Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VIII.: The same Subject continued. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAP. VIII.: The same Subject continued. - 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:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
The same Subject continued.
WHAT has induced some to think that the Roman lands were entirely usurped by the barbarians, is their finding in the laws of the Visigoths and the Burgundians, that these two nations had two thirds of the lands: but this they took only in certain quarters or districts assigned them.
Gundebald* says in the law of the Burgundians, that his people at their establishment had two-thirds of the lands allowed them; and the second supplement† to this law takes notice, that only a moiety would be allowed to those who should hereafter come to live in that country. Therefore all the lands had not been divided in the beginning between the Roman and the Burgundians.
In those two regulations we meet with the same expressions in the text; consequently they explain one another; and as the latter cannot mean an universal division of lands, neither can this signification be given to the former.
The Franks acted with the same moderation as the Burgundians; they did not strip the Romans wherever they extended their conquests. What would they have done with so much land? They took what suited them, and left the remainder.
[* ]Licèt eo tempore quo populus noster mancipiorum tertiam & duas terrarum partes accepit, &c. Law of the Burgundians, tit. 54. sect. 1.
[† ]Ut non ampliùs a Burgondionibus qui infra venerunt requiratur quàm ad præsens necessitas fuerit, medietas terræ. Art. 11.