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In Italy, in ancient times, the pagus was a country district with scattered hamlets (vici). The same name was given to its fortified centre, which protected the sanctuaries of the district and served as a refuge in time of war. The separate districts were members of a larger community. After cities had developed out of the places where the people of these districts assembled, the pagi were either completely merged in their territorium, or continued to exist merely as geographical districts, without importance for administration, or as subordinate village communities. In Rome the earliest population consisted of the montani, the inhabitants of the seven hills of the city, and the pagani, the inhabitants of the level ground of the city. Out of the two Servius Tullius made the four city tribes. The country tribes doubtless arose similarly out of pagi, the names of which were in some cases transferred to them. Like the old division into pagani and montani, the old districts under the authority of magistri long continued to exist for sacred purposes. They had their special guardian deities, temples, and rites, which survived even the introduction of Christianity. To the district festivals belonged especially the Paganalia (q.v.), the Ambarvalia (q.v.), at which the festal procession carefully traversed the old boundaries of the district; and, lastly, the Terminalia (see TERMINUS).
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