The writings of the Roman land surveyors : technical and legal aspects
The basic object of study of this dissertation is those texts conventionally known as 'the writings of the Roman land surveyors'. It deals in particular with the nature of the works of a body of authors (Frontinus and his later commentator, 'first' and 'second' Hyginus, Siculus Flaccus and Urbicus) which have come down to us, within the aforesaid collection of writings characterized by a diversified technical framework, through a peculiar manuscript tradition. Their treatises are of a special importance because they do not simply illustrate various principles and aspects of the technique of land measurement connected with areas of territory which have been parcelled and allocated. These authors, in fact, also describe those different kinds of markers which typify the boundary system used to enclose private/public areas or parcels of land. Such descriptions are connected by them with a discussion about different types of disputes which may arise either about the boundary line/strip or an area of land. The aim of the research is double. On the one hand, it seeks to ascertain more precisely the interrelation between the writings (or part of the writings) of the above mentioned authors: what was the extent and character of the influence each treatise may have exerted on the other by means of the technical terminology and systematization of the subject (along with any development of the land surveying technique) they followed. The first part of this study is, therefore, devoted to a close analysis of the way their works have been transmitted and all the most relevant passages which may lead not only to a better understanding of the nature of such works, but also to a more reliable chronology. On the other hand, this investigation is aimed to ascertain what was the actual province of the Agnmensores in the procedure for settling private and public law cases concerning land disputes in Imperial Rome. By commenting on all the most relevant epigraphical and documentary records dealing with this subject, along with those collections of laws concerning the 'action for regulating boundaries', it is possible to maintain not only that, according to the Roman law in force, the Agrimensores never held any office of arbitrators or judges to settle such disputes, but also that the jurists' and the Agnmensores' way of indicating the object of disputes about 'boundary' and 'site' was different, since their technical needs were different.