Paroikoi (plural of Greek πάροικος, paroikos, the etymological origin of parish and parochial) is the term that replaced "metic" in the Hellenistic and Roman period to designate foreign residents.[1]

In the Byzantine Empire, paroikoi were non-proprietary peasants, hereditary holders of their land, irremovable as long as they paid their rent.[2] They appeared in the Justinian code, which prohibited this status; so it remained provisionally clandestine.

Paroikoi are comparable to the western concept of serfs and appear to be widespread by the 13th century.[3]


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of ancient Greece By Nigel Guy Wilson Page 470 ISBN 978-0-415-97334-2 (2006)
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Part 114, Volume 1 By Adrian Walford Page 1091
  3. ^ Gregory, Timothy E. (11 January 2010). A History of Byzantium. John Wiley & Sons. p. 425. ISBN 978-1-4051-8471-7. Retrieved 12 November 2021.