Platner, Samuel Ball; Ashby, Thomas
A topographical dictionary of ancient Rome — Oxford: Univ. Press [u.a.], 1929

Page: 373
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Ovile (Ovilia) : an enclosed area in the campus Martius, where the
comitia centuriata met to vote. It derived its name from its likeness
to a sheepfold (Serv. ad Ecl. i. 33), and ovile may have been the original
designation for this enclosure (Iuv. vi. 529 and Schol. : ovile quia ibi
Romulus et pastores adsueverunt pecora pascere—a fanciful explanation),
but it was also called Saepta (saepio, enclose) ; cf. Cic. pro Mil. 41 ;
Ov. Fast. i. 53. After the building of the republic was replaced by the
Saepta Iulia (q.v.) the name ovile continued to be used (Liv. xxvi. 22 ;
Lucan ii. 197 ; Auson. Grat. act. iii. 13). The ovile was an inaugurated
templum (Cic. pro Rab. 11) and probably occupied the same area as
the later Saepta Iulia, on the west side of the via Lata, but extended
considerably farther to the west, a square with sides of about IOOO
Roman feet (HJ 479-480 ; BC 1893, 120-122 ; RE i. A. 1724).
This enclosed space was divided by barriers of some sort into aisles
and sections, corresponding in number to the curiae, tribus or centuriae
of the different assemblies, and through these the people passed to
deposit their votes on the pons or raised platform at the side (Mommsen,
Staatsrecht iii. 399-402).
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