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date: 26 November 2020

vigileslocked

  • Nicholas Purcell

Extract

Ancient cities made various arrangements for maintaining security at night; bands of night-wardens (nuktophulakes) were more often aimed at the prevention of sedition than the protection of property from theft, but fire, accidental or deliberate, was always the main preoccupation. Order in republican Rome was the responsibility of junior magistrates called tresviri capitales (see vigintisexviri) who were replaced at night by quinqueviri cis Tiberim (a team of five men with duties ‘this side of *Tiber’) because senators could not be expected to be on duty at unseasonable hours.The political importance of fire-protection at Rome had been recognized by M. *Licinius Crassus(1) and was exploited by M. *Egnatius Rufus. Augustus gave the *aediles a force of 600 slaves to deal with the problem after a fire in 23 bce (Cass. Dio 54. 2); in 7 the city was reorganized into regiones and vici (see regio; vicus) and the officials of the latter made responsible for fire-prevention (Cass.

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