Feudalism 2 Essay, Research Paper
Feudalism was a system of living in Western Europe. It started during the years 900 and 1000. Here is a brief description of feudal Europe. After Charlemagne s empire, Europe was again divided into many kingdoms. Most of the kings had little control of their kingdoms. As a result, hundreds of vassals-with such titles as prince, baron, or duke- became independent rulers of their own fiefs. These noblemen ruled their fiefs through a form of government called feudalism.
Under feudalism, the nobleman who controlled the land also had a political, judicial, economic, and military power. Each nobleman collected taxes and fines, acted as judge in legal disputes and maintained an army knight with his own territory. He also supervised the farming of the manors on his fief. The fief holders were the ruling class in Europe for more than 400 years.
A typical member of the ruling class under the feudalism system was a nobleman, a knight, a vassal, and a lord and all at the same time. He was a nobleman because he was born into the noble class. He became a knight when he decided to spend his life as a professional warrior. He became a vassal when he promised to serve the king or other important person in return for a fief. Finally, he became a lord when he gave part of his own land to persons who promised to serve him.
Suppose Sir John, a nobleman, was a vassal of William the Conqueror, King of England and Duke of Normandy. When Sir John pledged his loyalty to William, he also promised to supply the King with 10 knights. In turn, William gave 20 manors to John as a fief. If the King called his army to battle, John had to go and take 9 other knights with him.
A lord and a vassal had rights and duties toward each other. A Lord promised his vassal protection and justice and the vassal gave the lord various services, most of which were military.
Feudal society is in term used to describe a society in which most people were peasants who lived in poverty and farmed the land. Their time was spent working for a small number of landlords. The landlords were also military leaders, usually trained as knights, acting as the ruler of the land. The idea of loyalty and services was very important to the feudal society.
The decline of the feudalism was a economic recovery it brought many changes to the social and political organizations of Europe. Money came back into use with the growth of trade and industry, the rise of towns, and the crusades. The manorial system began to break down as the people grew less dependent on the land.
The feudal system was based on manorialism, began to break down too. Ruling lords could pay for military and political services with money instead of fiefs. Their wealth provided better pay for the soldiers and officials that they had hired. In return, the lord received better services