Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Feudalism-Military Government on the Cheap
Feudalism was the dominant Social/Political system in Europe during the Middle Ages (circa 9th to 16 centuries but still in use in many countries well into the 19th century). In Feudalism the Lords of a kingdom were given property called fiefs (fiefs could be anything from a farm, village, forest etc. to whole towns) from the “King.” In exchange the fiefs the Lords would become vassals to the king and give him military service (eventually cash rents), honor and loyalty. The Lords would in turn divided their properties into smaller fiefs and give them to vassals (tenants) of their own. The process would be continued down to the lowest class of Lords, the knights, who were given enough property to afford their life as the warrior class of the kingdom. The common peasants (villeins or serfs) were required to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce, nominally in exchange for military protection from the "lord." Without the expense of a single coin, through Feudalism the "King" had a ready made army of knights and men-at-arms that would give him military service in return for land.