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Session 15 Polities of the Middle Ages Some trajectories amidst a diverse political scenario Parallel worlds: rural and urban settings in the MA T h e A m e r i c a n U n i v e r s i t y o f R o m e HST 201 - Survey of Western Civilization I
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Polities of the Middle Ages
Some trajectories amidst a diverse political scenario
Parallel worlds: rural and urban settings in the MA
expansion, coexistence &
On the cultural front
On the political front
The new countries
Monasteries & monasticism
(Arist. before F)
Monasteries & knowledge
On the political front
Short lived but
Three political trajectories, new formations born from the last attempt of unifying Europe and from the decentralized system of property created in the feudalist system.
MONARCH > VASSALS-FEUDAL LORDS > PEASANTS
Traders & cities?
1215 Magna Carta… council of Lords & later, Parliament
TB citing Strayer: “The Magna Carta made arbitrary government difficult, but did not make centralized government impossible.”
While the Magna Carta surged after the vain attempts of John to conquer back the French lands (after his defeats), it allowed a concerted effort with Edward I to expand England's power in Wales, Scotland and France.
Land property system in a land of Roman and barbarians
Overall private property
Their mixture (their dialectic), origins of C
Feudalism Oligarchies & monarchies & plutocracies
Oath of Allegiance Charters
Technological advances in both
Feudalism> Decentralized political system(leading then to centralization as states evolve)> Power relations based on oath of allegiance (mutual defense) & tax contract > leads to confrontation monarchy vs. nobility(with their different aims and powers)> Property system based on small-scale tenure system. Ascendance of the Lord based on defense and protection.
> Fits the European system of war-driven societies> In the political process (and adding to war as a central factor), come the Crusades, that help the monarchs establish some sense of unity and power> In economic terms, the Crusades reopen trade routes to the East and allow further development of urban life> Feudal state: much institutional and political instability
> Society moved from a world of tribes and chiefdoms - in which rights of property were mainly defined through membership of a kin-group - to a society in which lordship over all land and men was increasingly assumed by state rulers.
> A situation typical in an “intermediate” period and normal among the barbarian tribes that were settling the old lands of the Roman empire, where “Roman” peoples where still cultivating and owing the lands.
> The so-called feudal state of the Middle Ages was an institution that represented a limited territorialization of power, wherein a king's ability to govern and rule his kingdom depended to a large extent on the cooperation of his vassals (p. 65, Elias 1982, 16-17).
There is no more striking a demonstration of this process than the dramatic collapse of the Frankish kingdom in the early Middle Ages, when the extended kingdom of Charlemagne disintegrated into a 'mosaic of autonomous duchies and principalities‘. (p.66)
FromCraft specialization, the reorganization of production relations and state formation. Thomas C. Patterson. 2005. Journal of Social Archaeology 5, 307.During the transition from feudalism to capitalism, feudal lords – who, in practice if not in theory, supported the ideal of a self-sufficient natural economy – were pitted against serfs, peasants and artisans, on the one hand, and merchant capitalists who sought increasing control of local and regional markets, on the other. Marx (1863–7/1977: 877–95) outlined the dialectics of class struggle in England during the transition. The serfs succeeded in breaking the bonds of servitude by the end of the fourteenth century, becoming a class of free peasant proprietors. The lesser feudal lords no longer able to appropriate goods and services from their former serfs dissolved by the end of the fifteenth century (continues…)
(…) and the group of former retainers, who never had direct access to the means of production and who lacked the ability to appropriate surplus from the direct producers, were recast as a proletariat. In the sixteenth century, the great feudal lords used coercion, laws and taxes to expropriate the resources they held in common and to force the peasants, formerly in possession of their means of subsistence and production, into growing dependence on the market and on production for exchange. This was accompanied by social differentiation in the rural communities, the simultaneous appearance of capitalist farmers who produced for the market and a rural proletariat whose members lacked the means of subsistence and were forced to hire themselves out as agricultural laborers.Relationship between Feudalism and the rise of national monarchies? (the relationship of feudalism and early capitalism)?