- Andrew Dominic Edwards Lewis
ExtractAger publicus, public land, comprised lands acquired by Rome by conquest from her enemies or confiscation from rebellious allies. By tradition there was, as early as the 5th cent. bce, dispute between patricians and plebeians as to whether such lands should be retained in public ownership but open to exploitation on lease by wealthy possessores (possessors; see possession, legal) or distributed in private ownership amongst the poorer classes. In practice much of this land seems to have been assigned to the use of Roman and, after 338, Latin colonies (see ius latii). The Licinio-Sextian laws of 367 bce (see licinius stolo, c.) purported to limit the amount of public land possessed by any one citizen to 500 iugera or 140 ha. (350 acres).Public land continued to be acquired during subsequent centuries; the conquest of *Cisalpine Gaul added large areas of land which were either distributed amongst colonies or offered to citizens as smallholdings on permanent lease. Elsewhere, particularly in the south of Italy, large tracts remained in the hands of the state and were regularly leased out by the *censors to wealthier citizens in return for large rents.
- Roman Law