80 research outputs found

    Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers? Byzantine Shipwreck and Salvage in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries

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    Travelling by sea in the medieval Mediterranean was associated with many risks and dangers. Journeys were long, heavy storms or pirates lurked and in a worst-case scenario the ship was wrecked. A shipwreck could give rise to disputes and conflicts amongst various parties. The Byzantine legislator had to deal with these conflicts. What happened to the goods of the wrecked ship? Who was considered owner of these goods? How was the situation complicated when the ship was of foreign origin and what role did customs play in resolving these issues? In this paper I will attempt to highlight shipwreck and salvage questions in Byzantine legislation and practice. Aside from the traditional Byzantine legal sources, examples from treaties between Byzantium and the Italian city-republics will be examined from the eleventh and twelfth centuries

    The Role of Slaves in the Byzantine Economy, 10th–11th Centuries:Legal Aspects

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    In Byzantine law, as in Roman law, slaves were used to expand the economic activities of their owners. Slaves had no legal capacity, which is why legal constructions were used to allow them to take part in economic activities. The aim of this chapter is to highlight some of the legal aspects regarding the role of slaves in economic activity in Byzantium, particularly in 10th-century Constantinople. The starting point is the Book of the Eparch, a celebrated legal source providing information on the use of artisan slaves. References are also made to other legal works from the Macedonian period, the Prochiron, the Eisagoge, and the Basilica, as well as other later and lesser-known works. Finally, a relevant Novel of Leo VI the Wise is examined in relation to Christian influences

    The Eleventh-Century Byzantine Jurist Nicaeus:His Scholia on the Basilica Laws and his Connection to the Meditatio de nudis

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    Nicaeus belongs to the generation of the ‘new’ Basilica scholiasts. There are eighty-five scholia linked to his name. Most of his scholia have been preserved in the codex Parisinus graecus 1348, which dates to the thirteenth century. A few scholia have been preserved in the codex Coislinianus graecus 152 (second half of the twelfth century) and the codex Parisinus graecus 1350 (twelfth century). Nicaeus has commented on different books of the Basilica, but the majority of his scholia deal with the law of procedure. The majority of his scholia are brief. Nicaeus has, on the whole, an accurate and unadorned way of explaining the law. After comparing his style with that of another ‘new’ Basilica scholiast, Hagiotheodorites, my impression is that the latter has a more vivid approach to explaining the material and more originality in his thoughts. However, Nicaeus makes a broader use of the legal writings from the time of Justinian than Hagiotheodorites does. Nicaeus uses antecessorian methods, such as thematismoi (hypothetical cases) and often tries to harmonize apparent contradictions. Yet, he is not so keen on the use of the erotapokriseis, the form of a question and an answer, which characterizes the writings of the antecessors. Based on this observation and other internal characteristics of his scholia and a comparison of their style to that of the treatise about mere agreements [Μελέτη περὶ ψιλῶν συμφώνων, or Meditatio de nudis pactis], I conclude -contrary to scholars in the past- that Nicaeus was probably not the author of this treatise