HelRaw: Filippo Incontro 28.8.2023

Property or possession? Between juridical situations in Roman North Africa


This semester’s first Helsinki Research on the Ancient World seminar (HelRaw) takes place 28th August with Filippo Incontro (University of Trento) You are warmly welcome to join our speaker on Metsätalo or Zoom.


In the last four decades, the historical research on Roman North Africa has accomplished remarkable results, as has the research on that branch of Roman law dedicated to land property regimes, to their configuration and their administration. However, the two areas have rarely been put together, even less so adopting a mainly legal perspective and with regards to the period between the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Principate.

In particular, that part of the lex Agraria of 111 BCE (CIL I1, nr. 200 and CIL XI, nr. 364a [fr. F] = CIL I2, nr. 585) explicitly dedicated to «[…q]VEI AGER LOCVS IN AFRICA EST» (ll. 43-95) has not really been used to try and reconstruct the juridical situation of the land in the first Roman provincia on African soil, combining with both local and general knowledge we now have on the topic.

Starting from this fundamental source I think it would be possible to delineate the juridical situation of land, especially of private land, in Roman Africa (Vetus and then Proconsularis) and what the institutional evolution that intervened between the end of the 1st century BCE and the beginning of the 2nd century of the provincia might have meant for it.

In this talk I will outline the project of my doctoral dissertation as divided in three macro-areas:

- the assessing of the property/possession regimes – and concept themselves – implemented in the province, according to the general discipline of property and possession that we can find in the legal literary sources and looking at the regime of locationes in the light of that;

- the analysis – through case studies as that involving the pertica Carthaginiensium – of the institutional evolution of the province and what it could have meant in terms of administration of the land as delineated in the first part;

- the combination with the gromatic literature in order to show the relation between the forma of the territory, the juridical classification of the land and the “legal situations” that can be built upon them. This means introducing a different perspective to the topic, one that sees the land not only as res but also as physical space, with all that goes along with it theoretically in terms of ‘production’ and conceptualisation.

Topic: HelRaw: Filippo Incontro

Time: Aug 28, 2023 05:15 PM Helsinki

 Where: Metsätalo, Room 7. (Unioninkatu 40).


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About the Speaker:

Filippo Incontro is a doctoral researcher in the Doctoral Programme in Comparative and European Legal Studies at the University of Trento, Italy, where he is also full-time assistant to the Chair of Roman Law and member of the Examination Board for the Roman Law courses. He is working on his dissertation on property regimes and possessions of land in Roman North Africa from the end of the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE and how they are intertwined with the evolution of the administration system of the provincia Africa. He is also a member of the SAIC – Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Cartagine.


 - Filippo Incontro | CV | University of Trento (unitn.it).



For more information about our project, visit our homepage https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/law-governance-and-space