The System and Structure of Feudalism Essay

What is civilisation? Aristotle one time said: “I know what it is but when I turn to compose it down. it eludes me. ” Civilization ( Lat. civis – a town inhabitant ) – The term emerged during the Enlightenment ( around the 18th century ) when it referred to an achieved province which could be contrasted with brutality. It refers to a society viewed in an advanced province of societal development ( e. g. . with complex legal and political and spiritual organisations ) ; “the people easy progressed from brutality to civilisation.

Civilization describes a signifier of human organisation ( it covers a important geographical country and stopping points for a considerable period of clip ) . Medieval and Renaissance Civilization ( Western Europe – England ; 5 – 17 centuries ) Medieval Civilization ; Periodization: Early ( 5 – 1000 AD ) . High ( 1000 – 1300 AD ) . Late Middle Ages ( 1300 – 1500 AD ; 16th century – the beginning of the Early Modern Period. the Renaissance ) . The look “Middle Ages” became common during the clip of the Renaissance to mention to the period between the ancient universe and the modern universe.

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Of class. the people of the Middle Ages were non cognizant that they were populating in the Middle Ages. This period was besides called the Dark Ages but I don’t think that it is the best term for it. One ground is because. while there were times of comparative darkness. there were besides great times of visible radiation. advancement. and larning. It is non accurate or appropriate to label the whole period the Dark Ages. even though there were some dark times during that 1. 000-year period. The Early Middle Ages is a period in the history of Europe following the autumn of the Western Roman Empire which officially ceased to be in 476.

However. that day of the month is non of import in itself. since the Western Roman Empire had been really weak for some clip. while Roman civilization was to last at least in Italy for yet a few decennaries or more. The Early Middle Ages lasted for about 5 centuries from about AD 500 to 1000. This was a period characterized by switching civil orders ( civil order = a signifier of authorities of a province. society ) . a comparatively low degree of economic activity. and successful incursions by non-Christian peoples Huns. Germanic peoples. Arabs. Vikings and others: the Migration period. the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. the Merovingians.

It’s the period of the Anglo-Saxon England. the Frankish Empire and the Viking Age. There were so many viing folks and feudal units. However. after the autumn of Rome. there was one consolidative factor. The lone thing that held society together was Christianity. Christianity had spread beyond the cultural bounds of the Roman Empire into barbaric Europe merely in clip so that when Rome fell. Christianity did non fall with it. Christianity was already the faith of many of the savages who were occupying the Roman Empire.

Kenneth Clark said in his book Civilization. “If you had asked the mean adult male of the clip to what state he belonged. he would non hold understood you. But he would hold known what diocese ( = the bishopric of a bishop ) he belonged to. ” The thought of belonging to England or France or Germany would non hold been a idea of person of that clip. The consolidative factor in all of the confusion of the Middle Ages was Christianity. While the Roman Empire no longer existed. modern Europe had non yet emerged either.

England. Italy. France. and Germany were non on the map yet. Europe was divided into barbaric lands and since these savages were nomads. as they moved. they encroached on person else’s district ( intruded on someone’s rights on a piece of land ) and in bend forced those people to travel. Within the larger countries controlled by assorted barbaric peoples. smaller units bit by bit developed.

This is described as the clip of feudal system. Larger tribal countries were subdivided into little countries. and even smaller countries. with a Godhead and his lieges. hypertext transfer protocol: //worldwidefreeresources. com/upload/CH310_T_19. pdf ) The feudal system was based on common duties. In exchange for military protection and other services. a Godhead. or landholder. granted land called a feoff. The individual having a feoff was called a liege. To visualise the construction of feudal society. think of a pyramid. At the extremum reigned the male monarch. Following came the most powerful vassals—wealthy landholders such as Lords and bishops. Serving beneath these lieges were knights.

Knights were mounted warriors who pledged to support their lords’ lands in exchange for feoffs ( supply military service which amounted to forty days’ service each twelvemonth in times of peace or indefinite service in times of war ; in the late medieval period. this military service was frequently abandoned in penchant for hard currency payment or an understanding to supply a certain figure of men-at-arms or mounted knights for the lord’s usage – materialistic knights. ) . At the base of the pyramid were landless provincials who toiled in the Fieldss. In pattern. the feudal system did non work so merely.

Relationships between assorted Godheads and their lieges were ne’er distinct. Sometimes feudal agreements and understandings were rather complicated. It was non unusual for a individual to be a liege to two or more Godheads at the same clip. Having received a feoff from each. he was hence obligated to function both. This posed no job unless his two masters went to war against each other! Sometimes the vassal’s contract would state what he was to make. For illustration. he might hold to contend for one Godhead but send a figure of his knights to contend on the other side!

The feudal pyramid frequently became a complex tangle of conflicting truenesss. A liege had duties other than to function his Godhead in conflict. He besides had to sit on the lord’s tribunal. where he might judge the guilt or artlessness of another liege. If his Godhead stopped by for a visit. the liege had to supply nutrient and shelter for his superior and all of his party. Not the least of the vassal’s promises was to assist pay the ransom demanded when his Godhead was unfortunate plenty to acquire himself captured by an enemy.

Central to the feudal system was the rite of court which consisted of several formalistic gestures that were performed in public by the draw a bead oning liege who kneeled in forepart of his hereafter Godhead. The ritual included: the public declamatio of the vassal’s willful subordination to his Godhead. the clasping of mated custodies ( immixtio manum ) . the buss of friendly relationship ( osculum ) . the grave curse sworn on relics or on the Bible. the coronation of the feoff and handing of a symbolic object as a item of allowing ownership of land. all these ritualized gestures indicating to a personal. adumbrate adhering between Godhead and liege.

So. as you can see the tie between Godhead and liege was traditionally established on a deeply personal footing: adult male to adult male ( the liege was the “man” of his Godhead ) . manus to manus ( the liege placed his custodies between those of his Godhead ) . and face to face ( the ceremonial of court was sealed with a buss of peace ) .