The Late Republic (146–44 b.c.)
The situation is not very clearly described by Appian. During the past half-century many peasant freeholders had lost their land for a variety of reasons, among them prolonged military service abroad, and the upper classes, enriched by the wars, had bought it and formed large estates worked by slave labor—owing to the same war slaves were very cheap. Since only freeholders were liable to military service this reduced Roman manpower. Appian somewhat confuses the issue by calling the Roman peasantry Italians and allies. There was, as Appian states, a large amount of public land which could be distributed in small holdings to the landless poor, but it was occupied by rich landlords. The limitation of the amount of public land which any person might hold was apparently a re-enactment of the Licinio-Sextian laws (see No. 25).
KeywordsMilitary Service Private Land Public Land Capital Charge Alien Resident
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