Lordship in France, 500-1500 presents a new interpretation of lordship in medieval France based on recent, ground-breaking research on the Merovingian, Carolingian and Capetian eras of lordship in medieval France. In the standard interpretation, lordship emerged around the year 1000, when landed magnates and armed adventurers usurped public authority from the collapsing Carolingian state. This book argues instead that lordship emerged roughly 500 hundred years earlier with the disintegration of the Roman Empire. Politically and socially, lordship expressed the collegial ruling authority of kings and aristocrats, not the usurped public authority of a failed centralized state. Institutionally, lordship was essentially a fiscal apparatus that perpetuated remnants of the late Roman tax system.