ABSTRACT

As it is today, the property market was a key and dynamic economic sector in Ancient Rome. Its study demands a deep understanding of Roman society, of the normative frameworks and the notions of wealth, value, identity and status that shaped individual and collective mentalities. This book takes a multisided insight into real estate as the subject of short- and long-term economic investments, of speculative businesses ventures, of power abuses and inequalities, of social aspirations, but also of essential housing needs.

The volume discusses thoroughly relevant and new literary, legal, epigraphic, papyrological and archaeological evidence, and incorporates comparative historical perspectives and methodologies, including economic theory and current, critical sociological debates about the functioning of modern real estate markets and issues linked to its commodification and regulation. In pursuing this line of enquiry, the contributions that make up the book investigate the impact of ideas such as profit, risk, security and trust in transfers, management and use of residential houses, commercial buildings and productive estates in urban and rural contexts. The work further evaluates the legal responses to and the public enforcement strategies concerning such activities, the high mobility of fortunes and unstable property-rights that resulted from one-off but also structural, political, financial, economic and institutional crises that marked the history of the Roman Republic and Principate.

This book aims to demonstrate the relevance of the study of pre-modern real estate markets today, and will be of significant interest to readers of economic history as well as Roman law, Roman archaeology, the history of urbanism and social history.

1 Embedded, Eclectic, Elusive: The Real Estate Market and the Roman Economy; PART I Concepts and Control 2 Government Intervention in Real Estate in the Roman World; 3 Beyond Price: Constructions of Value and the Real Estate Market in Ancient Rome; PART II Land, Property, and Law 4 Land and Securing the Future in the Roman Empire; 5 Praedia agris meis vicina atque etiam inserta venalia sunt: A Reflection on the Modalities and Effects of the Circulation of Agrarian Properties between the Late Republic and the Principate; 6 The Real Estate Market in the Campanian Wax-Tablets; PART III Social Status, Forms of Investment, and the Roman Elite 7 Understanding the Roman Real Estate Market: A Case Study of Information Constraints and Behaviour; 8 Ocelli Italiae: Senatorial villae as Information Hubs; 9 A Luxury Maritime Villa on the Sorrento Peninsula: When Real Estate Does Not Make Financial Sense; 10 Property Management and Social Patronage: The gens Neratia in Rome and Central-Southern Italy between the Second and the Fourth Centuries AD; PART IV Urban Businesses 11 “Two of My Shops Have Collapsed…”: Real Estate and Predatory Urban Practices in Late Republican Central Italy; 12 The horrea: How Storage Engaged with Shipping Flows and Made the Roman Economy Bigger; PART V Properties Beyond Italy 13 Imperial Properties in the North-Western Provinces: Possible Patterns of Acquisition and Sale; 14 The Real Estate Markets in Roman Egypt