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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the ways in which the Roman legal authorities defined property rights over land during the Republican and Imperial periods. The focus is on how the legal definition of property rights to land affected the economic interests of key constituencies, including landowners, farm tenants and the Roman state, which derived the bulk of its revenues from taxes connected with land, and also was a significant economic actor in its own right as the pre-eminent landowner in the Roman Empire. Farm tenancy represented an institution of fundamental importance to the Roman economy. Classical Roman law defined the tenant as a short-term occupant of the land paying a cash rent. The Roman legal authorities struggled with accommodating within Roman legal norms other forms of land tenure that accorded the tenant much stronger rights than in the classical Roman farm lease. This is what this chapter sets out to survey.

Keywords: colonate, emphyteusis, imperial estates, landownership, locatio-conductio, privatization, servitudes, tenancy, vis maior, water rights

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