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Feudal System

Feudal System

The feudal system, or feudalism, was the governing principle of Europe during the Middle Ages. The source of wealth was land ownership, and the relationship between the landowners and the peasants who worked the land were specifically spelled out through law and custom. The term "feudal" was not coined until the 17th century, and the word "feudalism" did not emerge until the 19th century.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe descended into a network of small territories ruled by a chieftain. A two-tiered social structure emerged between lords and vassals. The lords owned the fief, the land, and granted possession of certain parcels of the fief to vassals in exchange for service, frequently military, but also consisting of agricultural labor. Feudal System research papers have been written by philosophy experts. We can produce a custom written project following your guidelines.


The relationship between lord and vassal worked in both directions in the following ways:

  1. Peasants, for example, were required to labor in the lord's fields
  2. The lord was required to protect and defend peasants from outside forces
  3. Lords also granted lands to other nobles and the legal bond between the two was frequently sealed at a ceremony, in which homage and fealty were pledged.

Feudalism began to die out in Europe with the rise of modern commerce. By the Renaissance period, many peasants had migrated to towns, land was not the sole basis for wealth, and the emerging kingdoms were able to hire mercenaries or standing armies, eliminating the need for vassalage.

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