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Caenum aut caelum: M. Livius Drusus and the Land

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image of Mnemosyne

This article explores the legislative programme of M. Livius Drusus in 91 BC with particular attention to his plans for land distribution. This aspect of his legislation is often overlooked. I will argue that it was central to his plans for the year and that it was of the greatest importance in determining the response of the Italian allies to his programme. Land had been a friction point in Rome’s relations with the allied communities since the activities of the Gracchan land commission and Drusus’ proposals to distribute land alarmed them. It was this, rather than his citizenship bill, that drew the protests of the Etruscans and Umbrians reported by Appian. Appreciating the diversity of interest groups affected by Drusus’ legislation allows for a much better understanding of his tribunate and its aftermath.

Affiliations: 1: University of Sydney, Department of Classics and Ancient History Main Quadrangle A14, Sydney, Australia, 2006, Email:


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