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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.

In: Slavery in the Black Sea Region, c.900–1900