Those on the Germanic mark and on the allodium and beneficium) were models of learning and sagacity, all were dominated by his general idea and characterized by a total disregard for the results of such historical disciplines as diplomatic. From this crucible issued an entirely new work, less well arranged than the original, but richer in facts and critical comments.
Beneficium, benefit), a term first applied under the Roman empire to portions of land, the usufruct of which was granted by the emperors to their soldiers or others for life, as a reward or beneficium for past services, and as a retainer for future services.
The term benefice, according to the canon law, implies always an ecclesiastical office, propter quod beneficium datur, but it does not always imply a cure of souls.
This form of induction is required to give the clerk a legal title to his beneficium, although his admission to the office by institution is sufficient to vacate any other benefice which he may already possess.
In order to farm these, the Church and the rich landowners granted back the holdings on the temporary and conditional terms of tenancy-at-will or of the beneficium, thus multiplying endlessly the land subject to their overlordship and the men who were dependent upon them as tenants.
The kings, like private individuals and ecclesiastical establishments, made use of the beneficium to reward their servants; till finally their demesne was so reduced by these perpetual grants that they took to distributing among their champions land owning the overlordship of the Church, or granted their own lands for single lives only.
Thus by means of immunities, of the beneficium nnd of patronage, society gradually organized itself independently of the state, since it required further security.
The practice of giving land as a beneficium to a grantee who swore personal allegiance to the grantor had persisted, and by his capitularies Charlemagne had made these personal engagements, these contracts of immunityhitherto not transferable, nor even for life, but quite conditionalregular, legal, even obligatory and almost indissoluble.
The beneficium was to be as practically irrevocable as the oath of fidelity.
In the storm which ensued the legates were glad to escape with their lives, and the incident at length closed with a letter from the pope, declaring that by beneficium he meant merely bonum factum.