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AGER PUBLICUS 200.00%
The Latin name for the State domains, formed of territory taken from conquered states. The Romans made a practice, upon every new acquisition of land, of adding a part of it, usually a third, to the domain. So far as this land was under culture, portions of it were sometimes assigned to single citizens or newly-founded colonies in fee simple, sometimes sold by the quaestors on the condition that, though the purchaser might bequeath and alienate it, it still remained State property. In token of this it paid a substantial or merely nominal rent (vectigal), and was called ager privatus vectigalisque or quaestorius. The greater part was left to the old occupiers, yet not as free property, but as rent-paying land, and was called ager publicus stipendiarius datus assignatus; the rest remained under State management, and was let by the Censors. Of uncultivated districts, the State, by public proclamation, gave a provisional right of seisin, occupatio, with a view to cultivation, in consideration of a tithe of the com raised and a fifth of the fruit, and reserving its right of resumption. Such seisin was called possessio. It could be bequeathed or otherwise alienated, yet never became private property, but remained a rent-paying and resumable property of the State. Though the Plebeians had as good a right to occupy lands won by their aid as the Patricians, yet in the early times of the Republic this right was exercised by the latter alone, partly because they had the greater command of means and men, and partly because by the right of the stronger they excluded the Plebeians from benefiting by the Ager Publicus. Against this usurpation the Plebeians waged a bitter and unbroken warfare, claiming not only a share in newly conquered lands, but a wholesale redistribution of existing possessiones, while the Patricians strained every nerve to maintain their vested interests, and managed to thwart the execution of all the enactments passed from time to time in favour of the Plebeians. Even the law of the tribune Gaius Licinius Stolo (B.C. 377), limiting possessiones to 500 iugera (acres) per man, and ordering the distribution of the remainder, were from the first eluded by the possessores, who now included both Patricians and well-to-do Plebeians. Allpossible means were employed, as pretended deeds of gift and other similar devices. The threatened extinction of the Italian peasantry by the great wars, and the rapid growth of huge estates (latifundia) worked by slaves, occasioned the law of Tiberius Gracchus (B.C. 133), retaining the Licinian limit of 500 acres, but allowing another 250 for each son, and granting compensation for lands resumed by the State. The land thus set free, and all the Ager Publicus that had been leased, except a few domains indispensable to the State, were to be divided among poor citizens, but on the condition that each allotment paid a quit-rent, and was not to be alienated. But again, the the resistance of the nobility practically reduced this law to a dead letter; and the upshot of the whole agrarian movement stirred up by Tiberius and his brother Gaius Gracchus was, that the wealthy Romans were not only left undisturbed in their possessiones, but were released from paying rent. In the civil wars of Sulla the Ager Publicus in Italy, which had been nearly all used up in assignations, received so vast an increase by the extermination of whole townships, by proscriptions and confiscations, that even after all the soldiers had been provided for, there remained a portion undistributed. Under the Empire there was hardly any left in Italy; what there was, whether in Italy or in the provinces, came gradually under the control of the imperial exchequer.
 
ASSIGNATIO 192.38%

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The Latin term for the assignment of public lands to single citizens or to colonies. See COLONIES and AGER PUBLICUS.
 
OCCUPATIO 163.47%
The Roman term for the appropriation of untilled portions of the State lands, consequent upon the invitation of the State, and having for its object the cultivation of the soil. (See further AGER PUBLICUS.)
 
POSSESSIO 141.31%

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The Roman term for the de facto possession of an article without actual proprietary right (dominium). The name was given in particular to those lands, properly belonging to the State, which were taken into by what was called occupatio. For more see AGER PUBLICUS.
 
LATIFUNDIUM 88.02%

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The Latin term for an extensive landed estate which was worked by means of slaves. Lands of the State (see AGER PUBLICUS) taken into permanent use by occupatio formed the foundation of these properties, and their possessor enlarged them by obtaining contiguous property either by purchase or by forcible appropriation. This system of latifundia gradually caused the utter ruin of the Italian peasantry, and involved in it the general destruction of the community [Latifundia perdidere Italiam, Pliny, N. H., xviii 35].
 
POSTAL SERVICE 19.48%
Under the Roman Empire a postal service proper was first formed in the time of Augustus. This, however, was not intended for the use of the public, but served only for the conveyance of magistrates and of government despatches; just as the great network of roads, with which the Romans covered the whole empire, was laid down, not for the purposes of traffic, but in the first instance for the transport of the armies and of the materials of war. Under the Republic the correspondence of officials was carried as a rule by special messengers; the conveyance of the officials themselves was laid upon the provincials, who were bound to provide relays of horses and supplies. Augustus instituted a State post (cursus publicus) with a military organization, which conveyed the official despatches from station to station by means of couriers. For the conveyance of the magistrates stations were instituted, with changes of horses (mutationes) and with night-quarters (mansiones). Private persons were allowed to use the State posts only by special permission on the part of the governors, afterwards of the emperor, and upon definite orders given [diplomata: Pliny, Ep. x, the last two letters]. The cost of the posting-houses was made a charge upon the several localities, though occasionally the emperors undertook the provision of draught-animals and carriages. Besides the horse they rode, the couriers had a spare horse to carry, the letter bags. Passengers were conveyed in carriages called redae, drawn by horses and mules; while goods were forwarded on vans, which were drawn by oxen. Besides this, vessels were stationed at various points on the rivers to carry letters, passengers, and goods, just as there was postal communication over sea, especially from Ostia, the port of Rome, outwards, to the islands and chief ports of the Mediterranean.
 
GENIUS 16.42%

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The Italian peoples regarded the Genius as a higher power which creates and maintains life, assists at the begetting and birth of every individual man, determines his character, tries to influence his destiny for good, accompanies him through life as his tutelary spirit, and lives on in the Lares after his death. (See LARES.) As a creative principle, the Genius is attached strictly speaking, to the male sex only. In the case of women his place is taken by Juno, the personification of woman's life. Thus, in house inhabited by a man and his wife a Genius and a Juno are worshipped together. But in common parlance it was usual to speak of the Genius of a house, and to this Genius the marriage bed was sacred. A man's birthday was naturally the holiday of his attendant Genius, to whom he offered incense, wine, garlands, cakes, everything in short but bloody sacrifices, and in whose honour he gave himself up to pleasure and enjoyment. For the Genius wishes a man to have pleasure in the life he has given him. And so the Romans spoke of enjoying oneself as indulging one's Genius, and of renunciation as spiting him. Men swore by their Genius as by their higher self, and by the Genius of persons whom they loved and honoured. The philosophers originated the idea of a man having two Genii, a good and a bad one; but in the popular belief the notion of the Genius was that of a good and beneficent being. Families, societies, cities and peoples had their Genius as well as individuals. The Genius of the Roman people (Genius Publicus, or Populi Romani) stood in the forum, represented in the form of a bearded man crowned with a diadem, a cornucopia in his right hand, and a sceptre in his left. An annual sacrifice was offered to him on the 9th October. Under the Empire the Genius of Augustus, the founder of the Empire, and of the reigning emperor, were publicly worshipped at the same time. Localities also, such as open spaces, streets, baths, and theatres, had their own Genii. These were usually represented under the form of snakes (see cut); and hence the common habit of keeping tame snakes.
 
EQUITES 8.58%
 
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