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Session #7 - Feudal System in ECE

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Piotr Wrobel

October 2 , 2012 THE FEUDAL SYSTEM IN EAST CENTRAL EUROPE  Feudalism helped to unite Europe – developed in the Frankish Empire and elements were transferred to other countries (ECE) th  In the mid-20 century, the consequences of feudalism was quite obvious in East Central Europe – there was a gulf between the descendants of peasants and gentry Ex. Poland – low lands exist former serfs vs. highlands exist free people ~ Different attitudes to different things – the Jews in the lowlands played important roles but in the highlands, the Jews were not needed  Feudalism has many definitions: - A term that emerged in the 17 c. and has been used to describe economic, social, and political relations that happened in the middle ages; refers to medieval society has a whole; can refer to relations between vassals and nobles; the manorial system (economic system) Ancient Rome  Sophisticated state – relationship between the people and the state was fairly modern  With the arrival of the barbarians, the Western Roman Empire was transformed into several states; this was an era of chaos – the Dark Ages  There was permanent civil war between tribal chieftains and it was difficult to survive  Began organizing private armies (armed retainers) – this dependence developed because even free rich people did not feel safe from vikings etc. ~ Asking kings for support ~ Celtic word “Gwaus” from Gallia was changed into “vasus” in Latin and eventually vassal  To make it official, there was a ceremony; two elements were important – the knight etc. must kneel before his lord (commendation) followed by an oath of fealty (fidelity) which had a religious character  The lord offered food, clothing, shelter, and arms – a new vassal obtained a fief from the lord (manor, estate, village)  The lords found a source of land in the Church which was incredibly rich – they rented it from the Church who taxed them  1000 AD – all kings and princes demanded that free people be in a dependent relationship with them, that they be vassals  The Frankish Empire was taking new territories and many vassals obtained land in that new territory as a reward for their work  There was a proportion between royal vassals and free men – this eventually changed as lords wanted everyone to be a vassal  There were royal vassals who themselves had vassals (division by the Franks of conquered Bavaria) October
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