cover of book

Gardens and Neighbors: Private Water Rights in Roman Italy
by Cynthia Jordan Bannon
University of Michigan Press, 2010
Cloth: 978-0-472-03353-9 | eISBN: 978-0-472-02564-0
Library of Congress Classification KJA2489.R57B36 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 346.456320432


"Gardens and Neighbors will provide an important building block in the growing body of literature on the ways that Roman law, Roman society, and the economic concerns of the Romans jointly functioned in the real world."
---Michael Peachin, New York University

As is increasingly true today, fresh water in ancient Italy was a limited resource, made all the more precious by the Roman world's reliance on agriculture as its primary source of wealth. From estate to estate, the availability of water varied, in many cases forcing farmers in need of access to resort to the law. In Gardens and Neighbors: Private Water Rights in Roman Italy, Cynthia Bannon explores the uses of the law in controlling local water supplies. She investigates numerous issues critical to rural communities and the Roman economy. Her examination of the relationship between farmers and the land helps draw out an understanding of Roman attitudes toward the exploitation and conservation of natural resources and builds an understanding of law in daily Roman life.

An editor of the series Law and Society in the Ancient World, Cynthia Jordan Bannon is also Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her previous book was The Brothers of Romulus: Fraternal Pietas in Roman Law, Literature, and Society (1997). Visit the author's website:

Jacket illustration: Barren Tuscan Fields in Winter © 2009 Scott Gilchrist. Image from
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