…Town notables, as town autonomy vanished, found they had become subordinate implements of the imperial bureaucracy, and the life went out of their public functions, which grew every decade more disagreeable, more profitless and more oppressive. They had to be driven to their unwelcome tasks and burdens, which brought no real honor and gratified no ambition. Like beasts at the water-wheel, they plodded a dreary round to haul up the taxes needed by their rulers….
Previté-Orton, C. W.. The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. Print