Roman land‐surveyors. They were more commonly called mensōrēs or agrimensores, gromatici being a late term derived from the grōma, the most important of the surveyor's instruments. The primary objective of the land surveyor was to establish līmitēs (see limes), roadways or baulks intersecting at right angles and dividing the land into squares or rectangles (see centuriation). He first plotted the two basic limites, and then more limites were established parallel to them.
Civilian surveyors were often freedmen and constituted a professional group whose services were much in demand at the end of the republic and in the early Principate, when vast amounts of land were distributed to soldiers (see veterans). They established boundaries on private estates, assessed land for the census and land‐tax, and most importantly measured and divided public land (ager publicus) for the establishment of colonies; when they had taken the colonists to their allocations and completed a map of the settlement and a register of each holding, the founder signed the records, copies of which were kept in the colony and in Rome. Surveyors also advised in all kinds of land dispute. They were expected to master not only practical implementation, but also law and jurisdiction relating to land‐holding.
Subjects: Classical Studies.