If in a clan,
which numbered about 80,000 men capable of arms, a single noble
could appear at the diet with 10,000 retainers, not reckoning
the bondmen and the debtors, it is clear that such an one
was more an independent dynast than a burgess of his clan. Moreover,
the leading families of the different clans were closely connected
and through intermarriages and special treaties formed virtually
a compact league, in presence of which the single clan was powerless.
Therefore the communities were no longer able to maintain
the public peace, and the law of the strong arm reigned throughout.
The dependent found protection only from his master, whom duty
and interest compelled to redress the injury inflicted on his client;
the state had no longer the power to protect those who were free,
and consequently these gave themselves over in numbers to some
powerful man as clients.