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HIS109Y1 (520)

Feudalism and the Three Orders of Medieval Society

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University of Toronto St. George
Kenneth Bartlett

Date: September 17, 2012 Feudalism and the Three Orders of Medieval Society 476 A.D. – last of Roman Emperors - Romulus Augustus (d. 476 or later) – resigned the crown under the pressure from the East ⇓ loss of Roman law, government common currency, trade routes ⇓ World – locally oriented → small communities, decline of cities → need for security People in need offered services in return for protection → militarized cities/strongholds – consumers of food, not producers Principle of feudalism – produce and goods for security Barbarians – VIII to IX century – tribal arrangements and hierarchy – leader (commes); chief (comitatus) ← militaristic society Those who had a private army were extremely powerful individuals with total freedom of action ← power – personal and private, instead of institutional Technology – lubricant of historical change: invention of stirrup saddle with foot straps revolutionized warfare ⇓ new class – professionally trained soldiers; trained from childhood, remarkably agile ⇓ comitatus – all time invested in training  expensive – loyalty, commitment, life of leisure → chivalry (knighthood) – elegance and power ⇓ new structure of society – privileges for vassals 800 – 1200 – Age of Feudalism - leader (feudal) – provides his vassals with land (no inheritance) invasions ← Vikings (Norseman), Muslims (North Africa), Mongols (East Asia), etc. Trade – loc
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