any of the later political divisions of the people.
11. Gk. Hist. a phyle.
[1200-50; ME < L tribus tribe, orig., each of the three divisions of the Roman people; often taken as deriv. of tres THREE, though formation unclear]

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(Greek, phylai; Roman, tribus) In ancient Greece and Rome, any of a group of political and demographic subdivisions of the population.

In Greece the groups divided into tribes were distinct by location, dialect, and tradition, and they included the Ionians, Dorians, Achaeans, and Aetolians. In Attica, Cleisthenes replaced the 4 Ionian tribes with 10 new tribes, each of which was named after a local hero; these came to develop political and civic functions, including the election of magistrates. The demes developed out of the tribal system. In Rome the tribes formed the 3 (later 4, and still later 35) original divisions of Roman citizens. These were the basis of military levies, property tax, census taking, and voting units in political assemblies.
Any of a variety of social units, including some defined by unilineal descent and some defined by ethnic origin.

Cultural anthropologists now usually apply the term to a unit of social organization that is culturally homogeneous and consists of multiple kinship groups
such as the family, lineage, or clan
that prohibit marriages within themselves but endorse or require marriages with persons of the other kinship groups. (See exogamy and endogamy.) Most tribes are organized as unitary political entities, within which people share a common language and culture. Some tribes are spread across large territories, and individual members may never meet or know all of the others. Some are small groups, confined to a limited territory, sometimes a single small island, within which everyone knows everyone else very well. What unites societies of such diverse scales as being "tribal" is their own internal sense of "being a single people," but
anthropologists would add
a people that lacks the equipment of citizenship, a constitution, or a formalized legal system that would define them as a nation-state. Throughout most of the history of modern cultural anthropology, the terms tribe and primitive were usually linked; however, in recent years primitive has been avoided by most anthropologists because it appears to carry with it an unintended judgment of the moral or technological development of a people. See also ethnic group.

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▪ ancient Roman government
Latin  Tribus,  plural  Tribi,  

      in Roman history, a unit of the Roman state. The first Roman tribes were probably ethnic in origin and consisted of the Titienses (Tities), Ramnenses (Ramnes), and Luceres. They were superseded by the creation of new local tribes (date uncertain) consisting of 4 urban tribes and 16 rural, or rustic, tribes. The latter were probably named after pagi (country districts) that were, in turn, known by the principal gentes (clans) settled on that territory. The number of rural tribes was increased until by 241 BC they totaled 35. The additional tribes were instituted in new Roman territory on the Italian peninsula where Romans settled; moreover, original inhabitants who had been granted Roman citizenship were also enrolled in those added rural tribes. In later times there was no geographic significance involved with the enrollment of citizens in tribes. The lower classes and freed slaves, however, seem to have been enrolled mostly in the less-numerous urban tribes.

      Provincial communities (civitates) as well as individuals who were granted Roman citizenship under the empire (from 27 BC) were all enrolled in a particular tribe. The tribes served as units for purposes of taxation, military conscription, and census taking.

      in anthropology, a notional form of human social organization based on a set of smaller groups (known as bands (band)), having temporary or permanent political integration, and defined by traditions of common descent, language, culture, and ideology.

      The term originated in ancient Rome, where the word tribus (tribe) denoted a division within the state. It later came into use as a way to describe the cultures encountered through European exploration. By the mid-19th century, many anthropologists and other scholars were using the term, as well as band, chiefdom, and state, to denote particular stages in unilineal cultural evolution.

      Although unilineal cultural evolution is no longer a credible theory, these terms continue to be used as a sort of technical shorthand in college courses, documentaries, and popular reference works. In such contexts, members of a tribe are typically said to share a self-name and a contiguous territory; to work together in such joint endeavours as trade, agriculture, house construction, warfare, and ceremonial activities; and to be composed of a number of smaller local communities such as bands or villages. In addition, they may be aggregated into higher-order clusters, such as nations.

      As an anthropological term, the word tribe fell out of favour in the latter part of the 20th century. Some anthropologists rejected the term itself, on the grounds that it could not be precisely defined. Others objected to the negative connotations that the word acquired in the colonial context. Scholars of Africa, in particular, felt that it was pejorative as well as inaccurate. Thus, many anthropologists replaced it with the designation ethnic group, usually defined as a group of people with a common ancestry and language, a shared cultural and historical tradition, and an identifiable territory. Ethnic group is a particularly appropriate term within the discussion of modernizing countries, where one's identity and claims to landownership may depend less on extended kinship ties than on one's natal village or region of origin.See also Sidebar: The Difference Between a Tribe and a Band.

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Universalium. 2010.