The Ancient Library

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should go to the owner of the mother. If a man lived for thirty years as a Colonus, he became the C bnus of the owner of the land on which he lived ; and though he was still free, he could not leave the land: and a man who had pos­sessed for thirty years a colonus belonging to another, could defend himself against the claims of the former owner by the, Praescriptio triginta an-norum. A constitution of Valentinian III. de­clared how free persons might become Coloni by agreement; and though there is neither this nor any similar regulation in the Code of Justinian, there is a passage which apparently recognizes that persons might become Coloni by such agree­ment. (Cod. xi. tit. 47. s. 22.)

The Coloni were not slaves, though their con­dition in certain respects was assimilated to that of slaves ; a circumstance which will explain their being called servi terrae, and sometimes being .con­trasted with liberi. They had, however, eonnu-bium, which alone is a characteristic that dis­tinguishes them clearly from slaves. (Cod. xi. tit. 47. s. 24.) But, like slaves, they were liable to corporal punishment, and they had no right of action against their master, whose relation to them was expressed by the term Patronus. (Cod. Theocl. v. tit. 11.) The colonus \vas attached to the soil, and he >could not be permanently separated from it by his own act, or ~by that of his patronus, or by the consent of the two. The patronus could sell the estate with the coloni, but neither of them without the, other. (Cod. xi. tit. 47. s. 2. 7.) He could, however, transfer superabundant coloni from one to another of his own estates. When an estate held in common was divided, married persons and relations were not to be separated. The ground of there being no legal power of separating the coloni and the estate was the opinion that such an arrangement was favourable to agriculture, and there were also financial reasons for this rule of law, as will pre­sently appear. The only case in which the colonus could be separated from the land was that of his becoming a soldier, which must be considered to be done with the patron's consent, as the 'burden of recruiting the army was imposed on him, and in this instance the state dispensed with a 'general rule for reasons of public convenience.

The colonus paid a certain yearly rent'for the land on which he lived: the amount was fixed by custom and could not be raised ; but as the land­owner might attempt to raise it, the colonus had in such cass for Ms protection a right of action against him, which was an exception to the gene­ral rule above -stated. (Cod. xi. tit. 47. s. 5.) There were, 'however, cases in which the rent was fixed by agreement.

A further analogy between the condition of Servi and Coloni appears from the fact of the pro­perty of Coloni being called their Peculium. It is however, distinctly stated that they could hold pro­perty (Cod. Theod. v. tit. 11) ; and the expressions which declare that they eouid ha/ve nothing " pro-pria " (<5od. xi. tit. 49. s. 2) seem merely to de­clare that it was not propria in the sense of their Jiaving -power to alienate it, at least without the consent of their patroni. it appears that a co-Jonus could. make a will, and that if he made Hone, his property went to his next of kin ; fer if ja bishop, presbyter, deacon, &«., died intestate <and without kin, his property went to the church


or convent to which he belonged, except such as he had as a colonus, which went to his patronus, who with respect to his ownership of the land is called Dominus possessions. (Cod. Theod. v. tit. 3.) Some classes of Coloni had a power of alienating their property. (Cod. xi. tit. 47. s. 23.)

The land-tax due in respect of the land occupied by the colonus was paid by the dominus ; but the coloni were liable to the payment of the poll-tax, though it was paid in the first instance by the dominus who recovered it from the colonus. The liability of the colonus to a poll-tax explains why this class of persons was so important to the state, and why their condition could not be changed without the consent of the state. It was only when the colonus had lived as a free man for thirty years that he could maintain his freedom by a praescriptio, but Justinian abolished this prae-seriptio, and thus empowered the dominus to assert his right after any lapse .of time. (Cod. xi. tit. 47. s. 23.) With respect to their liability to the poll-tax, the coloni were called tributarily eensiti or eensibus obnoocii, adscriptitii* adscriptitiae eonditionis^ and eensibus adscripti. This term adscripjio ap­pears to have no reference to their being attached-to the land, .but it refers to their liability to the poll-tax as being rated in the tax-books, and ac­cordingly we find that the Greek term for Ad-scriptitius is 'JZvaTr6-ypa.(pos.

As the Coloni were not servi, and as the class of Latini and peregrini hardly existed in the later ages of the Empire, we must consider the Coloni to have had the .Civitas, such as it then was ; and it is a consequence of this that they had connubium generally. A Constitution of Justinian, however (Nov. 22. c. 17), declared the marriage of a colonus, who belonged to another p3rson, and a free woman to be void. The Constitution does not seem to mean any thing else than that in this ease the Emperor took away the •Connubium, whether for the reasons stated by Savigny, or for other reasons, is immaterial. This special exception, however, proves the general rule as to Connubium.

The origin of these Coloni is uncertain. They appear to be referred to in one passage of the Digest (Big. 30. s. 112), under the name of In-quilinus, a term which certainly was sometimes applied to the whole class of Coloni. The passage states, that if a man bequeaths, as a legacy, the inquilini without the praedia to which they adhere (sine praediis quibus adhaerent}, it is a void legacy. Savigny conceives that this passage may be ex­plained without considering it to refer to the Coloni of whom we are speaking ; but the ex­planation that he suggests, s ems a very forced on \ and the same remark applies to his explanation of another passage ia the Digest (50. tit. 15. s. 4). The condition of the old Clients se,?ms to bear some relation to that of the Coloni, but all historical traces of one class growing out of the other are entirely wanting.

Savigny observes that he does not perceive any historical connection between the villeins (villani) of modern Europe and the Coloni, though there is a strong resemblance between their respective con­ditions. Th.Te were, however, many important distinctions ; for instance, the villein services dua to the lord had nothing corresponding .to them in the case of the Coloni, so far as we know. Some modern writers would hastily infer • au historical connection of institutions whieh happen to have

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