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Feudalism

Uploaded by litlmutt on Apr 05, 2001

Essay: Explain the reasons and process of Feudalism.


Feudalism came to as a government containing kings, vassals, knights, lords, lesser lords, and peasants. Feudalism is a loosely organized system of rule in which powerful local lords divided their lands among lesser lords in exchange for military services and pledged loyalty. It came to as a need for control over peasants and protection from the Muslims and the Magyars.

The relationship between lords and vassals was established by customs and traditions. A lord granted his vassal fief or land, which ranged from a few hundred acres to a square mile in which it included peasants to work the land. The vassal pledged loyalty and military service to his lord. Besides granting an estate, Lords also promised to protect their vassals in return vassals pledged 40 days military service each year and certain money payments in advance each year.

Everyone had a place in a feudal society. Below the Monarchs were the most powerful lords-Dukes and Counts- who held the largest fiefs. Each of these lords had vassals in turn they had their own vassals. Sometimes a lord was also a vassal to a more powerful lord but had less powerful ones below him. Because vassals often held fiefs from more than one lord feudal relationships grew very complex. A vassal who pledged loyalty to several lords could have serious problems if his lords quarreled with one and other.

The manor was the heart of a lord’s estate. On this land the peasants worked to farm crops. Most manors included more than one village. Most peasants who worked the manor were serfs, who were bound to the land. Serfs were not slave but were not free. They could not leave the manor without the lord’s permission and if the manor was granted to a new lord the serfs went with it.

Mutual rights and responsibilities tied peasants and their lords together. Peasants had to work seven days a week farming the lord’s domain. They also repaired roadways, bridges and fences. And when peasants married they paid their lord. Since money had largely disappeared from medieval Europe, the lord was paid in eggs and in chickens.

Peasants went to church weekly and attended prayer. Beside this peasants lead mostly simple lives.

Feudalism was a government that tried to treat each separate relationship between lords and vassals as their own country governing themselves. Although it was popular and widely used...

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Uploaded by:   litlmutt

Date:   04/05/2001

Category:   European History

Length:   2 pages (403 words)

Views:   2597

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