Euro. Civ. History
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
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
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.