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. Previously it had been an informal designation for a rural district, as flexible in regard to its imprecise borders as the cultural horizons of those 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 rural center called 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.

Away from the administrative center, whether that was the seat of a bishop, a walled town or merely a fortified village, the inhabitants of the outlying districts, the "pagi", tended to cling to the old ways and gave their name to "pagans": see Pagan.

True to its Greek origin "pagos" ("that which is fixed"), 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".


* [ "Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911] : "Normandy"
* [ Ivan Sache, "The formation of the French provinces"]

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  • Pagus — (lat., Flur, Gau ), in altrömischer Zeit Name der ländlichen Distrikte, in welche das römische Gebiet von Numa Pompilius oder nach anderen Quellen von Servius Tullius eingeteilt wurde. Sie bildeten seit letzterem Unterabteilungen der Tribus… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • pagus — [ pagys ], plur. pagi [ pagi ] n. m. • 1765; mot lat. « pays » ♦ Antiq. rom. Circonscription rurale. ● pagus, pagi nom masculin (latin pagus) Circonscription territoriale rurale dans l Antiquité romaine et au haut Moyen Âge. ⇒PAGUS, subst. masc.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pagus — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Pagus, es una unidad geográfica y territorial romana en la que se divide una ciudad y que formaba parte de la organización catastral del suelo. Junto con el fundus constituye una de las unidades territoriales básicas …   Wikipedia Español

  • pagus — PÁGUS s.n. (Ant.) Comună rurală, sat în Imperiul roman. [< lat. pagus]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 05.07.2005. Sursa: DN  PÁGUS s. n. aşezare rurală, sat în Imperiul Roman. (< lat. pagus) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • Pagus —   [lateinisch »Dorf(gemeinde)«, »Gau«, zu lateinisch pangere »befestigen«, »einfrieden«] der, ,    1) Altertum: älteste ländliche Siedlungsform in Italien mit Einzelgehöften und Dörfern (Vici), in denen das Zentralheiligtum lag und die… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Pagus — (lat.), 1) im alten Italien ein ländlicher District, welcher entweder der Theil einer Stadt war od. einen selbständigen Theil eines Landes bildete, z.B. war das Marserland in Pagi eingetheilt. In letzterm Sinne war ein P. eine Gemeinde mit einem… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pagus — (lat., »Flur, Gau«), in altröm. Zeit Name der ländlichen Bezirke mit einer Burg als Mittelpunkt, die sich allmählich zur Stadt entwickelte, in der Kaiserzeit der Verwaltungsbezirke des Gebietes außerhalb der Stadt auf sakraler Grundlage. Sie… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pagus — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pagus (homonymie). Le mot latin pagus (au pluriel pagi), traduit par « pays », désigne une unité territoriale gallo romaine inférieure à celle de la civitas, puis, à l époque médiévale, une subdivision… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • PAGUS — I. PAGUS antiquum Coriuthii nomen, Stephan. II. PAGUS apud Historicos, Comitatum, territorium, districtum, Comitis unius dioecesin in Germania et Gallia significat. Sic Caesar l. 1. bell. Gall. c. 17. Helvetiam totam in quatuor Pagnos divisam… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Pagus — Пагами в древнеримской истории назывались округа общин или племен, имевшие скорее географическое значение. Это были волости с несколькими разъединенными поселками, вилами, имениями (в противоположность vici деревни), не имевшие политической… …   Энциклопедический словарь Ф.А. Брокгауза и И.А. Ефрона

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