Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
VI: Social Evolution in Latin Greece, pp. 175-221 PDF (18.9 MB)
188 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES at the creation of additional exempted fiscal units. For this purpose, peasants could of course have been recruited, as in other cases, among the paroikoi of the state or the eleutheroi, who were temporarily free of tax payments and of subjection to a specific lord. The imperial government was reluctant, however, to grant manpower which it considered as belonging to the state. Instead, it was stipulated that the new fiscal units should be constituted by peasants who were already established on the monasteries' lands. The issue was thus exclusively of a fiscal nature. The status of the descendants of the exempted paroikoi was not at stake, and no change in their status was contemplated: they were paroikoi of the monasteries before the imperial grants were made, and remained so afterwards~ It is already evident by now that the subjection of the paroikos to his lord entailed severe restrictions on his freedom. The lord could prevent him from leaving his land. However, migration did not necessarily sever the link to the lord; subjection was maintained as long as the paroikos paid the customary dues incumbent upon the fiscal unit for which he was responsible. The link of the paroikos to his lord was thus of a personal nature; he was not tied to the soil. Some degree of mobility among the paroikoi is indeed attested. In certain cases, it was due to economic incentives; in others, it was prompted by the urge of the paroikos to find a spouse: the high excess of males in many villages, as well as ecclesiastical prohibition of marriage between relatives, inevitably led to exogamy. It is therefore not surprising that members of the same family appeared occasionally in villages of the same lord or on the estates of neighboring landlords, as well as in a nearby city.2° The economic and fiscal unit or stasis headed by the dependent peasant was liable to taxes known as telos, as well as to labor services or angareia which he owed to the state; they were occasionally transferred by the emperor to an individual or an ecclesiastical institution. As a rule, the stasis included land. An eleventh-century legal decision rendered by the magistros Cosmas specified that land held according to the paroikikon dikaion or "law of the paroikos" belonged to the lord and could not be alienated by the paroikos.2' In practice, however, it was inherited, divided among heirs, or partly granted in dower. It may be assumed that in all these cases the lord did not object and possibly even agreed to the transfer of property, as long as the land was held 20. See Jacoby, "Phénomènes de démographie rurale a Byzance aux XIIIe, XIve et XVe siècles," Etudes rurales, v-vi (1962), 177, 180—181, 184 (reprinted in Jacoby, Société et demographie). 21. Text in Fedor I. Uspenskij, Actes de Vazelon (Leningrad, 1927), pp. xxxv-xxxvi. No such problem arose when land was held under a lease, as legal conditions were then duly specified.
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