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Property in provinces
#1
I was wondering, with all the ager publicus and personal property of the Emperor such as in the case of Egypt, were there any restrictions on purchasing and owning land in Rome, mainly in provinces? If a Roman Citizen would like to purchase property in Macedonia or Hispania, would it have been possible for him to do so and possible for his inheritors to inherit the property? Were there any known restrictions as to the size of the property?
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#2
That may depend upon when you are asking about.
For the later Roman empire, yes, there was. But I have a meeting to go to so I can't look up the sources at the moment. I am sure AHM Jones covered it in his "The Later Roman Empire 284-602", the first place I will look.
AKA Tom Chelmowski
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#3
@Lothia - Thank you very much for your response and willingness to help.

As to the land I came up with several sub-questions, connected with the main one.

1. After Romans conquered new lands, who did the land belonged to? Were people who owned it so far been given roman law property or any right to own their land as their property? Or would they just be possessing it without really owning?
2. What about land that nobody owned? Was it nobodies property or did it belong to the state? If so, how could a citizen or non-citizen acquire it?
3. Could a Roman citizen just go and set up a property in a middle of nowhere - build a villa and cultivate land with it becoming his legal property? If not, what would he have to do to have a piece of own land in said province?
4. What was the nature of the ager publicum? If I understand correctly it was not private property but rather a land that person could use for a period of time but its owner was the state, is that so?
5. Who was the owner of the land established on the land of the colonia or municipium? Was it common property of the townsfolk or was it divided between private persons who would then be private owners?

(John Makarski)
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#4
That is a lot of questions. I don't know the answer to any of them, but as soon as I have time I will look into AHM Jones master book and see what I can find for you.
AKA Tom Chelmowski
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#5
A citizen could not own Roman land in the provinces in the same way that he could in Italy, that is purchasing land as a res mancipi, a formal witnessed transaction.

In theory, provincial land belonged to the Roman people: it owed taxes by its very status as provincial land, unlike Italic soil. However, Roman citizens could and did obtain possess provincial land; in short in the provinces the Romans modified their thinking about possession to accommodate land that could not technically be owned; this possessio could be bought and sold. Later, the legal fiction of emphyteusis, which was theory a long term lease from the state, but usually mean de facto ownership, on the condition of a nominal rent. Finally, some provincial land might be declared "Italian land," a legal fiction that allowed ownership to be transferred and made it largely tax free.

To sum up: the strictures of Roman law did not accommodate ownership of provincial land. To compensate, the Romans created legal fictions to allow people to either possess or lease land in a manner that amounted to ownership in everything but name.
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#6
Records on land ownership is pretty much non-existent in the Empire except for Egypt where the arid climate preserved many of the papyri documents.

The Praetorian Praefects, who were responsible for collection of taxes, relied heavily on land tax to meet the empire's financial needs. The land was assessed by its geographical location, by its use, and by its productivity.

Rents from imperial lands was another major income, but, it seems, there were many peasant freeholders in the empire.

Land owners in the empire included soldiers and the clergy, but most privately held land was held by absentee landlords who employed managers to make the land profitable.

Land ownership was the most secure way of investment, so professionals, merchants and craftsmen, to provide for their old age, bought land. How they did that, and what was their hold on the deed, Jones did not explain.

Soldiers too were granted land, though I do not know if, by the Later Roman Empire, it was authority to hold and farm imperial holdings as though they were their own without deeds, or if the land went to them with title.

Almost all land belonged to state. However, people were given long-term (almost perpetual) leases if they could bring uncultivated land back into productivity.

Often land was leased to farmers until Diocletian made changes in Egypt changing the reality of ownership or lease so that there was almost no difference.

As far as ownership in provinces, Melinia, a wealthy woman owned property in Britain, Spain, Numidia and Mauretania. She traveled the western empire selling off her property when she converted to Christianity.

This does not answer the technical aspects of your questions, and for those answers, I don't know where to turn.

I, by the way, am an author, not a professor of history. I recommend you keep trolling until you snag an answer from them, as you did from Mr. Taylor.
AKA Tom Chelmowski
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