Provincial governors as suzerains over the lands committed to their charge.
The bishops and abbots, by confiding their domains to laymen on condition of assistance with the sword in case of need, became temporal lords and suzerains with vassals to fight for them, with courts of justice, and in short with all the rights and privileges exercised by lay lords.
Thus in various ways ecclesiastical benefices were gradually transformed into fiefs, and lay suzerains claimed the same rights over ecclesiastics as over other vassals from whom they received homage, and whom they invested with lands.
From the time that the Milesians of Tara had come to be recognized as suzerains of the whole island all political development ceases.
They carried on a perpetual war with the native tribes, and in this were supported by their Roman suzerains, who even lent the assistance of garrison and fleet.