So long as they were fulfilled, he, and his heir after him, held the fief as his property, practically and in relation to all under tenants as if precarium and patrocinium were lacking.
When the government of the state had entered into feudalism, and the king was as much senior as king; when the vassal relationship was recognized as a proper and legal foundation of public duties; when the two separate sides of early feudalism were united as the almost universal rule, so that a man received a fief because he owed a vassal's duties, or looked at in the other and finally prevailing way, that he owed a vassal's duties because he had received a fief; and finally, when the old idea of the temporary character of the precarium tenure was lost sight of, and the right of the vassal's heir to receive his father's holding was recognized as the general rule - then the feudal system may be called full grown.
The employment of the precarium by the Church seems to have been one of the surest means by which this form of landholding was carried over from the Romans to the Frankish period and developed into new forms. It came to be made by degrees the subject of written contract, by which the rights of the holder were more definitely defined and protected than had been the case in Roman law.
As used for protection in later Roman days the precarium gave rise to what was called the commendation of lands, patrocinium fundorum.
Feudalism could not be established, however, until the great of the land had adopted them for themselves, and had begun to enter the clientage of others and to hold lands by the precarium tenure.
That line of descent can be made out with convincing clearness and with no particular difficulty from epoch to epoch, from the precarium and the patrocinium, through the benefice and commendation, to the fief and vassalage.
He forced them to become his dependants in return under a great variety of forms, but especially developing thereby the precarium land tenure and the patrocinium personal service, and organizing a private jurisdiction over his tenants, and a private army for defence.
It could most easily make them useful to gain the influence and support which it needed, and to provide for the public functions which fell to its share, by employing the precarium tenure.
Of necessity the poor man must surrender to his powerful neighbour the ownership of his lands, which he then received back as a precarium - gaining protection during his lifetime.