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The land of Caesar: Geography and economy of the imperial properties in Roman Asia Minor

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Patrimony and power of Roman emperors

A team researched the geographical distribution and the economic, social and political impact of the properties of the Roman emperors in Asia Minor. The findings provide better insight into how the emperors used their patrimony as a political instrument and as a source of power.

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Properties during Roman rule included land estates, pastures, woods, mines and quarries. With the owner of the properties being the leader of an empire as well as a lead player in the global economy, a transregional uniformity in exploitation patterns can be traced. Since the early 1930s there had not been any major study of the development and use of the properties despite the significant number of new documents. The EU-funded project LANCRAM (The land of Caesar: Geography and economy of the imperial properties in Roman Asia Minor) set out to fill this gap. Work began by updating the documentary base with new epigraphic discoveries that took place over the past few decades and uploading them into a digital database. The approach was interdisciplinary as it combined geographic reconstruction with administrative, economic and social study. All the people connected with the imperial patrimony, including tenants, the administrators (procurators) and the imperial freedmen, were considered. The database serves both as a repository of documents as well as a research tool for placing the documents in the proper geographical and social contexts. Three workshops took place. They covered different social groups affiliated with the exploitation and administration of the properties. They also included how the presence of Asia Minor in the Roman Empire shaped and influenced the economy and an in-depth analysis of important archaeological and epigraphic sources from regions outside Asia Minor. Work on a monograph on the history of the imperial properties in Asia Minor is under way. LANCRAM’s results and innovative methodology have been fundamental in securing ERC financing for PATRIMONIVM (ERC-StG 716375).


Roman emperors, geographical distribution, Asia Minor, LANCRAM, imperial properties

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