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p1197 Villicus

Article by Philip Smith, B.A., of the University of London
on pp1197‑1198 of

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

VILLICUS (ἐπίτροπος in Greek writers, Plut. Crass. 4), a slave who had the superintendence p1198of the villa rustica, and of all the business of the farm, except the cattle, which were under the care of the magister pecoris (Varro, R. R. I.2). The duties of the villicus were to obey his master implicitly, and to govern the other slaves with moderation, never to leave the villa except to go on market, to have no intercourse with soothsayers, to take care of the cattle and the implements of husbandry, and to manage all the operations of the farm (Cato, R. R. 5.142). His duties are described at great length by Columella (XI.1, and I.8), and those of his wife (villica) by the same writer (XII.1), and by Cato (c143).

The word was also used to describe a person to whom the management of any business was entrusted (see the passage quoted in Forcellini's Lexicon).


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