Puzzler: The Farmer’s Field (May 2012)


Here’s a common problem facing most Agricultural based communities: who inheirits what, and how does one parcel it fairly?

Here we have a farmer in Ancient Rome, with generous land holdings in a square plot. Our ancient Latin Agrarian has four sons: Agrippa, Ballius, Calix, and Donatus. The Farmer has built four Villas for his sons in a straight line, indicated by the capital letters. He has parceled his land to roughly give each son a corner of the plot to start with (indicated by the lower case letters), and the only other stipulations of the will being the land must be exactly one quarter of the entire plot going to each son and each son will also inheirit a villa to live in (e.g., the Villa must be on the final plot). So, the challenge is: how do you parcel the Farmer’s Field to meet the stipulations of the will?

How do we parcel the land out fairly for each Roman Son?

The Farmer prayed and sacrificed at the Temple of Saturn, the Roman god of Agriculture, and inspiration hit him that evening. Can you parcel this land fairly, too?

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