Serfs and slaves were important economic and social components of Medieval Europe and the Latin East, but their respective legal conditions differed significantly. Slaves were property. They could be born into this condition, enslaved (if captured in war or piracy) and then sold, and could be sold into slavery by their parents, although canon law allowed this only in instances of dire necessity. Slaves could be bought and sold, granted, pledged as a security and manumitted, with or without conditions attached. They could also possess some personal property. Legally this belonged to their owners, but in practice slaves could use it to purchase their freedom. Serfs, on the other hand, were not property but individuals whose freedom was limited. They had labour obligations towards their lords, whose estates they lived and worked on. They were also required to render these lords a share of their annual harvest. The extent of these obligations varied in space and time. On fifteenth-century Cyprus, Hospitaller serfs owed labour several days a week and additional labour services on the Order’s estates. Furthermore, they had to pay one third of their harvest and one tenth of their livestock on the land the Order granted them for their own use and could not leave the land without permission. Their marriages were regulated, and on their death a portion of their livestock reverted to the Order. The Hospitaller serfs on Rhodes lived under similar conditions. 1