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Ownership and Exploitation of Land and Natural Resources in the Roman World$
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Paul Erdkamp, Koenraad Verboven, and Arjan Zuiderhoek

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728924.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2021

The Local Economy of Palmyra

The Local Economy of Palmyra

Organizing Agriculture in an Oasis Environment

(p.234) 13 The Local Economy of Palmyra
Ownership and Exploitation of Land and Natural Resources in the Roman World

Julia Hoffmann-Salz

Oxford University Press

Palmyra was presumably settled by Arabic and Aramaic tribes that had been in the area long before the urban development of the oasis city started in the 3rd/2nd century BC. It is within the legal framework of an originally tribal society that the allocation of resources such as water and land, both essential for agricultural activities, was organized. Comparing the available sources from Palmyra with examples from modern nomadic societies allows us to better understand how agriculture in and around Palmyra may have been conducted. It is suggested that water and land rights were held by the tribes that settled the oasis and later became the citizen body of the town, so that in imperial times ‘the public’ held those rights. Individual usufruct rights may have developed through the continual use of land plots.

Keywords:   Palmyra, oasis, resource allocation, nomads, land ownership, water rights, agriculture, tribal society

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