Jul 9, 2008

Rapid Rhetoric: EMPHYTEUSIS

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Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

emphyteusis (EM-fih-TOO-sis) n. (civil law) a long-term lease of land and/or buildings, including the exclusive enjoyment of all products of the land and the exercise of all property rights usually reserved for the property owner; a contract granting possession of land for a long period of time under certain conditions.

This legal term has its origins in Roman law, and emphyteusis can be traced to the lengthy or even perpetual leases of lands siezed in war by which the Roman State wished to raise revenue. The word emphyteusis is of Greek origin, derived from the Greek word ἐμφύτευσις (literally, "in-planting").

Laws of emphyteusis made a resurrection of sorts in postcolonial Latin America, and there was an attempt in the new nation of Argentina to use this practice to develop lands seized during the independence movement, something that at the time must have seemed to be old hat.

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