The Middle Ages is a special era that has historically unique characteristics - heretics and the Inquisition, indulgence and alchemy, the Crusades and feudalism.
Who is a feudal lord? This definition and concept of feudalism are discussed in more detail below.
The concept of feudalism
Feudalism is a special system of land and legal relations that developed in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.
The basis of this form of relationship was the feudal lord. This is the owner of the land allotment (fief). Each feudal lord received land together with the peasants from another, larger owner (seigneur), and from then on was considered his vassal. All vassals were in the military service of the lords and were supposed to act with weapons in their hands against his enemies at the first call.
The hierarchy of feudalism was quite complex. To understand it, we first consider a simplified model of relations from 3 links: at the lowest level was a peasant, a commoner who was in the power of the owner - the feudal lord, over whom the monarch stood.
But the feudal lord is not justa person who is part of a certain stratum of society is part of a complex system. The feudal ladder consists of lower knights - vassals who were in the service of higher lords. Each lord, in turn, was also someone's vassal. The head of state was the king.
The schematic hierarchy chain can be represented as follows (from lowest to highest): peasant - knight (vassal 1) - senior 1 (vassal 2) - senior 2 (vassal 3) - senior 3 (vassal 4) - … is king.
The main feature of the hierarchy was the fact that a large feudal lord did not have power over all lower vassals. The rule "the vassal of my vassal is not my vassal" was respected.
Customs of feudal lords
All landowners, regardless of the size of their holdings, did not differ in economy. They did not try to increase their we alth by accumulating or improving their methods of production. What were the main sources of income for any feudal lord? These are extortions from the peasants, seizures, robberies. Everything mined was spent on expensive clothes, luxurious furnishings and feasts.
Among the feudal lords there was a knight's code of honor - courage, exploits, protection of the weak. However, other facts are historically recorded: they everywhere showed rudeness, cruelty and willfulness. They considered themselves God's chosen people, despised the common people.
The relationship between the vassal and the lord was complicated. Often the newly elected vassal attacked his lord and seized his we alth, peasants and lands.
The difference between feudalism and slaveholdingbuilding
The feudal lord is not a slave owner. Slaves belonged to the owner, did not have their own will and property. The peasants who belonged to the feudal lord owned property, their own household, which they managed independently - they could sell, donate, exchange. For their piece of land, they paid the owner a quitrent, and he provided them with security.
The feudal lord could declare war on his neighbor, conclude a truce with him, organize military campaigns to capture prisoners for whom he could get a ransom, rob other peasants, other landowners, churches.
All this created a "state within a state" situation, weakened the power of the monarch and, in general, continental Europe, most of whose inhabitants, due to robberies from all sides, were in poverty and hunger.