22 September 2014
Feudalism and Manorialism
The feudal system was a way of government based on obligations between a lord or king, and a vassal in a share of lands. The king gave large pieces of his land to his trusted workers or vassals, to distribute in return for services. These estates, called the fief, included houses, barns, tools, animals, and serfs or peasants. The king, in the act of giving out this land, promised to protect the vassal on the field or in the courts no matter what. In return, the nobles who were granted the fiefs swore an oath of loyalty to the king as well as promise never to fight against the king. Each of the king's vassals was also a lord or tenant, in chief with vassals of his own. Each vassal would be an overlord to those he gave fiefs to while remaining a vassal of the king. The subtenants in turn gave out the land in smaller portions. Sometimes there were many levels of lords who had vassals under them with many small plots of land. However, the most important promise of the vassal to the lord was the military oath. The vassal usually served as a knight for the king for a certain agreed amount of days. This service usually lasted about 40 to 60 days a year, and if the serve lasted longer, they were to be paid for it. If they actually had to fight in a war, they usually only fought for two months.
As for class, there were only a few nobles. Most people were serfs who worked the land for a noble of some sort. A serf was bound to the land they were given, and couldn’t leave. If the noble sold the land the serf went with it, as if they were one. About half the serfs time was spent working for the lord rather than themselves, though. Most jobs included working in the fields and waiting on the members of the lord's family.
Manorialism represented the economic portion of feudalism, where all aspects of life were centered on the lord’s manor including everything around it. Much like Feudalism, it had levels of...
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