One reads: 18 This new aristocracy was composed of both Frank and Gallo-Roman elements. We have seen how great Roman families rose in the official hierarchy. But a far larger number, living undisturbed on their ancestral estates, still enjoyed the wealth and social consideration of generations before the conquest . . . . The Frank kings had after the conquest come into possession of great estates which were previously public land . . . .

Land hungry Germans were paid off with deserted and public lands; the Gallo-Romans entered the new nobility as powerful figures in church and state and as entrenched and rich landholders. "Antrustions and courtiers, high officials, along with the possessors of landed wealth, more or less ancient, Roman or Frank, were all forming a new aristocracy." 19

Conquest -- theory and fact. It is proper that the theory of conquest should be discussed here, because the Germanic invasions of western and southern Europe have frequently been used to demonstrate its validity. The theory, in its pure form, reads: 20

. . . warring group exercised conquest over some entire weaker group . . . [the former] would settle down in the territory of the conquered, or in an adjacent territory and live from the proceeds of the labor of the vanquished.

This is supposed to produce, according to North, "a more profound sort of differentiation.." 21

Lester P. Ward states the conquest theory in these words: 22

The slaves of Greece and Rome, the Plebeians of later Rome, the serfs and villains of feudal times, and the laboring and menial classes of all ages have belonged to nobles, lords, and upper classes generally. They represent the conquered races of the world, and had occupied those social positions since long before there was any written history of the countries in which they lived. It is this fact that concealed their true origin for so long and obscured the great ethnic principle that underlies the social classes.

M. Raoul de la Grasserie is quoted, in this connection, as stating that "the serfs and villains of France belonged to the Celtic nation opposed to the Germanic of their lords." 23

Gonnard, a sociologist of note, examined the theory, so popular among the French nobility, that they were of a different race from the roture, and found it wanting. He states: 24

In reality, one is able to affirm that . . . the distinction of classes in France does not correspond at all to a difference of races. In the epoch of the Carolingians . . . Gallo-Romans and Germans were both equally recruited to make up the aristocracy.

Gumplowicz, one of the most vigorous exponents of the race-conquest theory, refers, as does Wundt, to the conquest of England by the Normans and states, or infers, that the new nobility was composed of the conquerors. 25 Later in this chapter it will be shown that this, too, is not historically accurate.

Fahlbeck gives credence to the conquest theory in general and in the particular case at issue: the "establishment of the states in the western Roman world at the time of the migrations of peoples, and later the conquest of England by the Normans." 26

Cooley, under the influence of the conquest theory, altogether ignores the presence of the Gallo-Roman elements. He does, however, concede the existence of higher hereditary status groups among the Germanic tribes, which latter historical fact Sorokin denies. Cooley writes: 27

Thus the conquest of southern Europe by northern tribes led to a period of somewhat confused readjustment, in which men of natural power bettered their status. The classes that emerged were as much the result of competition as derived by inheritance from those of tribal society.

In refuting Ward, Gumplowicz, Fahlbeck, Sorokin, Wundt, Cooley, Westermarck, and the exponents of the Nordic myth, one need only cite accredited historians; they have gone much more thoroughly into detail.

Next Page


18. Dill, op. cit., (7) pp. 223 - 224.
19. Ibid., pp. 225 - 226.
20. Cecil Clare North, Social Differentiation (Chapel Hill, 1926) p. 210.
21. Loc. cit.
22. Lester P. Ward, "Social Classes in the Light of Modern Social Theory," in American Journal of Sociology, vol. XIII (March, 1908) p. 620.
23. North, op. cit., p. 143.
24. René Gonnard, "Quelques considérations sur les classes," in Revue Economique Internationale, 17th year, vol. II, No. 1 (Paris, April 10, 1925) pp. 69 - 70; translation ours.
25. Ludwig Gumplowicz, Der Rassenkampf (Innsbruck, 1883) p. 208. 26. Pontus E. Fahlbeck, Die Klassen und die Gesellschaft (Jena, 1922) p. 47; translation ours.
27. Charles Horton Cooley, Social Organization (New York, 1909) pp. 225 - 226.