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p848 Pagi

Unsigned article on p848 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

PAGI, were fortified places, to which the country-people might retreat in the case of an hostile inroad, and are said to have been instituted by Servius Tullius (Dionys. IV.15); though the division of the country-people into pagi is as old as the time of Numa (Dionys. II.76). Each of the country-tribes was divided into a certain number of pagi; which name was given to the country adjoining the fortified village, as well as to the village itself. There was a magistrate at the head of each pagus, who kept a register of the names and of the property of all persons in the pagus, raised the taxes, and summoned the people, when necessary, to war. Each pagus had its own sacred rites, and an annual festival called Paganalia (Dionys. IV.15; Varro, de Ling. Lat. VI.24, 26, ed. Müller; Macrob. Sat. I.16; Ovid, Fast. I.669). The Pagani, or inhabitants of the pagi, had their regular meetings, at which they passed resolutions, many of which have come down to us (Orelli, Inscr. n. 3793, 4083, 106, 202, 2177). The division of the country-people into pagi continued to the latest times of the Roman empire, and we find frequent mention of the magistrates of the pagi under the names of Magistri, Praefecti or Praepositi paganorum (Orelli, Inscr. n. 121, 3795, 3796; Cod. Theod. 2 tit. 30 s1; 8 tit. 15 s1; Walter, Geschichte des Röm. Rechts, §§ 26, 164, 247, 366, 2d ed.).

The term Pagani is often used in opposition to milites, and is applied to all who were not soldiers, even though they did not live in the country (Milites et pagani, Plin. Ep. X.18; Juv. XVI.32; Suet. Aug. 27, Galba 19; Dig. 11 tit. 4 s1; 48 tit. 19 s14, &c.). Hence we find Pagani or citizens applied as a term of reproach to soldiers who did not perform their duty (Tacit. Hist. III.24), in the same way as Julius Caesar addressed his rebellious soldiers on one occasion as Quirites. The Christian writers gave the name of Pagani to those persons who adhered to the old Roman religion, because the latter continued to be generally believed by the country-people, after Christianity became the prevailing religion of the inhabitants of the towns (Isidorus, VIII.10; Cod. Theod. 16 tit. 10; Cod. Just. 1 tit. 11).


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