Landowners and Tenants in Roman Egypt

Landowners and Tenants in Roman Egypt : The Social Relations of Agriculture in the Oxyrhynchite Nome

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Description

Oxyrhynchus in Egypt is the best documented city of the Roman Empire. This book uses the thousands of papyrus documents found there to examine how its urban landowning class derived its 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 composition 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-term leasing among methods of land management. The system of land tenure, rules of inheritance, and law of sale and lease, together with social convention formed a complex web articulating the
social relationships between landowners and tenants. The papyri from Oxyrhynchus, by illustrating in detail how individuals negotiated their way throug this web, provide unparalleled insight into the character of landownership in a Roman province.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 398 pages
  • 144 x 224 x 28mm | 622g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • maps, figures, tables
  • 019814735X
  • 9780198147350
  • 1,513,830

Back cover copy

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.
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Review quote

Even this inadequate summary gives, I hope, a sense of the riches of this careful, intelligent, and levelheaded work, in which the nature and limits of the documentation are almost always kept in view, but allowed to enrich rather than to paralyze generalization. With it, our understanding of the complex ways in which the distinctive society of Roman Egypt was formed is greatly advanced. * Roger S. Bagnall * This is an important book, which will be an invaluable resource for historians of Roman Egypt, papyrologists, and economic historians for years to come...R. deals with a great variety and volume of evidence. Her arguments and intricate but the treatment of thematerial is always cautious...R.'s book should change the way we think about the social relations of agriculture throughout the ancient world. * The Classical Review * Clearly written ... The real contribution of Rowlandson's monograph is the unparalleled detail with which she reconstructs agricultural life in all its complexity in the Oxyrhynchite Nome. Essential reading for all scholars interested in the social and economic history of Roman Egypt. * Choice * Jane Rowlandson has written a book that is both thorough and indispensible for those who wish to understand the Egyptian economy in the Roman period. Rowlandson has an astute and consistent understanding of how the patterns of land tenancy functioned in rural Egypt on both the economic and social levels. * Susan Stephens, Stanford University, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 8.4 (1997) *
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