Montesquieu

It is not true that the Franks, on ente­ring Gaul, occu­pied all of its lands to make fiefs of them. Some have thought so, because they have seen that toward the end of the second dynasty almost all the lands had become fiefs, sub-fiefs, or depen­den­cies of one or the other : but that had par­ti­cu­lar cau­ses which we shall explain in what fol­lows.

The conse­quence they would draw from it, that the bar­ba­rians made a gene­ral rule to esta­blish vil­lei­nage eve­ryw­here, is not less false than the prin­ci­ple. If, in a time when fiefs were remo­va­ble, all the lands of the realm had been fiefs or depen­den­cies of fiefs, and all the men of the realm vas­sals or serfs in their depen­dency, inas­much he who has the pro­perty also always has the autho­rity, the king who had conti­nually dis­pen­sed fiefs, in other words the sole pro­perty, would have had an autho­rity as arbi­trary as the sul­tan’s in Turkey, which upends all of his­tory.