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Middle Ages Notes #3. I. Feudalism. The decline of Roman influence in Western Europe left people with little protection against invasion, so they entered into feudal agreements with land-holding lords who promised them protection . I. Feudalism.

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i feudalism
I. Feudalism
  • The decline of Roman influence in Western Europe left people with little protection against invasion, so they entered into feudal agreements with land-holding lords who promised them protection.
i feudalism1
I. Feudalism

B. By the 900s AD most Europeans were governed by small,

local, independent leaders, most often by local lords


C. The political organization these leaders represented is

known as feudalism.

ii the feudal system
II. The Feudal System
  • A powerful noble or king with a lot of land grants a

smaller piece of land to a lesser noble.

1. Lesser noble uses the land, but could not own the land.

2. In return, the lesser noble promised loyalty, military assistance, and other services to the lord who granted the land.



ii the feudal system1
II. The Feudal System

B. The grant of land to the lesser noble was known as a fief.

1. The lesser noble who received this fief was known as a vassal.

2. The vassal could further divide this land he had been granted and grant it to others.

3. Thus the vassal could also be a lord.

ii the feudal system2
II. The Feudal System

C. Feudal obligations

1. Homage – ceremony in which a vassal pledged to perform certain duties in return for a fief.

2. Served on the lord’s court

3. Contributed funds

ii the feudal system3
II. The Feudal System

C. Feudal obligations

4. Protection (Knights)

a. A nobleman’s son began training for knighthood at age 7 as a page, then a squire at age 15 and a knight as an adult.

b. Chivalry – fight fair, be brave, defend the church, keep promises, treat women of noble birth kindly.


The Road to Knighthood




iii manorial life
III. Manorial Life

A. Manors

1. Were large farming estates that included manor houses, farmed land, woodlands, pastures, fields, and villages.

iii manorial life1
III. Manorial Life

A. Manors

2. Central authority and trade were nonexistent during the Middle Ages.

a. People on manors needed to be self-sufficient.

b. All food, clothing, and shelter had to be produced on the manor.

c. Some items such as iron, salt, wool, wine, and certain manufactured goods had to be purchased.

iii manorial life2
III. Manorial Life


iii manorial life3
III. Manorial Life

A. Manors

3. A lord and several peasant families shared the land of the manor.

a. The lord kept 1/3 of the land.

b. The peasants farmed the other 2/3 of the land

c. In return, the peasants gave the lord some of their crops and helped the lord farm his land.

iii manorial life4
III. Manorial Life

The lord - 1/3 The peasants 2/3

iv peasant life
IV. Peasant Life

A. Peasants were called serfs.

iv peasant life1
IV. Peasant Life

A. Peasants were called serfs.

1. Could not leave the land without permission of the lord.

2. Diet consisted of bread, lentils, some vegetables, and ale.

a. Because livestock was used to work the fields and serfs were forbidden from hunting on the lord’s land, they rarely ate meat.

3. Short life spans for serfs due to poor diet, disease, and warfare.

database terms part 3 for quiz

14. Fief 15. Vassal

16. Homage 17. Knights

18. Manors 19. Self-Sufficient

20. Serfs