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The Birth of Territory$
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Stuart Elden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226202563

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226041285.001.0001

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From Urbis to Imperium

From Urbis to Imperium

(p.53) Chapter Two From Urbis to Imperium
The Birth of Territory

Stuart Elden

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses Ancient Rome. It provides detailed readings of the writings of Julius Caesar and Cicero; the former treating the question of terrain and the military-geography terms he uses, and the latter the res publica. These are followed by a discussion of the Latin historians, with a specific focus on Tacitus. The chapter then proceeds with substantial analyses of two key terms: imperium and limes - boundaries or frontiers. It shows how the question of how we should translate territorium is not straight-forward: it means lands surrounding a place, usually a city. The lands so described are outside the city walls, predominantly agricultural lands. Yet on the other hand, the Romans had plenty of ways to describe lands belonging to people or towns: terra, ager, or the area within fines, boundaries. The discussion of the limes, the edges or limits of the empire, raises the question of how Rome saw the rest of the world. The chapter discusses the civil war, practices of land reform, the founding myth of Rome, the names of Octavian/Augustus, and ends with a discussion of practices of land surveying that are outlined in the Corpus Agrimensorum Romanorum and of the later historian Ammianus Marcellinus.

Keywords:   Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Tacitus, imperium, limes, Augustus, Corpus Agrimensorum Romanorum, territorium

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