The Gracchi and the Privatization of <i>Ager Publicus</i>

Saskia T. Roselaar

in Public Land in the Roman Republic

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577231
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723414 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Roman Society & Law

The Gracchi and the Privatization of Ager Publicus

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This chapter discusses the attempts made the Gracchi to improve the situation of small and landless farmers. They attempted to distribute ager publicus which had remained in the hands of the state. Holders of ager publicus, both Romans and Italians, received security of tenure on no more than 500 iugera of public land; the rest was distributed to the poor. This meant the privatization of a large amount of formerly state‐owned ager publicus. However, as many of the Italian holders of ager publicus lost some of their land without receiving any tangible benefits in return, the Gracchan reform contributed to the outbreak of the Social War in 89 BC.

Keywords: Gracchan reform; privatization; Italian allies; social war

Chapter.  34526 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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