- Regional manual of agricultural law, generally dated to the seventh or eighth century, often to the reign of Justinian II (q.v.). Exactly what region (or regions) is described is debated by scholars. Among its 85 laws there are references to vineyards and fig trees, but none to olive trees, which would seem to exclude Greece and Dalmatia (qq.v.) as the region(s) it applied to. Macedonia and inland Thrace (qq.v.) seem more likely candidates, since both regions produce figs but no olives. The laws describe a countryside devoid of large estates, consisting rather of independent villages of free peasants and relatively few slaves, whose labor was divided between the cultivation of crops, vineyards, and gardens, and the raising of livestock. The portrayal of village life is descriptive, but what region does it describe? Without presuming that what is depicted are villages of Slavs (q.v.), the overall picture is of a countryside that emerged from the period of the Slavic invasions.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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