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p1196 Vicus

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p1196 of

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

VICUS is the name of the subdivisions into which the four regions occupied by the four city tribes of Servius Tullius were divided, while the country regions, according to an institution ascribed to Numa, were subdivided into Pagi (Dionys. II.76). This division, together with that of the four regions of the four city tribes, remained down to the time of Augustus, who made the vici subdivisions of the fourteen regions into which he divided the city (Suet. Aug. 30). In this division each vicus consisted of one main street, including several smaller by-streets; their number was 424, and each was superintended by four officers, called vicomagistri, who had a sort of local police, and who, according to the regulation of Augustus, were every year chosen by lot from among the people who lived in the vicus (Suet. l.c.; Dion Cass. LV.8). On certain days, probably at the celebration of the compitalia, they wore the praetexta, and each of them was accompanied by two lictors (Dion Cass. l.c.; Ascon. ad Cic. in Pison. p7 ed. Orelli). These officers, however, were not a new institution of Augustus, for they had existed during the time of the republic, and had had the same functions as a police for the vici of the Servian division of the city (Liv. XXXIV.7; Festus, s.v. Magistrare; comp. Sextus Rufus, Breviarium de Regionibus Urbis Romae; and P. Victor, de Regionibus Urbis Romae.)


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