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Medieval Sourcebook:
Codex Justinianus:
Application of Patria Potestas to the Coloni, c. 530 [Xl.48.xiii]

Among the steps taken to protect the family of the colonus was the passing of a law upholding, according to Roman ideas, paternal authority. But in the event of a transfer, which was only permitted in certain cases, of coloni from one estate to another the family might be broken up.

Xl.48.xiii. We define that, among inquilini and coloni, to vindicate the birth of whom it pertains as much to the one as to the other, and the condition appears to be the same without distinction, although there be discrimination in name, adopted children shall recognize paternal authority whether both or neither parent be enrolled in the census. It must also be observed that, if (when the same lord of two estates transfers, to that which is hard-pressed, coloni from a possession well supplied with cultivators) the same estates should pass under the jurisdiction of different lords by any chance, the transfer made shall remain an accomplished fact, but in such a way that the lord of that estate, from which the coloni are proved to have been transferred, may recover the male children of those transferred.


From: P. Krueger, ed., Codex Justinianus, (Berlin, 1877), p. 984; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 267-268.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, October 1998