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Feudalism, therefore, by connecting ownership of land with governmental work, went a large way toward solving that ever present difficulty of the land question; not, indeed, by any real system of land nationalization, but by inducing lords to do work for the country in return for the right of possessing landed property.
To explain this reference must be made to a change that passed over the Roman Empire at the beginning of the fourth century.
Several of these might combine to form a "stem", the only bond of which consisted in common religious rites.
The populus , or civitas , on the other hand, was a political unity.
Further, the public land ( ager publicus ) got memorialized by grants partly to free veterans (as at Colchester in England ), partly to laeti, -- a semi-servile class of conquered peoples (as the Germans in England under Marcus Antonius), paying, beside the tributum soli, manual service in kind ( sordida munera ).
Even in the Roman towns, by the same process, the urban landlords ( curiales ) became debased into the manufacturing population ( collegiati ).
Stubbs, "Select Charters", Oxford, 1900, § 4, 101, &60, 304).