This is one of several translated excerpts from Byzantine sources produced and mounted with historical introduction and commentary by Paul Stephenson.


The Greek text and a full English translation with notes can be found in: E. H. Freshfield, Roman law in the later Roman empire. Byzantine guils, professional and commercial. Ordinances of Leo VI c. 895 from the Book of the Eparch (Cambridge, 1938).
 
 

BOOK OF THE EPARCH

Regulations concerning food and hardware
 

Grocers

 § i. Grocers may keep their shops throughout the city as well in the squares as in the streets, so that the necessaries of life may be easily procurable.

 They shall sell: meat, salt fish, meal, cheese, honey, olive oil, vegetables of all kinds, butter, dry and liquid resin, cedar oil, camphor,
linseed oil, gypsum, bowls, vessels, etc. nails, bottles

 in fact every article which can be sold by steelyards and not by scales. They are forbidden to sell any article which comes within the trades of perfumers, soap-chandlers, linen-drapers, taverners or butchers. Any contravention is punished by flogging, shaving, and exile.

 § 2. Any grocer who has weights or measures which do not bear the seal of the eparch or who files the coinage (i.e. sweats), or refuses to take a tetarteron, bearing for authenticity the effigy of the sovereign, shall be flogged, shaved and exiled.

 § 3. Every grocer convicted of fraud in completing a sale or who raises the agreed price, shall pay a fine of ten nomismata. Anyone exposing his wares for sale on a Sunday or a feast day shall be liable to the same penalty.

 § 4. Grocers are to watch over the special commodities of their trade imported from abroad so that anyone, whether or not a member of the guild, who hoards against a time of scarcity may be denounced to the eparch and punished by him.'

 § 5. Grocers shall sell their wares and make a profit of two miliaresia per nomisma. If their measures show that they have exacted a greater profit they shall be flogged, shaved and cease to trade as grocers.

 § 6. Any grocer who openly or secretly tries to raise the rent of another grocer shall be liable to the aforesaid penalty.
 
 

Bakers

 § 1. Bakers shall sell bread by weight fixed according to the price of corn as ordered by the
ing to the price of corn as ordered by the eparch.
They are to buy corn in the warehouse of the assessor (0" 7TOV013) by quantities corresponding to the amount upon which the tax of one gold nomisma is payable; and after grinding it and making it into fermented bread they shall calculate their remuneration at the rate of one keration plus two miliaresia per gold nomisma, the keration for the net profit, and two miliaresia for paying the hands and the animals employed in grinding the grain as well as the cost of firing and lighting.

 § 2. Bakers are never to be liable to be called upon for any public service, neither themselves nor their animals, to prevent any hindrance to baking bread.

 § 3. Bakers must not have their ovens under any dwelling house; and this rule is made because of the inflammable character of the materials used. Moreover, private persons shall not keep their stores of kindling wood and rushes otherwise than in open places or in buildings built of large stones, so as to prevent the risk of conflagrations in the city owing to the inflammable character of the materials.

 § 4. Bakers are to go to the eparch whenever the price of wheat rises or falls so that with the help of the symponos the weight of bread may be regulated according to the cost of the wheat.

 § 5. Let this important decree obtain universally. Persons who contravene the following rules shall from this day forward, upon conviction before the eparch of contravention, be flogged, shaved, and perambulated through the city, and then exiled in perpetuity. Any person attempting to raise the rent of a bakery. Anyone coveting the wares of another trader who tries to reduce the price thereof below the tariff value to get them at a cheaper rate.
 

May 2002; revised January 2012