Montesquieu

It is less dan­ge­rous to arm sla­ves in a monar­chy than in repu­blics. There, a war­like peo­ple and a body of nobi­lity will ade­qua­tely contain those armed sla­ves. In the repu­blic, men who are merely citi­zens will be quite una­ble to contain men who, with arms in hand, will find them­sel­ves the equals of citi­zens.

The Goths who conque­red Spain spread throu­ghout the coun­try, and soon found them­sel­ves very weak. They enac­ted three consi­de­ra­ble ordi­nan­ces : they abo­li­shed the for­mer cus­tom for­bid­ding them to ally by mar­riage with Romans1 ; they decreed that eve­ryone exempt from taxa­tion would go to war, on pain of ensla­ve­ment2 ; and they orde­red that every Goth would lead into war and arm the tenth part of his sla­ves.3 This was not a very great num­ber in com­pa­ri­son with those who remai­ned. Moreover, these sla­ves led into war by their mas­ter did not cons­ti­tute a sepa­rate corps : they were in the army, and remai­ned, so to speak, in the family.

Lex Visigothorum, book III, tit. 1, §1.

Ibid., book V, tit. 7, §20.

Ibid., book IX, tit. 2, §9.