The main aim of this paper is the analysis of the legal and epigraphic evidence for lease contracts in land tenure, with particular reference to the second and third centuries AD. Against the monolithic interpretation of the locatio conductio as the prototype of colonatus and emphyteusis contracts – with its assumption of continuity and sequential development – this paper gives evidence of the simultaneity of different letting and hiring contracts in agrarian contexts. By focusing on the agents involved in the legal transactions, we can distinguish different conditions pro qualitate personarum et rerum which characterized various locatio conductio contracts in the agrarian domain in terms of different onera and iura. Land tenure contracts have generally been analysed from the perspective of private law; taking due account of public ownership in demesne, however, will necessitate a different approach to the definition of some of the ‚public law‘ aspects of land tenure contracts.
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston