By Henry Sumner, Sir Maine
Advent through J. H. MORGAN
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Extra info for Ancient Law: Its Connection to the History of Early Society
Yet these two theories, which long divided the reflecting politicians of England into hostile camps, resemble each other strictly in their fundamental assumption of a non-historic, unverifiable, condition of the race. Their authors differed as to the characteristics of the prae-social state, and as to the nature of the abnormal action by which men lifted themselves out of it into that social organisation with which alone we are acquainted, but they agreed in thinking that a great chasm separated man in his primitive condition from man in society, and this notion we cannot doubt that they borrowed, consciously or unconsciously, from the Romans.
The theory of International Law assumes that commonwealths are, relatively to each other, in a state of nature; but the component atoms of a natural society must, by the fundamental assumption, be insulated and independent of each other. If there be a higher power connecting them, however slightly and occasionally by the claim of common supremacy, the very conception of a common superior introduces the notion of positive law, and excludes the idea of a law natural. It follows, therefore, that if the universal suzerainty of an Imperial head had been admitted even in bare theory, the labours of Grotius would have been idle.
They appear to have retained the traditions which they brought with them from the forest and the steppe, and to have still been in their own view a patriarchal society a nomad horde, merely encamped for the time upon the soil which afforded them sustenance. Part of Transalpine Gaul, with part of Germany, had now become the country de facto occupied by the Franks -- it was France; but the Merovingian line of chieftains, the descendants of Clovis, were not Kings of France, they were Kings of the Franks.