). In Italy, in ancient times, the pagus was a
country district with scattered hamlets (vici
). The same name was given
to its fortified centre, which protected the sanctuaries of the district and served as a
refuge in time of war. The separate districts were members of a larger community. After cities
had developed out of the places where the people of these districts assembled, the pagi were
either completely merged in their territorium or continued to exist merely as
geographical districts, without importance for administration, or as subordinate village
communities. In Rome the earliest population consisted of the montani
the inhabitants of the seven hills of the city, and the pagani
inhabitants of the level ground of the city. Out of the two Servius Tullius made the four city
tribes. The country tribes doubtless arose similarly out of pagi, the names of which were in
some cases transferred to them. Like the old division into pagani
, the old districts under the authority of magistri
long continued to exist for sacred purposes. They had their special guardian
deities, temples, and rites, which survived even the introduction of Christianity. To the
district festivals belonged especially the Paganalia
(q.v.), the Ambarvalia
at which the festal procession carefully traversed the old boundaries of the district; and,
lastly, the Terminalia (see Terminus
). The word
is sometimes used as equivalent to armatus
, and hence opposed to togatus.
Cf. Pliny, Epist.
x. 86, 2;
Hist. iii. 24
; and see further Peck's note on Suet. Aug. xxvii.
On the pagus in general, see Mommsen, Hist. of
, i. pp. 63 foll. (Amer. ed.).