(akin to οἷκος
), a term
used in different applications.
1. In the earliest times the various Italian nations appear to have lived,
not in towns, but in cantons (pagi
of an indefinite number of vici
with one common place of shelter (arx
) in time of war, sometimes itself
The term pagus
fell out of use, being replaced by more precise names, but
continued to denote a hamlet or
similar group of buildings, attached to a town; hence the word is often
translated “village.” Cf. the Lex Rubria and Lex Julia in
C. I. L.
2. In towns the word vicus
street” or “quarter” (cf. Varro, L. L.
5.145: “in oppido vici a via, quod ex utraque parte viae sunt
aedificia” ). Strictly speaking, it seems to have denoted a block
of buildings bounded by the streets (plateae
and the alleys (angiportus
), but it was
doubtless used with some latitude (Jordan, Top. Roms,
80). Cf. vicus Tuscus,
3. According to tradition, Servius Tullius divided the city of Rome into four
tribes, each subdivided into vici,
country tribes were divided into pagi;
Augustus in B.C. 8 redivided the city into fourteen regions, each region was
still subdivided into vici
(Suet. Aug. 30
; D. C.
). It is not always possible to separate our information as to
the earlier vici
from that which bears upon the
later ones; but there is no reason to believe that any important changes
were made; and perhaps Mommsen is right in regarding the redivision as
mainly intended to organise better the worship of the Lares Compitales. The
in the different regiones
varied in number: the total under Augustus was,
according to Pliny (Plin. Nat. 3.66
under Constantine there must have been at least 307. The vici
were administered by magistri
four for each vicus
(cf. the basis
in C. I. L.
6.975, ib. 445 ff.), from
the commons, mostly liberti:
it is probable
that the four took turns to act as magister.
Hadrian fixed the number of magistri vicorum
48 for each region, irrespective of the number of vici;
and this is the number which we find in the Notitia of the
time of Constantine (Jordan, 2.541 if.).
Besides the oversight of the drains and fountains and a general police
supervision under the aediles, the chief duty of the magistri vicorum
consisted in providing for the worship of
the Lares Compitales, at the sacella
erected at the crossways. These formed part of the popular religion, and
were maintained by the collegia compitalicia:
but they acquired increased importance after Augustus added to. the two
Lares Compitales the Genius Augusti (Suet. Aug.
), fixed the festival, which previously had been feriae conceptivae,
for two days in May and August (probably
the Kalends), and granted the magistri
privilege of appearing in the toga praetexta attended by two lictors. (Cf.
Marquardt, 3.200; Ascon. in Pis.
p. 7.) The Compitalia were
probably identical with the Laralia (cf. Mommsen, C. I. L.
p. 393); but quite distinct from the Paganalia.
Our information as to the distribution of the vici
among the regiones
derived from two descriptions of Rome under Constantine, the earlier (A.D.
334) commonly called the Notitia,
(A.D. 357) the Curiosum urbis Romae
xiv.: the former was at one time
ascribed (in an interpolated form) to a nonexistent scholar P. Victor; the
latter with as. little reason to Sex. Rufus.