The history of English land law derives from a mixture of Roman, Norman and modern legislative sources.
Such terms as "fee" or "homage" carry us back into feudal times. Rights of common and distress are based upon still older institutions, forming the very basis of primitive law. The conception of tenure is the fundamental ground of distinction between real and personal estate, the former only being strictly entitled to the name of estate. The division into real and personal is coincident to a great extent with that into immovable and movable, generally used by systems of law founded on the Roman (see Personal Property.) That it is not entirely coincident is due to the influence of the Roman law itself. The Greeks and the Romans of the republic were essentially nations of citizens; the Teutons were essentially a nation of land-folk; the Roman empire bridged the gulf between the two.
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