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
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
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998