The Ancient Library

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On this page: Victor – Victoria – Victorinus – Vicus – Vigiles – Vigiliae – Vigintisexviri



Victor. See adrelius.

Victoria. The Roman goddess of victory. (See nice.)

Victorians (Gaius Marius). A Latin rhetorician, born in Africa, who, about the middle of the 4th century A.D. taught at Rome, where St. Jerome enjoyed his in­struction. In his old age he became a con­vert to Christianity, and served its cause by his writings. Besides numerous theo­logical works, he is the author of a compre­hensive treatise mainly on metres, called Ars Grammatica} in four books. His name is also given to some other grammatical writings, as well as some poems on biblical subjects; but it is doubtful whether they are from his hand. A commentary on Cicero's work De Invention!, which used to be ascribed to him, was more probably composed by one Fabius Marius Victorinus.

Vicus. 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 owu, a common chest and annually elected over­seers (magistri, or cedlles), 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 Com-pltalla. 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.

VIglles ("watchmen"). An organized military body of seven cohorts, each of 1,000 men, appointed by Augustus to superintend the firemen and night-police of Rome. (See cohors.)

Vlglllas (" night-watch "). The name given at Rome to the four divisions of the night (generally from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and to the night-guards of four men each, who relieved one another every watch. In camp the beginning of the night-watch was signalled by a blast blown before the general's tent (prmtorlum) by all the buglers; and further, at the end of every night-watch, the duration of which was reckoned by the water-clock, a bugler gave the signal for the relief.

Vigintisexvlri (twenty-six men). The collective name given at Rome to twenty-six officers of lower rank (magistratus minorcs). They were divided into six different offices, and were originally nominated by the higher officers to be their assistants, but were subsequently chosen by the people at the comitm tributa, and it was by this appointment that they first became magis­trates proper. The term included (1) Indices decemviri (ten-men judges), or decemviri (st)lltibus iudlcandls (ten-men for the decision of disputed suits), origi­nally named by the tribunes to inquire into those civil suits in which their assistance had been invoked in certain appeals from the decision of the consuls. Afterwards the decision of such cases was left to them by the consuls from the very com­mencement. In time their relations with the tribunes grew less close, and they became judicial magistrates, who were probably chosen in the comitia tributa, under the presidency of the prodor urbanus. Of their functions in detail, little more is known from the time of the Republic than that they decided actions for freedom, and that they made the arrangements for the trials heard before the court of the cen-tumviri. This latter duty they lost in the last days of the Republic, but it was restored to them by Augustus. (2) Quattuorviri inn dicundo (four men for pronouncing judgment), whose duty it was to pronounce judgment at law in the ten towns of Cam­pania, like the prcnfecti iuri dicundo, who were nominated by the prsetor in the other municipalities; they survived only till the time of Augustus. (3) Tresviri nocturni (three men for night-service), originally ser­vants of the consuls, who were responsible for the peace and safety of Rome by night, especially in respect of danger by fire. When to this duty was added that of in­vestigating criminal charges, they became regular magistrates under the title tresviri cdpitalSs. In this capacity they had to track out escaped criminals, to examine prisoners under the authorization of the higher magistrates, to inspect the public prisons, and to superintend the carrying out of capital sentences and of corporal punishments. Hence prison-warders and executioners were placed under them. Under the Empire it was also their duty ! to burn offensive books.1 (4) Tresviri m&nitales (three men for the mint), who

I ' [See Fausset on Cioero, Pro Clumlio 60.]

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