A hereditary tenant farmer whose status differed little from that of a slave. Though technically free and with some legal rights (e.g., they could not be ejected from their land), they were bound to the soil in perpetuity. Their freedom to marry was restricted, and they could not join the army. The origin of the colonus lies in the unsettled conditions of the second half of the third century. It was then that many free peasants sought the protection of wealthy landowners to whom they transferred the ownership of their land in return for physical protection and payment of their taxes. The state seems to have worked with magnates to make this informal process a legal one that made the coloni chattel who were tied to their land, all in the interest of securing a stable base of agricultural workers. Coloni were a fact of agricultural life throughout the empire from the fourth through the sixth centuries, their conditions varying from province to province. In the East, coloni disappear after the sixth century. In the West, the coloni became the serfs of the Middle Ages.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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  • Colōnus — (v. lat.), so v. w. Colonist …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Colōnus — (lat.), in der Sprache der Quellen des römischen Rechts: 1) der Pächter; C. partiarius, der Pächter, der als Pachtzins einen Teil der Früchte dem Verpachter gibt. 2) Der halbfreie Grundhold der römischen Kaiserzeit, der glebae adscriptus (an die… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Colonus — Colōnus (lat.), Landbauer, Kolone (s. Kolonat) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Colonus — For a type of tenant farmer of the late Roman Empire, see Colonus (person). Colonus Κολωνός   Neighborhood   …   Wikipedia

  • Colonus, S. — S. Colonus, C. (1. Dee.). Vom Lat. = Landwirth, Bauer etc. – Dieser hl. Colonus war ein Bekenner des Glaubens im Gebiete von Agen (Aginnum) in Aquitanien. (El.) …   Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon

  • colonus — /keuh loh neuhs/, n., pl. coloni / nuy, nee/. a serf in the latter period of the Roman Empire or in the early feudal period. [1885 90; < L colonus inhabitant of a colony, tenant farmer, farmer, deriv. of colere to inhabit, till, cultivate; cf.… …   Universalium

  • colonus — co•lo•nus [[t]kəˈloʊ nəs[/t]] n. pl. ni ( nī, nē). anh a serf or tenant farmer in the later Roman Empire or early feudal period • Etymology: 1885–90; < L colōnus inhabitant of a colony, tenant farmer, farmer, der. of colere to inhabit,… …   From formal English to slang

  • COLONUS Christophorus — novi Orbis inventor, vide infra Columbus …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Colonus (person) — A colonus was a type of Roman peasant farmer, a serf. This designation was carried into the Medieval period for much of Europe. Coloni worked on large Roman estates called latifundia and could never leave. Latifundia raised sheep and other types… …   Wikipedia

  • colonus — noun (plural coloni) Etymology: Latin, literally, farmer Date: 1857 a free born serf in the later Roman Empire who could sometimes own property but who was bound to the land and obliged to pay a rent usually in produce …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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