Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. II.: Of the Source of feudal Laws. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAP. II.: Of the Source of feudal Laws. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Of the Source of feudal Laws.
THE conquerors of the Roman empire came from Germany. Though few ancient authors have described their manners, yet we have two of very great weight. Cæsar making war against the Germans, describes the manners† of that nation; and upon these he regulated‡ some of his enterprises. A few pages of Cæsar upon this subject are equal to whole volumes.
Tacitus has written an entire work on the manners of the Germans. This work is short, but it comes from the pen of Tacitus, who was always concise, because he saw every thing at one glance.
These two authors agree so perfectly with the codes still extant of the laws of the barbarians, that reading Cæsar and Tacitus, we imagine we are perusing these codes, and perusing these codes, we fancy we are reading Cæsar and Tacitus.
But if in this research into the feudal laws, I should find myself entangled and lost in a dark labyrinth, I fancy I have the clue in my hand, and that I shall be able to find my way through.
[† ]Book 6.
[‡ ]For instance, his retreat from Germany. Ibid.