Feudal Society
By: Ashley Rivera and Jackson Beasley

Essential Question:
In what ways did feudalism create order during the Middle Ages

During the time that Feudalism arose Western Europe was in chaos, the economy was in ruins and so was their central government. This lesson will provide a look into how Feudalism created order during the middle ages.


Germanic tribes taking over

Germanic Tribes have conquered much of Western Rome. With this, most of Rome's government has been left into ruins. During this time, chaos and warfare had taken over most of Western Rome. The Germanic tribes had put most of western Europe into different land estates called manors. They practiced manorialism which can be mistaken for feudalism. During this time most of the people in Europe were poor and it was thinly populated. Most people only lived for thirty years and Europe was in great chaos.

Manorialism: A quick Lesson

Manorialism is often confused with feudalism, since feudalism is somewhat based on manorialism, so here is a quick lesson on manorialism: Manorialism is a type of society that came before feudalism. It consists of large areas of lands called manors owned my lords and worked by peasants. Rome'sThese manors were basically a very small town that provided everything for the people who lived on it. The lords lived in the manor house and the peasants worked on the land. Peasants mostly depended on their lords for almost everything from food to protection. Peasants were bound to their land, farmed it and paid taxes on it. Manorialism mostly declined as soon as feudalism began to rise.

An example of a feudal state

The Rise of Feudalism

Feudalism started to rise after the fall of the Roman Empire. With the Germanic tribes in control, there wast much order, government or societal wise. Most of Europe had been split into separate small kingdoms which needed people to occupy and rule them. Also, when Islamic empires became a threat, many people had no protection because of no central government. Many people were searching for a way to earn money and have a place to live.

Important People to Feudalism

Before we get into what feudalism s you need to know who the important people were and what there roles were

King: Overall Ruler of the land and employed the Lords to manage the land.

Lords: Leader of the kingdom and the person who owned the land. Their life was centered around fighting and had an army of knights who served under them. followed the principles of chivalry. Only men could be lords. Sometimes lords would fight each other for land but their main job was to protect and govern the people under them.

Vassals: A vassal was loyal to a certain lord. He was given a fief, or part of land, in return for loyalty and other services.

Lady: A lady was the wife of Lords. She was trained in things such as sewing. She was in charge of the kingdom when her husband was away and taking care of her children.

Knights: Were employed under vassals to certain lords. Usually served for forty days by providing military service.

Peasants: Had little rights and were basically owned by their lords. Worked as a family and provided the lord with labor services.

Clergymen: Some rich and wealthy clergymen were powerful Lords who owned land for the church. Others were poor clergymen for peasants. They gave advice to peasants and helped them through hard times.

Fief: an estate of land, one held for services during feudalism

To recap what you just learned, watch this video and complete the Kahoot to check for your understanding:

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How Feudalism Worked

Feudalism all started out with lords and vassals. Each person had things they could provide for each other. Vassals worked under Lords. During a homage ceremony, when a man becomes a vassal, he promises his loyalty and that he will fight for his lord. The lord in return, gives the vassal a fief, which is from part of his land, to work on. Peasants on this fief worked under the vassal.The vassal managed the peasants and got some of the profit from what they produced. Knights also worked under the vassals. Vassals provided knights for a certain number of dates to the lord as military service. Once they preformed  their service they were given part of the vassals fief for there own. Every person in feudalism has a job to provide to another and in return they gained something for themselves.

The relationship between Lords and Vassals and Knights

Watch this video for a recap of all this information!

Decline Of Feudalism

Around the time that Feudalism declined, the economy had a major revival. More money was coming into the towns and instead of people getting paid in forms of service and land, lords could pay people with actual money which defeated the purpose of feudalism and made lords more powerful. Also with money doing back into the towns, peasants were able to sell the goods that they made and bought their freedom from their lords. Other peasants ran away with the money that they earned. Overall the base of feudalism wasn't relevant to the area anymore and it began to collapse on itself.

Final Assessment

Click the button to play the kahoot to make sure you fully understand Feudal Society

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Critical Thinking Question:
Why was feudalism successful?

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