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OPPIDUM originally the stronghold, commonly overlooking the plain (ob pedum), which served as a refuge in times of danger, for the inhabitants of the surrounding district. (The derivation from opus, suggested by Mommsen, H. R. 1.39, E. T., is impossible, and has been abandoned by him in later editions.) Hence it did not differ essentially from urbs. But while the latter word came to be used especially of Rome, oppidum became the general name for country towns, including municipia, praefecturae, and coloniae [COLONIA]. The term is also commonly used of the towns. which possessed Latin rights (oppida Latina); for the organisation of these, cf. the Leges Salpensana et Malacitana in C. I. L. ii. pp. 253 ff.


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