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In the early feudal times grants were made to continue only during the pleasure of the grantor which were called munera, but soon afterwards these grants were made for life, and then they assumed the name of beneficia. Pomponius Laetus says, 'That it was an ancient custom, revived by the emperor Constantine, to give lands and villas to those generals, prefects, and tribunes, who had grown old in enlarging the empire, to supply their necessities as long as they lived, which they called. parochial parishes, etc.' But, between (feuda) fiefs or feuds, and (parochias) parishes, there was this difference that the latter were given to old men, veterans, etc., who, as they had deserved well of the republic, sustained the rest of their life (publico beneficio) by the public benefaction; or, if any war afterwards arose, they were called out, not so much as soldiers, as leaders, (majistri militum.) Feuds, (feuda,) on the other hand, were usually given to robust young men who could sustain the labors of war.
In later times, the word parochia was appropriated exclusively to ecclesiastical persons, while the word beneficium (militare) continued to be used in reference to military fiefs or fees.