Author: Jane Rowlandson
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
Category: Foreign Language Study
Oxyrhynchus in Egypt is the best documented provincial city of the Roman empire. This book uses the thousands of papyrus documents found there to examine how its urban landowners derived their wealth from the rural hinterland. After an introductory chapter discussing the topography and agricultural conditions of the region, the book analyses the conditions of tenure under which land was held; the social status of landholders (who included both men and women) and the nature of their holdings; the transmission of ownership by inheritance and sale; and finally the role of short-team leasing among methods of land management. Together with social convention, the system of land tenure, rules of inheritance, and the law of sale and lease formed an immensely complex web articulating the social relationships between landowners and tenants. The papyri from Oxyrhynchus, by illustrating in detail how individuals negotiated their way through this web, provide an unparalleled insight into the character of landownership in a Roman province.