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An Overview of Feudalism as the Dominant Social System in Medieval Europe

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Feudalism started in 800 C.E to create order and make Europe civil again. This came because the people needed protection from barbarians. Feudalism is a medieval government and the people needed it to keep control and have a leader.

The Classes of the Feudal System

The King

The King was responsible for his kingdom. There was only one King and he was the highest of the classes. The King would delegate his duties to Nobles and Knights. He would stop any issues that occurred.

A king wakes up early in the morning and goes to the church to pray. After church he eats a light meal. His daily activities are attending meetings, pass laws and hear requests. At midday he would have lunch his heaviest meal which was many courses. After his lunch he could do whatever he wants. He could hunt with his dogs, do leisure activities. At the end of the day he would have dinner a lighter meal to lunch. Afterwards he and his queen will pray then go to sleep. The king lived in a graceful castle looked after by many servants.

Nobles

Nobles were in charge of their section of land. They gave instructions to the serfs and would supervise them. Nobles helped the King by being in charge of running of the land.

Nobles lived in castles in the middle of an estate and were in charge of everything that went on in their land. They had control over serfs and gave permission for serfs to marry and checked that the crops were planted correctly. Nobles woke at dawn, went to the chapel in their castle and attended a church session. He would then eat breakfast. After breakfast, he would be in meetings to discuss marriages, crops, complaints and other matters relating to his land. He ate a large lunch around noon and afterwards he was free to do what he wanted. Hunting, visiting the land and leisure activities. In the evening, he would pray then have dinner. After dinner there was sometimes entertainment in his castle, such as acrobats or jesters. Before bed he was pray again.

Knights

Knights would protect the land and all of people, including the King. Knights were a symbol of safety, honour and respect.

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Knights would wake up at dawn and attend church then eat breakfast. In the morning knights would do weapons practise, practice their fighting skills and discuss war strategies. In the afternoon knights would train with their horses and do more practises. When their lord went hunting, hawking or inspected his castle or manor the knights would go with him. At the end of the day knights would have celebrations, supper and prayer. Knights, nobles and the king all lived very much alike, except knights focused on learning fighting skills and preparing for battle. To become a knight, you had to start at a young age as a page. Pages helped the knight with their horses and weapons. After being a page, you become a squire. A squire was taught everything from the knight and also helped knights in battle. Before a squire could become a knight, they would have to have attend a religious ceremony called a Dubbing Ceremony. All knights had to follow a code of chivalry. This was a set of rules that had to be followed or your knight ship was taken from you. The knight had to be courteous, show compassion, work as a team, be truthful and pure.

Serfs

Without serfs the land would not be farmed, the animals would not be cared for or bred. The people would have no food. They were essential for survival of the community. 90% of the population were serfs, they did all the hard work.

Serfs started work around 3am. Serfs would make hay, thresh their fields, trim hedges, harvest crops, plant seeds and plough the earth. They would work from dawn to dusk with not much time to relax and have fun. The women will eat when their husband came back from their work. A serf’s house was normally one room where lived, slept, cooked, ate and kept domestic animals. It was the most unpleasant life then all the other classes.

The Impact of the Feudalism

Feudalism created a stable government, increased security from outsiders by having less wars, improving loyalty. Rules like land went to the oldest son to stop arguments. Feudalism was about separated government, meaning it was about higher classes giving lower classes land to rule so their government system was separated. The King owned all the land but gave some to nobles and church officials to rule over for the King, for their loyalty.

Allowed a stable economic system for prosperity and growth making the rich get richer, the poor having to pay more taxes and having to spend less money on wars creating more wealth. More jobs came (blacksmiths, cobblers, tailors and bakers) so they had more than farmers or solders. Making the market economy grow and bringing in trading and bartering.

The stable system helped peasant families have a long-term employment. Strong loyalty of the knights to keep peace. Feudalism impacted society by creating stronger loyalty because the King gave land to nobles for military and loyalty and nobles gave land and other things to knights for their loyalty like a trading system thereby creating strong loyalties.

The Significance of the Feudalism

Feudalism helped the King to have lots of land because he would grant some to nobles and church officials to look after and they would form armies to protect their own land. Feudalism was a great system to control society. Feudalism made the King hold all the money. The King would grant fiefs for land for service and tax.

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An Overview of Feudalism as the Dominant Social System in Medieval Europe. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/an-overview-of-feudalism-as-the-dominant-social-system-in-medieval-europe/
“An Overview of Feudalism as the Dominant Social System in Medieval Europe.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/an-overview-of-feudalism-as-the-dominant-social-system-in-medieval-europe/
An Overview of Feudalism as the Dominant Social System in Medieval Europe. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/an-overview-of-feudalism-as-the-dominant-social-system-in-medieval-europe/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
An Overview of Feudalism as the Dominant Social System in Medieval Europe [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/an-overview-of-feudalism-as-the-dominant-social-system-in-medieval-europe/
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