Sacred Property and Public Property in the Greek City

Journal of Hellenic Studies 133:113-133 (2013)

In the ancient Greek city, was sacred land distinct from public land? Were there points of intersection or areas of overlap between the two or was there no distinction at all? First, evidence from Athens is examined through a discussion of N. Papazarkadas' recent monograph, Sacred and Public Land in Ancient Athens. Three criteria for classifying landed property as sacred are proposed in that study: the prohibition or authorization to cultivate sacred land; the use of revenues for cultic purposes; and the inalienability of sacred land. But this trio of criteria does not in fact allow us to establish a clear division between sacred land and public land. The evidence from other cities shows the existence of land defined simultaneously as and the possibility of co-ownership and joint possession between god and city; a distinct place within the city's total property could also be reserved for sacred property (either land or funds)
Keywords Sacred property   public property   Greek finances   ownership   Classical and Hellenistic Athens
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DOI 10.1017/S0075426913000074
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