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HIS109 Lecture 4

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Kenneth Bartlett

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Euro. Civ. History Sept. 19/12  Agriculture was main occupation in middle ages. o Important industry o Source of status and authority  Right after collapse rom. Emp. 450-750. Population declined dramatically o No trade o No roads to transport food  No need to experiment with varying crops o Soon forgotten o Became primitive  Planting crops to nurture soil – improved crops for feed o People were healthier from it  Technology advanced o Soil turning ; plow shares o Heavy wheeled plow came out of this…improved the soil o Horse collars – to pull plows and turn/clear land o Yolks (oxan)  Very little mixed agri. o Mostly grain and little protein o Lords ate tooooo much meat  o Feutal law – peasants couldn’t hunt on others lands o Status (eating meat =rich)  Peasants lived in villages; essential structure of medieval agri. o A manor – villa o Landlord owned manors  Villages of peasants o Either fully free or were surfs (property; couldn’t come and go as they pleased) o One knight had to be supported by the size of the manor. o Shouldn’t be so large that the peasants had no difficulty in walking to their homes in one day. o Nothing else mattered to the people living there. Everything was governed by the tradition of the manor o Once again everthing became localized o Almost the only form of agriculture.  Money was scarce –no way to mint it. o Powerful people were rich in land not cash. o But you needed to have people to cultivate it o Barter economy o Every one got just enough to keep people alive.  The lords domain – a portion of it was put away to the lords family alone o The rest was parcelled out to the rest of the village in exchange for service o The peasants had to work the entire manor and received a small return in exchange o Sufficient enough for the land lord not to work o And for peasants to sustain themselves and reproduce o Cooperative- everyone had to stay in place for it to work o Small population – you stayed where you were born (world view = local)  Peasants were protected o Free from other outside duties o Part of a community o Economic, physical, psychological security o Context is extremely important in historical analysis  Manor was divided into narrow strips of land. P o Purpose for a rough justice of who got what o In order to plow – had to have cooperative agri.  Peasants didn’t have money to pay for all materials.  Grouped all tools together to help cultivate the land.  Cooperative way of life in general  Equality of living amongst peasants.  Other labourer
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