digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















"Pagi" redirects here. For the Greek city, see Pagoi.
Pagi in Burgundy, 9th century

In the later Western Roman Empire, following the reorganization of Diocletian, a pagus (compare French pays, Spanish pago, "a region, terroir") became the smallest administrative district of a province. By that time the word had long been in use with various meanings. Smith's Dictionary says of it, "The meaning of this word cannot be given in precise and absolute terms, partly because we can have no doubt that its significance varied greatly between the earliest and the later times of Roman history, partly because of its application by Latin writers to similar, but not identical, communities outside Italy ..."[1]


Pāgus is a native Latin word from a root pāg-, a lengthened grade of Indo-European *pag-, a verbal root, "fasten" (English peg), which in the word may be translated as "boundary staked out on the ground."[2] In semantics, *pag- used in pāgus is a stative verb with an unmarked lexical aspect of state resulting from completed action: "it is having been staked out," converted into a noun by -us, a type recognizable in English adjectives such as surveyed, defined, noted, etc. English does not use the noun: "the surveyed," but Latin characteristically does. Considering that the ancients marked out municipal districts with boundary stones, the root meaning is nothing more than land surveyed for a municipality with stakes and later marked by boundary stones, a process that has not changed over the millennia.

Earlier hypotheses concerning the derivation of pāgus suggested that it is a Greek loan from either πήγη, "village well," or πάγος, "hill-fort." William Smith opposed these on the grounds that neither the well nor the hill-fort appear in the meaning of pāgus.[1]

Roman usage[edit]

In classical Latin, pagus referred to a country district or to a community within a larger polity;[3] Julius Caesar, for instance, refers to pagi within the greater polity of the Celtic Helvetii.[4]

The pagus and vicus (a small nucleated settlement or village) are characteristic of pre-urban organization of the countryside. In Latin epigraphy of the Republican era, pagus refers to local territorial divisions of the peoples of the central Apennines and is assumed to express local social structures as they existed variously.[5]

As an informal designation for a rural district, pagus was a flexible term to encompass the cultural horizons of "folk" whose lives were circumscribed by their locality: agricultural workers, peasants, slaves. Within the reduced area of Diocletian's subdivided provinces, the pagi could have several kinds of focal centers. Some were administered from a city, possibly the seat of a bishop; other pagi were administered from a vicus that might be no more than a cluster of houses and an informal market; yet other pagi in the areas of the great agricultural estates (latifundia) were administered through the villa at the center.

The historian of Christianity Peter Brown has pointed out that in its original sense paganus meant a civilian or commoner, one who was excluded from power and thus regarded as of lesser account; away from the administrative center, whether that was the seat of a bishop, a walled town or merely a fortified village, such inhabitants of the outlying districts, the pagi, tended to cling to the old ways and gave their name to "pagans"; the word was used pejoratively by Christians in the Latin West to demean those who declined to convert from the traditional religions of antiquity.[6]

Post-Roman pagus[edit]

The pagus survived the collapse of the Empire of the West, retained to designate the territory controlled by a Merovingian or Carolingian count (comes). Within its boundaries, the smaller subdivision of the pagus was the manor. The majority of modern French pays are roughly coextensive with the old counties (e.g., county of Comminges, county of Ponthieu, etc.) To take an instance, at the beginning of the 5th century, when the Notitia provinciarum was drawn up, the Provincia Gallia Lugdunensis Secunda formed the ecclesiastical province of Rouen, with six suffragan sees; it contained seven cities (civitates). For civil purposes, the province was divided into a number of pagi: the civitas of Rotomagus (Rouen) formed the pagus Rotomagensis (Roumois); in addition there were the pagi Caletus (Pays de Caux), Vilcassinus (the Vexin), the Tellaus (Talou); Bayeux, the pagus Bajocassinus (Bessin), and the Otlinga Saxonia; that of Lisieux the pagus Lexovinus (Lieuvin); that of Coutances the p. Corilensis and p. Constantinus (Cotentin); that of Avranches the p. Abrincatinus (Avranchin); that of Sez the p. Oximensis (Hiémois), the p. Sagensis and p. Corbonensis (Corbonnais); and that of Evreux the p. Ebroicinus (Evrecin) and p. Madriacensis (pays de Madrie) (EB "Normandy").

The pagus was the equivalent of what English-speaking historians sometimes refer to as the "Carolingian shire", which in German is the Gau. In Latin texts, a canton of the Helvetic Confederacy is rendered pagus.


  1. ^ a b Smith, William; Wayte, William; Marindin, George Eden (1891). "Pagus". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Volume 2 (Third ed.). London: John Murray. pp. 309–311. 
  2. ^ Watkins, Calvert (1992). "Indo-European Roots". pag-. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Third ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 
  3. ^ Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1982, 1985 printing), entry on pagus, p. 1283.
  4. ^ Commentarii de Bello Gallico 1.12.4: nam omnis civitas Helvetia in quattuor pagos divisa est ("for the Helvetian nation as a whole was divided into four cantons"). Pagus in this sense is sometimes translated "tribe"; the choice of "canton" may be influenced by later usage of the word in regard to Helvetia.
  5. ^ Guy Jolyon Bradley, Ancient Umbria: State, Culture, and Identity in Central Italy from the Iron Age to the Augustan Era (Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 56 online.
  6. ^ Peter Brown, entry on "Pagan," Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World, edited by G.W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, and Oleg Grabar (Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 625 online: "The adoption of paganus by Latin Christians as an all-embracing, pejorative term for polytheists represents an unforeseen and singularly long-lasting victory, within a religious group, of a word of Latin slang originally devoid of religious meaning. The evolution occurred only in the Latin west, and in connection with the Latin church. Elsewhere, 'Hellene' or 'gentile' (ethnikos) remained the word for 'pagan'; and paganos continued as a purely secular term, with overtones of the inferior and the commonplace."


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagus — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
2741 videos foundNext > 

Ecletnica Pagus - Danza di Mastro Gerardo

Una zampogna atipica in grado di produrre 12 accordi, contro i 2 di una zampogna tradizionale. Un ensemble di strumenti "classici" ad accompagnarla. Da ascoltare!

Piero Ricci lo "zampognista" e l'Ecletnica Pagus a Telenorba 2005: "Mainarde"

Piero Ricci, grande "zampognista" italiano e la sua formazione Ecletnica Pagus alla trasmissione televisiva "I concerti dell'aia", Telenorba 2005. La formazione unisce in maniera originale...

Conhecendo a UFRGS - Pagus

Pagus, do latim país, está associado com a origem do termo paisagem. Na UFRGS, o laboratório Pagus estuda as paisagens que compõem o Rio Grande do Sul. Acompanhe a programação e as ...

mama haruan on surecatch pagus

Spotted this haruan family, decided to try and see how the parents react to my lures.

Pagus - In A Fury Of Armageddon

BlackMetal From The Netherlands --Bass / Vocals : E Duran --Guitar : L Wiltens ...

Ecletnica Pagus - Matese

Ecletnica Pagus in concert in the Auditorium 'L. Petruzzi' in Pescara on September 28, 2010.

Ecletnica pagus a Sereno Variabile

Ecletnica Pagus a Sereno Variabile del 6 Dicembre 2008 Salone Angioino della Corte Normanna Castello Baronale De Jorio - Frisari Macchia D'Isernia (Is) Ecletnica Pagus Piero Ricci - zampogna...

Hotel Pagus in Insel Pag (Dalmatien - Kroatien) Bewertung

Mehr Informationen: http://out.hotelvideoclips.de/hsr Das Hotel Pagus liegt in der Stadt Insel Pag welche zu Kroatien (Europa) gehoert. Die meisten Gaeste des Hotel Pagus wuerden das Hotel...

Ecletnica Pagus: Concerto dell'Epifania 2008

Ecletnica Pagus: Concerto dell'Epifania 2008 Auditorium della RAI di Napoli 6 gennaio 2008 Mainarde Piero Ricci - zampogna Maurizio Marino - oboe Lelio Di Tullio - clarinetto basso Tiziana...

Ecletnica Pagus Piping - Live! 2008

http://www.pipingfestival.co.uk Ecletnica Pagus performing at the International Piping Concert during Piping Live! 2008.

2741 videos foundNext > 

1958 news items

Paste Magazine

Paste Magazine
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 11:59:59 -0700

In 1837, Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen published “The Emperor's New Clothes,” a story about a monarch who struts around naked in his birthday suit, believing himself to wear clothes so refined that only the elite and special can ...
Asian Tribune
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 15:26:15 -0800

The word "peasant" is derived from the 15th century French word païsant, meaning one from the pays, or countryside; ultimately from the Latin word pagus.The peasant sector occupies around 70 percent of Burma's population and undoubtedly the most ...


Sun, 29 Mar 2015 05:22:30 -0700

La domenica si concluderà alle 20.30 alla Corte Vason Caprini, sempre in centro, dove l'Utl, insieme all'associazione Pagus, presenterà «Alle origini dell'Amarone. La vitivinicoltura in Valpolicella in età romana». Il professor Davide Canteri ...


Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:56:15 -0700

Les technologies numériques font partie de notre quotidien. Qu'il s'agisse de faire des études, de regarder un film, d'acheter ou de vendre en ligne, de communiquer avec ses amis ou de consulter son médecin (Un médecin est un professionnel de la santé ...

Gazzetta Jonica

Gazzetta Jonica
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 03:30:00 -0700

Coglitore ha subito spiegato che il toponimo Misserio risalirebbe risale all'epoca romana, quando popolazioni provenienti dalla città di Messina si spinsero tra i Monti Peloritani dando vita a Missaniorum Pagus, il villaggio dei messinesi. Altri studi ...
The Times Herald
Sun, 24 Nov 2013 16:57:41 -0800

NORRISTOWN — The Norristown Arts Building held its opening reception for the Pagus Gallery this Sunday. Artists displayed their work as community members mingled, discussed artists' work and enjoyed wine, cheese and desserts. The Pagus Gallery is ...


Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:52:30 -0700

Un consortium de chercheurs de l'Union européenne, des développeurs de logiciels et des organismes de normalisation inventent un nouvel écosystème d'affaires qui permettra d'exploiter la puissance de l'Internet des objets pour chaque utilisateur - du ...


Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:37:30 -0700

Utl e associazione Pagus presentano “Alle origini dell'Amarone. La vitivinicoltura in Valpolicella in età romana”: il professor Davide Canteri, attraverso un excursus storico che parte dalle caratteristiche del vino consumato dagli antichi, illustra le ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight