Unit 3 – Table of contents

    • The origins of Feudalism.
    • Vassalage relationships.
    • The feudal monarchy.
    • Feudal economy.
    • Feudal society.
    • Characteristics of the fiefdom.
    • The political and economic importance of the Church.
    • The Crusades.
    • Romanesque architecture.
    • Romanesque painting and sculpture.

Video – Feudalism in Europe (with questions) + BONUS TRACK: The Dark Ages…How Dark Were They, Really?: Crash Course World History #14

Copy the title of the video, the questions and answer them in the notebook.

  1. How did the fall of Rome change Western Europe?
  2. Who was Charlemagne?
  3. What did Charlemagne want in exchange for giving land to his nobles?
  4. What is feudalism?
  5. What is the economic side of Feudalism?
  6. How does Manorialism work?
  7. What is a self-sufficient community?
  8. What were the social clases of Feudalism?
  9. Who could become a knight and how?
  10. What is the difference between a peasant and a serf?

And John Green for not losing the tradition 😉

There’s some revision about how Feudalism is, about the Abbasids, about Al-Andalus, etc…


Texts – High Middle Ages in Europe: Feudalism

Manorialism and vassalage

“The purpose of the commendation was to make a chosen person a vassal of a lord. The commendation ceremony is composed of two elements, one to perform the act of homage and the other an oath of fealty.

The junior who was to become the vassal of his senior (seigneur) appeared bareheaded and weaponless as a sign of his submission to the will of the lord and knelt before him. The vassal would clasp his hands before him in a sign of submission, and would stretch his clasped hands outward to the lord.

The lord in turn grasped the vassal’s hands between his own, showing he was the superior in the relationship. The vassal would announce he wished to become his “man”, and the lord would announce his acceptance. The act of homage was complete.

The physical position for Christian prayer that is thought of as typical today, kneeling, with hands clasped together, originates from the commendation ceremony.

The vassal would then place his hands on a Bible, or a saint’s relic, and swear he would never injure the lord in any way and to remain faithful.

An example of an oath of fealty: ‘I promise on my faith that I will in the future be faithful to the lord, never cause him harm and will observe my homage to him completely against all persons in good faith and without deceit.”

Once the vassal had sworn the oath of fealty, the lord and vassal had a feudal relationship”

From Castles and Manors.


Feudal contract – lord and peasant

“En nombre de Cristo, yo y mi esposa te entregamos a ti, Pere Grimo y a tu esposa y a tus hijos, en el término del castillo de Espluga, una tierra para que la cultives y un solar para haceros una casa.

Cuando se halle plantada y crecida y dé fruto la parte por vosotros cultivada, deberéis darnos a nosotros la mitad de la vendimia, la mitad de todas las cosechas que Dios nos quiera dar y vosotros os quedaréis con la otra mitad.

Nos daréis también una gallina y una hogaza de pan de censo anual […]. Además deberéis entregar 14 medidas de grano de avena para la conservación de la acequia […].”

Cartulario de Poblet, 1181.

Peasants’ obligations

“On Saint John´s Day (24th June), the peasants must mow the lord´s fields and take the produce to the castle. Then they clear the ditches. In August they take the wheat to the farm and in September they give their lord one pig for every eight that they own. At the beginning of winter they sow the lord´s land. On saint Andre´s day 30thNovember they hand over a cake. At Christmas, they give their lord two chickens, and some of their barley. At Easter they hand over two lambs. After that, they must go to the woods, cut wood for their lord and take it to the castle.”

escanear0009 (1).jpg

Tripartite society – bellatores, oratores et laboratores.

“The community of the faithful is a single body, but the condition of society is threefold in order. For human law distinguishes two classes. Nobles and serfs, indeed, are not governed by the same ordinance… The former are the warriors and the protectors of the churches. They are the defenders of the people, of both great and small, in short, of everyone, and at the same time they ensure their own safety.

The other class is that of the serfs. This luckless breed possesses nothing except at the cost of its own labour. […] The serfs provide money, clothes, and food, for the rest; no free man could exist without serfs. […] [in truth] the master, who claims to feed his serf, is fed by him. And the serf never sees an end to his tears and his sighs.

God’s house, which we think of as one, is thus divided into three; some pray, others fight, and yet others work. The three groups, which coexist, cannot bear to be separated; the services rendered by one are a precondition for the labours of the two others; each in his turn takes it upon himself to relive the whole. Thus the threefold assembly is none the less united, and it is thus that law has been able to triumph, and that the world has been able to enjoy peace.”

Bishop Adalbero of Laon, The Tripartite Society (1050)

threefold – composed of three parts.

prelate – church official (i.e. abbot, bishop, archbishop).