ABSTRACT

In the Byzantine Empire as in the Muslim states, there existed a clear division between private, essentially individual, property, and state property. In the Byzantine Empire as in the Muslim states, state domain had been reduced on the eve of the Turkish conquest because of grants made under forms resembling in practice gifts of property, while in private property large holdings had developed at the expense of small estates and of the free peasantry. Nevertheless, to avoid frequent misinterpretation, the distinction must be borne in mind between agricultural estates, almost always individually held, and the pastoral areas, unexploited or collectively used without individual tenure, on the one hand; and on the other hand the genuine domain of the state and its rights over private property, this latter category including the personal wealth of the sovereign. It must finally be borne in mind that, in fiscal matters, classical Islamic law contrasts territory subject to the land tax (kharaj) with that paying only tithe; the first being land which at the time of the Arab Muslim conquest belonged to native owners left in possession, the second being land which was henceforward Muslim, to which were assimilated in practice the qatai (s. qaficd) assigned to individuals from those parts of the public domain which were not retained for direct management by the state.