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References to two or three different comitati within one pagus are frequent, as are references to the comitatus of a single comes spreading into more than one pagus.
This observation is fundamental for the process of family reconstruction of early German nobility as it means that counts within a single pagus were not necessarily related to each other.
One result of the infrequency of specifying family relationships in early German sources before the 11th century is the extreme difficulty of judging the extent of hereditary succession in the German counties during this period and, if heredity was the rule, whether it followed an accepted pattern of primogeniture in the male line or whether it was broader.
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.
It must also have provided the incidental advantage for the monarch of fragmenting administration and preventing the centralisation of local power-bases, although it cannot be known with certainty whether this was an intentional policy at the time.
What is clear is that the primary sources reveal that the counties were not always geographically coincident with the pagi.