03 December 2021

BOOK: Sofia PIACENTIN, Financial Penalties in the Roman Republic. A Study of Confiscations of Individual Property, Public Sales, and Fines (509–58 BC) (Leiden: Brill, 2021). ISBN: 978-90-04-49866-2, € 229.00

(Source: Brill)


Private property in Rome effectively measures the suitability of each individual to serve in the army and to compete in the political arena. What happens then, when a Roman citizen is deprived of his property? Financial penalties played a crucial role in either discouraging or effectively punishing wrongdoers. This book offers the first coherent discussion of confiscations and fines in the Roman Republic by exploring the political, social, and economic impact of these punishments on private wealth.


Sofia Piacentin, PhD (2017), King’s College London, is Research Fellow at the ERC project PATRIMONIVM at the Université Bordeaux Montaigne.


List of Figures and Tables 

 1  Aims and Significance of This Work 
 2  Sources, Methodology, and Outline of the Chapters 

Part 1 Early Confiscations and Fines in the Roman Republic

Confiscation or Consecration of Property? 
 1  P. Valerius Publicola 
 2  Sp. Cassius and the leges sacratae 
 3  The Decemvirate 
 4  Sp. Maelius 
 5  M. Manlius Capitolinus 
 6  Vitruvius Vaccus 
 7  Aspiring Tyrants and Tyrannicides 
 8  Demolished Houses 
 9  Conclusion 

Fines and Roman Public Finances 
 1  Aedilician Fines in the Literary Sources 
 2  The Monumentality of Aedilician Fines 
 3  Literary and Epigraphic Parallels 
 4  The Politics of Curule and Plebeian Dedications 
 5  Conclusion 

Public Fines in Italy Outside Rome 
 1  Distribution and Chronology 
 2  The Variety of Objects and Contexts 
 3  Sacred Context, Transhumance, and the Cult of Hercules 
 4  Conclusion 

Part 2 Quantifying Confiscations and Fines in Roman Republic

Confiscations of Property and Fines in the Military Sphere 
 1  Military (and Civic) Disobedience 
 2  Draft Dodging and Discharge of Soldiers 
 3  Military Failures 
 4  Conclusion 

The Use of Financial Penalties in the Political Arena 
 1  Between Political Opportunities and Religious Duties 
 2  Fines for Misuse of Booty and Embezzlement (peculatus) 
 3  Fines and Compensations for Extortion (res repetundae) 
 4  Conclusion: Quantifying the Figures for Confiscations, Fines and Compensations 

Part 3 The Outbreak of Violence

Confiscations of Property in Civil Conflicts 
 1  Tiberius Gracchus: Tradition and Novelty in Punishment 
 2  The Confiscation of the Property of C. Sempronius Gracchus, M. Fulvius Flaccus, and Their Supporters 
 3  The Confiscation of the Property of L. Appuleius Saturninus and His Supporters 
 4  Conclusion: Accusations of regnumsenatus consultum ultimum, and Confiscations 

Confiscations of Property and the Declaration of hostes publici 
 1  The hostis Declarations of 88 and 87 BC 
 2  Conclusion: The Senatorial Debate over the Punishment of the Catilinarians 

The Sullan Proscriptions: A Point of No Return? 
 1  The Precedents 
 2  Proscriptions and Confiscations: An Assessment 
 3  Public Sales of Confiscated Property 
 4  Targeting Wealth 
 5  Proscriptions and the Land Market 
 6  Family Strategies of Self-Preservation 
 7  The Triumviral Proscriptions 
 8  Conclusion 

Disclosing Confiscations and Public Sales in the Late Republic: Cicero’s De domo sua 
 1  De domo sua: Historical Context 
 2  The Structure of the Speech 
 3  Tribunician Consecrations of Property 
 4  The Confiscation of the Property of Cicero 
 5  The Auction of the Property of Cicero 
 6  Conclusion 

10 Conclusions 


More information with the publisher.

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