The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Ager

30 AGER.

they were called Subruncivi. The limites parallel to the cardo were drawn in the same way.

The Roman measure of length used for land was the actus of 120 feet: the square actus was 14,400 square feet ; and a juger or jugemm was two actus quadrati. The word centuria properly means a hundred of any thing. The reason of the term centuria being applied to these divi­sions may be, that the plebeian centuries contained 100 actus, which is 50 jugera, the amount con­tained in the portions put up -to sale by the quaes­tors : but Siculus Flaccus (p. 15, ed. Goes.) gives a different account. The centuria sometimes con­tained 200 jugera, and in later periods 240 and 400. This division into centuriae only compre­hended the cultivable land. When a colony was founded or a tract of land was divided, that part which did not consist of arable land was the com­mon property of the colony or settlement; and was used as pasture. Such tracts appear to be the Compascuus Ager of the Lex Thoria (c. 4, &c.). The land that was thus limited, would often have an irregular boundary, and thus many centuries would be incomplete. Such pieces were called Subseciva, and were sometimes granted to the colony or community, and sometimes reserved to the state. That such portions existed in some quantity in Italy is shown by the fact of Vespasian and Titus making sales of them, and Domitian is said to have restored them to the possessors.

A plan of each tract of limited land was engraved on metal (aes), and deposited in the tabularium. This plan (forma) showed all the limites or cen­turiae, and was a permanent record of the original limitation. Descriptions also accompanied the plan, which mentioned the portions that belonged to dif­ferent individuals, and other particulars. (Siculus Flaccus, De Dims, et Assig. ed. Goes., p. 16 ; and the passages collected by Brissonius, Select.- ex Jur. Civil, iii. c. 5.) Some of these records, which be­long to an early period of Roman history, are men­tioned by Siculus Flaccus, as existing when he wrote (p. 24. ed. Goes.). These registered plans were the best evidence of the original division of the lands, and if disputes could not be settled otherwise, it was necessary to refer to them.

As to the marks by which boundaries Were dis­tinguished, they were different in the case of Ager Arcifinius and Ager Limitatus. In the case of Ager Arcifinius, the boundaries were either natural or artificial, as mountain ridges, roads, water sheds, rocks, hills, ramparts of earth, walls of rubble, and so forth: rivers, brooks, ditches and water conduits were also used as boundaries. Marks were also made on rocks, and trees were planted for this purpose, or were left standing (arbores intactae, antemissae). Trees were often marked: those which were the common property of two land­owners were marked on both sides ; and those which belonged to a single proprietor were marked on the side which was turned from the proprietor's land (arbores insignes, signatae,notatae). By cutting off a piece of the bark, a scar would be formed which would answer as a signum. In angles, such as a trifinium or quadrifinium, more special boundary marks were used, for instance, at a trifinium three trees would be planted. Taps, or pieces of wood, lead and iron, were also inserted in trees to point to some pieoe of water as the nearest boundary.

The Ager Limitatus was marked in a different way by boundary stones and posts, not -by natural

AGER, barriers. The boundaries of the territory were

i/

marked by termini, which received their names under the empire from the emperor who gave' the commission for partitioning the land. Accordingly, we find the expressions Lapides Augustales, Tibe-riani, and so forth, mentioned as the termini fixed by these emperors for the boundaries of the colonies which they founded. The Termini Territoriales marked the limits of the district, the Pleurici ran parallel to the Decumani and Cardines, the Actuarii Centuriales were at the angles of the centuriae, the Epipedonici in the centre of the centuriae, the Proportionales at the beginning and end of the jugera. The boundaries of a property were also marked by termini ; and the owner of a property might place termini within it to mark the pieces into whieh he divided it for his chil­dren.

The termini were either posts of wood or stones. In the colonies of Augustus, the boundaries of the centuriae were marked by stones ; those of the several allotments by oak posts (termini robusti, pali roborei.) Sometimes pali actuarii are men­tioned, from which it appears that the boundaries of the centuriae were sometimes determined by wooden posts. The stones used in a particular limitatio were of the same kind and colour in order to make them more useful as boundary stones. The stones were either polished (politi, dolati) or rough hewn (taxati a ferro), or in their entire rough state. The size varied from half a foot to two and a half feet, and the larger might sometimes be mistaken by ignorant people for mile stones. The form of the stones also varied, as we see from the representations contained of them in the MSS, of the Agrimensores. The number of angles varied in those which were angular: some were cylindrical, some pointed, others of a pyramidal form. The head stones at the be­ginning and end of a boundary were more con­spicuous than those which lay between them. In­scriptions and marks were also put on the termini. The termini on the boundaries of the limited land have often considerable inscriptions ; the centurial and pleurite termini give the number of the century and the name of the limes. Various kinds of marks were also devised to facilitate the ascertain­ing of boundaries without the trouble of referring to the plan.

These precautions were not all. A stone might be removed and a boundary might thus become un­certain. It was accordingly the practice to bury something under the stone that was not perishable, as bones, embers and ashes from the offering made at the time when the stone was set up. Small coins were also put under it, and fragments of glass, pottery, and the like^ which would serve to deter­mine the place of the stone. The same practice is enjoined by the laws of Mann (viii. 249,250, 251), a fact noticed by Dureau de la Malle. On the intro­duction of Christianity, the practice of making such offerings was discontinued, and this kind of evidence was lost. Under the old religion i't was also the practice to traverse the boundaries at the terminalia, in the month of February. In tfee case of the territorial boundaries, this was done by the whole community ; and pursuant to this old custom, the boundaries of the original territory of Rome, six miles from the city, were traversed at the terminalia. Private persons also examined their boundaries at the terminalia, and the usual offerings were made. The parish perambulations and other peranibuk-

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

29

30

31
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.