The term securitas was not explicitly employed as a political or philosophical concept in any sustained manner before the fourteenth century. Instead, other words served the semantic functions that today we would associate with “security,” for example, terms for “safety” or “salvation,” “certitude,” and “peace”—salus, certitudo, and pax. This chapter discusses how securitas retained its ambivalence and semantic versatility, defining a state that is either carefree or careless or both—an ambivalence that renders the term all the more ideologically useful. The meanings, values, and metaphors associated with securitas are engaged to address multiple issues in an extensive variety of historical contexts. These particular occupations of the word propel its semantic career forward in ever more complex directions, solving problems and raising fresh questions.

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