Definition of Farmer's law
With the exception of a few cities, and especially Constantinople, where other types of urban economic activities were also developed, Byzantine society remained at its heart agricultural. An important source regarding law, which reflects in a particularly characteristic way the internal life of the Byzantine villages during the Middle Byzantine Era (7th - end of 12th century) is the "Farmer's Law". Due to its importance, the "Farmer's Law" roused the interest of researchers from a very early stage. Ever since it has been one of the most discussed texts concerning the internal history of Byzantium.
It is a private collection, continuously enriched, and refers to specific cases relevant to rural property within the framework of the Byzantine rural "community". As evident by the dispositions of the "Law", peasants were organized in "communities" and collectivelly responsible for the payment of the total tax the "community" was liable for, being obliged to pay as well the amounts corresponding to indebted members of the community. As for the chronology of its writing, since the text itself bears no specific date, it is placed somewhere in between the second half of the 6th century and the middle of the 14th. Very early on, it was acknowledged as a legal handbook of great importance and greatly influenced much of the law of the Slavic countries and especially Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia and Romania.
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