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Medieval Sourcebook:
Codex Justinianus:
Coloni Bound to the Soil, c. 530 [Xl.51.i]

An earlier law had attached coloni to the soil in provinces of the Empire other than Palestine, but the application of the law was extended to that country by Justinian so that there was apparent uniformity in the matter of the colonate throughout the Empire.

Xl.51.i. Since throughout other provinces which lie under the control of our serene majesty, a law has been passed by the fathers which detains the coloni by a certain law of all time, so that they are not allowed to depart from those places, the fruits of which support them, nor to desert those lands which they once took up for cultivation, and since this is not allowed to the land-holders in Palestine, we ordain, that even throughout Palestine no colonus shall altogether of his own right boast himself a freeman or wanderer, but according to the example of other provinces he shall be attached to the lord of the land so that he may not be able to depart without suffering penalties; moreover, we further decree that full authority of recalling him may be given to the lord of the estate.


From: P. Krueger, ed., Codex Justinianus, (Berlin, 1877), p. 989; 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), p. 264.

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