Lands, Laws, and Gods

Magistrates and Ceremony in the Regulation of Public Lands in Republican Rome

By Daniel J. Gargola

280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5705-2
    Published: July 2009
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3243-8
    Published: June 2016

Studies in the History of Greece and Rome

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In Lands, Laws, and Gods, Daniel Gargola examines the formulation and implementation of laws regulating the use of public lands, including the establishment of colonies, in Republican Rome (509-27 B.C.). During this period of territorial expansion, the Romans developed the basic legal forms by which they governed captured land, and they constructed the processes and ceremonies by which those forms were translated into practice. Using agrarian law as a case study and focusing especially on rituals that both validated and gave structure to the administrative process, Gargola demonstrates the fundamental connections between religion, law, and government. Essential acts in the administration of agrarian legislation, such as the transfer of land from one party to another and the granting of contracts for public works, depended upon ritual formulas and gestures, often within the context of religious ceremonies. By recovering these formulas and their larger significance, Gargola reconstructs an important dimension of Roman life.

Originally published in 1995.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

About the Author

Daniel J. Gargola is associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky.
For more information about Daniel J. Gargola, visit the Author Page.


“Here you will find the methods and meanings of Roman land acquisition, equally accessible to student, generalist, or specialist. . . . Gargola’s marvelous book . . . is clear, lively, and wears its learning lightly yet impressively.”--Classical World

“All in all, [Gargola’s] work is a valuable document of Roman government in action, which should interest all Classicists and historians of the Ancient World.”--Journal of Indo-European Studies

"Well written, with excellent bibliography and documentation, the book is recommended to all research libraries."--Choice

"[Gargola] has shown that it is still possible to ask new questions about politics in the Roman republic and examine old ones in a new light."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"The reader of this well-written book will come away with a deeper appreciation of the day-to-day operations of the Roman government in the third and second the turbulent century that centuries B.C., as well as with a fresh perspective on witnessed the republic's demise."--American Historical Review

"An excellent treatment of an important subject. . . . A must for anyone working on any aspect of Roman religion or politics. It will also interest students of comparative politics, religion, and anthropology."--T. J. Cornell, University College, London