This paper examines Justinian's Novel 130 and associated documents with a view to elucidating aspects of military food supply in the sixth century, particularly from the perspective of interaction between military institutions and civilian communities. Issued in 545, this enactment specifies comprehensive procedural regulations for provisioning troops in transit within the empire, principally by means of compulsory purchase (coemptio), recognizing that such transient circumstances posed peculiar challenges of control, scrutiny, documentation, and accountability. Assessment of procedures, personnel, and implementation, in light of the recent legislative background and operational practicalities, reveals remedial innovations designed to protect rural taxpayers and food-producers from loss, damage, and intimidation but also to safeguard soldiers against exploitation and corruption. Investigation of historical contexts—fiscal, military, and agrarian—in the early to mid–540s finds general and specific motives for government intervention in this sphere, while the fragmentary epigraphic record preserves imperial responses to appeals by agricultural communities in Asia Minor afflicted by the passage of soldiers in the 520s or 530s, illustrating processes of complaint and redress, and, more generally, modes of communication between periphery and center. Ultimately, principles and practices prescribed in Novel 130, even if products of a specific time and place, exercised enduring legislative force, inasmuch as military logistical arrangements of the Middle Byzantine period have a discernible Justinianic pedigree.


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pp. 380-421
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