T h e commercial vitality of the Middle Ages appears the more remarkable in view of the difficulties which confronted the movement of people and things during this period. Nothing could have been worse than the condition of the roads from the ninth century. All that remained of the admirable network of Roman roads now finally disappeared. Yet not only were the tolls by which they should have been kept up still in existence, but numbers of new ones had been created, all alike being known by the ancient name of teloneum, or market-toll. But these were only unprofitable and vexatious survivals of a tax which had been completely diverted from its original public purpose. The tonlieu of the Middle Ages, usurped by the territorial princes, became simply a fiscal imposition which was a cruel burden on transit. Not a single farthing of it was set aside for road-mending or for the rebuilding of bridges.