agrarian laws

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agrarian laws

agrarian laws, in ancient Rome, the laws regulating the disposition of public lands (ager publicus).

It was the practice of Rome to confiscate part of the land of conquered cities and states, and this was made public land. So long as it remained public land, it was occupied by tenants who paid rent, usually in produce, to the state. From the earliest times the patricians gained the largest part of the public lands, and the holding of public lands tended always in Italy to become the exclusive prerogative of the wealthy. There was also a tendency to consider land long occupied as real property of the occupier.

The agrarian laws resulted from the continued efforts of the poorer classes to gain some share in the public lands. Since these lands were occupied without lease, the strictly legal aspects were not difficult; but inasmuch as most agrarian legislation challenged the lucrative privilege of the powerful of retaining the lands they held, the agrarian laws were often flagrantly disobeyed or calmly ignored. In 486 B.C., Spurius Cassius Viscellinus tried to pass a law assigning some new lands in Gaul to the poor of Rome and Latium, but Roman jealousy prevented its passage. The most famous of early agrarian laws were the Licinian Rogations (367 B.C.) of Caius Licinius Calvus Stolo (see under Licinius), which limited strictly the amount of land any citizen could hold and the number of sheep and cattle he could pasture on public land. These laws fell into disuse. About 233 B.C., Caius Flaminius succeeded in assigning some public lands to poor citizens.

The next serious attempt to rectify an increasingly difficult situation was the Sempronian Law of 133 B.C. devised by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (see Gracchi). This reenacted the provisions of the Licinian Rogations and added to the maximum allowance an extra amount for each son. The occupants were to be reduced to the legal maximum and the surplus given to the poor. The occupants were to receive in compensation full title to the land they retained. A commission was set up to execute the law, but the senate by its obstructionist tactics weakened the commission, thus rendering the law ineffective. In 123 B.C., Caius Gracchus revived the Sempronian Law, but this time the senate ruined the reform by allowing the new tenants to sell their new land, which the wealthy bought up.

From time to time newly acquired lands would be assigned to the poor, but as a rule they simply passed into the hands of the wealthy landholders. In the 1st cent. B.C. there were several assignments of public lands to veterans in Italy as well as on the borders of the empire. The wholesale confiscation and reassignment of private lands by Sulla (82 B.C.) and Octavian and Antony (43 B.C.) were called agrarian laws. The first step in the final collapse of the democratic effort that had resulted in the agrarian laws was the edict of Domitian (c.A.D. 82) assigning the title of public lands in Italy to those who held them. The poorer classes were thus confirmed in a dependency on the powerful that foreshadowed the greater dependency of feudalism.

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References in periodicals archive ?
To weaken arguments of legal contradictions, the Governor Regulation 13/2009 refers to the Agrarian Law of 1960, as it states in Article 5 that 'the agrarian law applies to soil, water, and air, which also follows adat law as long as it does not contradict the national and the State interests, based on the nation's unity with Indonesian socialism, and also the other regulations within this Act and other legal regulations, all in respect to religious laws'.
It resulted in an agrarian law of 1851 that, in expressions similar if not identical to the French Code Civil, proclaimed the inviolability of private property both for indigenous people and for foreigners and introduced a French-modeled organization of the public domain.
The latter kind of conflict was especially characteristic of the various struggles following the Agrarian law promulgated by the Gracchi.
In both instances, the controversy had arisen over a centuries-old injustice: the unequal recognition of property rights under Roman law, and the perceived need for some kind of land redistribution, known to the Romans as an "agrarian law."
For the judicial law, he concentrates on the elucidation of court procedures; for the agrarian law, he focuses especially on the legal characteristics of various categories of land.
What happened now was that the Parisian events set off a different series of troubles, not in the same areas as in the preceding year, and this time more "ideological." They were marked by appeals, for example, for "agrarian law," that primal call that "no one should possess more than another": "Tremble, ye aristocrats of Cogny!"
His finest work is the well - known Informe sobre la ley agraria (1794), ostensibly a report on a projected code of agrarian law, but in reality an enlightened program for extensive economic reform.
More than 31 farmers received certificates of land ownership award while 28,000 agrarian law issues have been resolved.
The consultants' conclusion appears to be based on the Basic Agrarian Law No.