Pope Gregory the Great:
Standard Prices for Grain, c. 600
We have learned that the serfs of the Church are grievously burdened in the matter of
prices of grain, so that the purchase price fixed for them is not observed in time of
plenty. And it is our desire that the standard purchase price be observed in their regard
at all times according to the official prices, whether the harvest be great or small.
Moreover, we desire by all means that the grain lost by shipwreck be accredited; yet so
that there be no negligence on your part in the matter of shipping the grain, lest the
loss arise from your failure to take advantage of a suitable time for shipping. Moreover,
we have thought it very unfair and unjust that anything should be taken from the serfs of
the Church in the matter of the sctiers, or that they should be compelled to give a
greater muid than
that which is brought into the granaries of the Church. Hence by these presents we
command that never more than eighteen setiers be taken from the serfs of the Church for a
muid of grain. Unless, perchance, there be something which the sailors are accustomed to
receive over and above, because of the shrinkage in the shipping of the grain, as they
From: J. P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1849), Vol. LXXVII, p.
498, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval
Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York:
Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 127-128.
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