The beneficium was to be as practically irrevocable as the oath of fidelity.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.