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The "-gau" suffix, originally applied to the names of local administrative units in Saxony, appears in imperial diplomas from the mid-9th century in relation to pagi in all the German provinces.It is therefore unlikely that it was a purely Saxon term.In the early 10th century, the familiar formula "in pago X in comitatu Y comitis" was standard in the description of property referred to in charters.However, this in itself presents interpretative challenges.Saxony caught up with the trend following the accession of the Saxon dynasty of Ottonian kings of Germany.It is assumed that, during this early period, the award of counties was a reward for fidelity and services rendered to the monarch.A related question is who appointed the counts to their counties.

It is hoped that in a future version of this document, more emphasis will be placed on the evolution of individual pagi and counties in each of the original German provinces.It therefore seems unlikely that property owners would have favoured more remote relations over direct descendants in the transmission of their possessions.The 9th to 11th century imperial families provide ample evidence of patrilineal succession, providing another indication that the same practice may already have been generally accepted among the families of the first-tier of nobility below the king/emperor.The evolution of pagi into counties appears to have accelerated in the late 9th century, although this probably did not occur in all the ancient provinces of Germany at the same pace.As an example, the diplomas of Emperor Arnulf contain numerous references to the "in pago" formula but these mainly refer to southern Germany, reflecting Arnulf's own original power-base in Bavaria.

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