Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/247

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ing commerce by port dues and by tariffs on exports and imports, thus securing their ready money from that merchant class upon which the future monarchies of western Europe were to build. The income from Palermo alone was said to be greater than that which the king of England derived from his whole kingdom.

It is evident, even from this brief outline, that the Sicilian state was not only a skilful blending of political elements of diverse origin, but also that it stood well in advance of its contemporaries in all that goes to make a modern type of government. Its kings legislated at a time when lawmaking was rare; they had a large income in money when other sovereigns lived from feudal dues and the produce of their domains; they had a well established bureaucracy when elsewhere both central and local government had been completely feudalized; they had a splendid capital when other courts were still ambulatory. Its only rival in these respects, the Anglo-Norman kingdom of the north, was inferior in financial resources and had made far less advance in the development of the class of trained officials through whom the progress of European administration was to be realized. Judged by these tests, it is not too much to call the kingdom of Roger and his successors the first modern state, just as Roger's non-feudal policy, far-sightedness, and diplomatic skill have sometimes won for him the title of the first modern king. This designation, I am well aware, has more commonly been reserved for the