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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/455

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POLITICAL DIFFERENTIATION.

tom to reward his leading soldiers by grants of land. Early Egyptian kings "bestowed on distinguished military officers" portions of the crown domains. When the barbarians were enrolled as Roman soldiers, "they were paid also by assignments of land according to a custom which prevailed in the imperial armies. The possession of these lands was given to them on condition of the son becoming a soldier like his father." And that kindred usages were general throughout the feudal period is a familiar truth: feudal tenancy being, indeed, thus constituted, and inability to bear arms being a reason for excluding women from succession. To exemplify the nature of the relation established, it will suffice to name the facts that "William the Conqueror. . . distributed this kingdom into about sixty thousand parcels, of nearly equal value, from each of which the service of a soldier was due," and that one of his laws requires all owners of land to "swear that they become vassals or tenants," and will "defend their lord's territories and title as well as his person" by "knight service on horseback."

That this original relation between land-owning and militancy long survived, we are shown by the armorial bearings of county families, as well as by their portraits of ancestors who are mostly represented in military costume.

 

Setting out with the class of warriors, or men bearing arms, who in primitive communities are owners of the land, collectively or individually, or partly one and partly the other, there arises the question, How does this class differentiate into nobles and freemen?

The most general reply is, of course, that since the state of homogeneity is by necessity unstable, time inevitably brings about inequality of positions among those whose positions were at first equal. Before the semi-civilized state is reached the differentiation can not become decided, because there can be no large accumulations of wealth, and because the laws of descent do not favor maintenance of such accumulations as are possible. But in the pastoral and still more in the agricultural community, especially where descent through males has been established, several causes of differentiation come into play. There is first that of unlikeness of kinship to the head-man. Obviously, in course of generations, the younger descendants of the younger become more and more remotely related to the eldest descendant of the eldest, and social inferiority arises: as the obligation to execute blood-revenge for a murdered member of the family does not extend beyond a certain degree of relationship (in ancient France not beyond the seventh), so neither does the accompanying distinction. From the same cause comes inferiority in point of possessions. Inheritance by the eldest male from generation to generation brings about the result that those who are the most distantly connected in blood with the head of the group are also the poorest. And then there coöperates