Feudalism in the Middle Ages
Research papers on feudalism in the Middle Ages look at many aspects of the system of government and society during this era. Paper Masters can custom write papers on any topic relevant of the Middle Ages.
Feudalism was a system of legal and military customs that governed much of Europe during the Middle Ages. The term “feudalism” was never used during the medieval period, but was first used by a French historian in 1944 to describe the system. At its heart, medieval feudalism defined the relationship between landowners and those who worked the land.
Each side in a feudal relationship had obligations to the other. Most people wrongly believe that the nobility held people as little better than slaves. The nobility had certain obligations to the rest of society. Feudal society was divided between the following:
- Vassals - Vassals would work the land in exchange for protection.
- Fiefs - A fief was a plot of land owned by the lord.
Often the lords required vassals to provide military service, or work the lord’s lands.
Vassalage was a important relationship and individuals entered into it via a ceremony, the commendation ceremony. Vassals were often obligated to attend to the lord’s court, and could provide counsel. Frequently, the obligations between a lord and vassal were specifically written out in legal documents.
Feudalism emerged in the decentralized power vacuum that existed after the fall of the Roman Empire, and was accelerated following the collapse of the Carolingian Empire. It died a gradual death by 1500, replaced by mercantilism.