Return of Fugitive Slaves & Coloni, c. 530 [Xl.48.xii.]
To strengthen the laws binding slaves and coloni to the soil precautions were taken
to prevent landlords employing fugitives and to ensure their return.
Xl.48.xii. We ordain that slaves, or tributaries, or inquilini shall remain
with their lords. For, when, dismayed by a fear of Ioss, each landowner begins to drive
away those who are unknown to him, the will to flight will not be with the slaves; for no
one deserts his lord knowing that there is nowhere a refuge for him as a fugitive. But
either each one will employ those known to be free men, or will dismiss him who feigns
freedom, fearing that he will be liable to those punishments which are ordained by the
law. If, therefore, any known fugitive be found anywhere, his detainer shall bring to our
fisc twelve pounds of silver, but we decree that to him whose slave he is he shall bring
another of the same value in addition to that same fugitive.
From: P. Krueger, ed., Codex Justinianus, (Berlin, 1877), p. 983; 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. 264-265.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998