Feudal Societies
Ethan Gillette, Palmer Klawiter

How does one society rise after one other falls?

The word "feudalism" originates from the Latin feudum, or fief. Feudalism began around the 10th and 11th centuries in France when the Carolingian dynasty established relationships with local strongmen or installed their own in order to combat invasion from without and strengthen their own positions from within. The contract between lord and vassal was officialized through the ceremony of homage. The vassal swore fealty to his lord. Fealty involved a formal oath, taken publicly, where a vassal promised to serve his lord and uphold their contract.

The Society

In many parts of medieval Europe, society was very dependent on the feudal system. This was based on the allocation of land in return for service. The king would give out grants to the most important noblemen. Then the noblemen would have to promise to follow the king and supply him with soldiers when there is a war.


Manorialism was a political, economic, and social system by which the peasants of medieval Europe were rendered dependent on their land and on their lord. Its basic unit was the manor, a self-sufficient landed estate, or fief, that was under the control of a lord who enjoyed a variety of rights over it and the peasants attached to it by means of serfdom.

Feudal Contract

In return for an estate and his lord's protection, the vassal promised to fight for his lord, sometimes with the promise to supply additional troops of his own. Some of those troops were levied from men on the fief, but very often those additional warriors were vassals of the vassal, which was an arrangement called subinfeudation.The origins of the feudal contract are hard to pin down, but most scholars agree that feudalism owed much of its character to the oaths sworn by Germanic warriors to their chief, a custom still in evidence as late as the Frankish kingdom under Charlemagne at the turn of the ninth century CE; the Roman, and later Frankish, practice of granting benefices, or estates, in exchange for military or other services; and in the free surrender of personal property (commonly called an alod) to a lord, who then returned it as a fief.

How does one society rise after one other falls?

What we've learned is that feudalism brought together Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. The feudal societies helped those who had gotten pieces of land become Kings and Lords who got rich off of the land. The land that was left behind by the Roman Empire is what developed and sustained feudalism.

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