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JU´GERUM or JUGUS (the latter form, as a neuter noun of the third declension, is common in the oblique cases and in the plural), a Roman measure of surface, 240 feet in length and 120 in breadth, containing therefore 28,800 square feet (Varr. R. R. 1.10; L. L. 5.35 M. ; Colum. R. R. 5.1.6; Plin. Nat. 18.9, cf. § 178; Quint. Inst. 1.10.42; Isid. Orig. 15.15). It was the double of the Actus Quadratus, and from this circumstance, according to Varro and Columella, it derived its name (as if from junctus). The word is really, however, a by-form of jugum; and Pliny's etymology is far preferable: “quod uno jugo boum in die exarari posset.” The jugerum was not, like the ACTUS a measure of length as well as of surface; the contrary notion rests only on a single passage of Pliny, who describes the vale of Tempe as ferme sesquijugeri latitudine (H. N. 4.31). He is here, no doubt, translating from a Greek source, and uses jugerum loosely as the equivalent of πλέθρον (Hultsch, Metrol. p. 64 n.). The uncial division [As] was applied to the jugerum, its smallest part being the scrupulum of 10 feet square = 100 square feet. Thus the jugerum contained 288 scrupula (Varr. R. R. l.c.). The jugerum was the common measure of land among the Romans. Two jugera formed a heredium, a hundred heredia a centuria, and four centuriae a saltus. Two jugera were the traditional amount of land given to each citizen in old times as heritable property (Varr. l.c.; Niebuhr, Hist. of Rome, 2.156 if., and Appendix i.). The jugerum was a little over 2 roods 19 perches, or almost 5/8 of an English acre; see the Tables. (Cf. Hultsch, Metrol. p. 69; Mommsen, R. H. 1.195=1.162, tr. Dickson; Rudorff, Gromat. Inst. p. 280.)

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 18.9
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 1, 10.42
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