Western Europe before 1100
Greece is certainly not part of western Europe, and only half, at most, of the Roman empire was, but it seems reasonable to say something about them here, if only because they are traditionally seen as the background to later European history. The Roman material is clearly relevant: although medieval lawyers do not seem to have used the texts in the Theodosian code or Novellae that dealt with actual expropriations, they used some from the Codex and Digest to argue about the emperor’s jurisdiction and rights over his subjects’ lands.
The evidence of possible expropriation in ancient Greece includes legislation for the valuation of noncitizens’ property that might be wanted to build temples; the help, with provision for agreeing to valuations, that the new regime gave to those who chose to emigrate to Eleusis after a revolution in Athens, so that they could get consent of the owners of the houses they wanted; and perhaps the laying of drains in private fields in Euboea, with payment to the landowner.1 About the position in the law of ancient Rome there can be no doubt, despite the traditional belief
1. Karabélias, “L’expropriation en droit grec ancien.”