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This article discusses, necessarily in a fairly compressed fashion, the ways in which the Roman emperor legislated on and influenced the management of public water resources in the Roman world.In order to place the emperor’s actions in their proper context, something is said also about other sources of Roman law, and about legislation concerning private water resources.Many Latin and Roman colonies, founded on former , show evidence for the presence of Italians, although I argue that these were not official colonists, but had moved in after the foundation of the colony.Thus colonies served as an important point of contact between Romans and Italians, and played a crucial role in the integration of Republican Italy.Most regions saw unprecedented economic prosperity in agricultural production, as evidenced by the monumentalization of many towns and rural sanctuaries, especially in the 2 which had not yet been distributed by the Roman state, as well as land that had been distributed to settlers in colonies or individual distributions, and thereby became private property.Italians might have had access to such land either officially, by being granted a right to use it, or informally by simply exploiting land that was not used by the Roman state.This would mean that it was no longer accessible for Italians, since it is often assumed that Italians were not admitted into these settlements.

However, it is more likely that this occurred because Italy became part of a more unified economic network, in which some regions became production rather than settlement areas4.In the case of captured land which became theirs on each occasion, they distributed the cultivated area at once to settlers, or sold or leased it ; but since they did not have time to allocate the very large quantity that was then lying uncultivated as a result of hostilities, they announced that this could for the moment be worked by anyone who wished at a rent of one tenth of the produce for arable land and one fifth for orchards.Rents were also set for those who pastured larger and smaller beasts.And if they had any respite from these tribulations, they had no employment, because the land was owned by the rich who used slave farm workers instead of free men1., and used these for agriculture and animal husbandry2.

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