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Latifundium

The Latin term for an extensive landed estate which was worked by means of slaves. Lands of the State (see Ager Publicus, Agrimensores) taken into permanent use by occupatio formed the foundation of these properties, and their possessor enlarged them by obtaining contiguous property either by purchase or by forcible appropriation. This system of latifundia gradually caused the utter ruin of the Italian peasantry, and involved in it the general destruction of the community ( “latifundia perdidere Italiam,Pliny H. N. xviii. 35 ).

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