|A Latin word originally meaning a house, and afterwards a collection of houses. In a town, vicus was a street or section of the town; in the country, a rural community composed of farms lying close together, with temples and altars of its own, a common chest and annually elected overseers (magistri, or oediles), to whom was assigned the care of the cult, buildings, and local police. The religious centre of the separate townships or vici was the compitum (crossway), with the chapel of the lares compitales erected there, in whose honour was annually held the festival of the Compitalia. Augustus divided Rome into fourteen districts and 265 vici, and ordained that four magistrates should be chosen annually from every vicus, partly to superintend the cult of the lares, partly to perform the official duties of citizens. This arrangement survived with a few changes till the decline of the Empire.