This article is about the classic, or medieval, Western European form of feudalism. Broadly defined, it was a decline of feudalism pdf of structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour. There is no commonly accepted modern definition of feudalism, at least among scholars.
Ganshof himself noted that his treatment related only to the “narrow, technical, legal sense of the word”. Europe are perceived to prevail. English legal treatises as an adjective, such as “feodal government”. In the 19th century the adjective “feudal” evolved into a noun: “feudalism”. French in 1823, Italian in 1827, English in 1839, and in German in the second half of the 19th century.
The first attested instance of this is from 984, although more primitive forms were seen up to one-hundred years earlier. Bloch explains that by the beginning of the 10th century it was common to value land in monetary terms but to pay for it with moveable objects of equivalent value, such as arms, clothing, horses or food. This meaning was then applied to land itself, in which land was used to pay for fealty, such as to a vassal. Germanic areas of Europe and bordering Muslim Spain. Samarrai, however, also advises to handle this theory with care, as Medieval and Early Modern Muslim scribes often used etymologically “fanciful roots” in order to claim the most outlandish things to be of Arabian or Muslim origin.
Bayeux Tapestry scene23 Harold sacramentum fecit Willelmo duci. Mounted soldiers began to secure a system of hereditary rule over their allocated land and their power over the territory came to encompass the social, political, judicial, and economic spheres. Only when the infrastructure existed to maintain unitary power—as with the European monarchies—did feudalism begin to yield to this new power structure and eventually disappear. A lord was in broad terms a noble who held land, a vassal was a person who was granted possession of the land by the lord, and the land was known as a fief.
In exchange for the use of the fief and the protection of the lord, the vassal would provide some sort of service to the lord. The obligations and corresponding rights between lord and vassal concerning the fief form the basis of the feudal relationship. During homage, the lord and vassal entered into a contract in which the vassal promised to fight for the lord at his command, whilst the lord agreed to protect the vassal from external forces. Fealty” also refers to an oath that more explicitly reinforces the commitments of the vassal made during homage. Such an oath follows homage. Once the commendation ceremony was complete, the lord and vassal were in a feudal relationship with agreed obligations to one another. The vassal’s principal obligation to the lord was to “aid”, or military service.
Using whatever equipment the vassal could obtain by virtue of the revenues from the fief, the vassal was responsible to answer calls to military service on behalf of the lord. This security of military help was the primary reason the lord entered into the feudal relationship. It could also involve the vassal providing “counsel”, so that if the lord faced a major decision he would summon all his vassals and hold a council. Concerning the king’s feudal court, such deliberation could include the question of declaring war. Power in this period became more personal. The system lingered on in parts of Central and Eastern Europe as late as the 1850s.
However, even when the original feudal relationships had disappeared, there were many institutional remnants of feudalism left in place. August 4, 1789, France abolished the long-lasting remnants of the feudal order. It announced, “The National Assembly abolishes the feudal system entirely. Without debate the Assembly enthusiastically adopted equality of taxation and redemption of all manorial rights except for those involving personal servitude — which were to be abolished without indemnification. Other proposals followed with the same success: the equality of legal punishment, admission of all to public office, abolition of venality in office, conversion of the tithe into payments subject to redemption, freedom of worship, prohibition of plural holding of benefices.