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Before Eminent DomainToward a History of Expropriation of Land for the Common Good$
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Susan Reynolds

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833537

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895863_reynolds

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Western Europe before 1100

Western Europe before 1100

(p.15) Chapter 2 Western Europe before 1100
Before Eminent Domain

Susan Reynolds

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter surveys the evidence on the actual practice of expropriation of land in western Europe prior to 1100, focusing on ancient Greece and Rome. In ancient Greece, this evidence includes legislation for the valuation of noncitizens' property that could have been used to build temples. The chapter cites another example from the early Middle Ages of what seems to have been a modified form of expropriation for the public good: the plundering, spoliation, or secularization of church property by Charles Martel and his descendants, the Carolingian kings and emperors. In addition, it considers the taking of land from laymen on which new fortifications were built. Finally, the chapter looks at instances of unjust expropriations, that is, those that were not apparently made for the common good, such as confiscations made for alleged crimes.

Keywords:   expropriation of land, western Europe, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, Middle Ages, church property, Charles Martel, fortifications, common good, confiscations

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