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Lecture 4

HIS109Y1 Lecture 4: Lecture 4-The Manorial Economy-Sept 21

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Kenneth Bartlett

Lecture 4: HIS109 The economic base of the middle ages (prior to the rise of towns) The manorial system How the emergence of currency and trade (vs. bartering) changed the middle ages Very agricultural; greatest generator of wealth Provided status (vassal w fief to provide military support) 4 centuries: pop of Euro declined dramatically Effects: No need to experiment w different agricultural technologies bc pop wasnt increasing Breakdown of imperial system, recurrence of barbarian invasion, plague th th 8 and 9 century: intro of three fields vs two field system (on third fallow, one third harvest, one third grazing) increased production Value of manure wasnt heavily used, however expanded due to increase in animals th st 9 century: 1 chemical fertilizer (marline) Structure: based upon local organization that relied on agriculture Technological changes from the plow (only worked on soft soil) to a metal plow with a piece of wood to turn soil over (the heavy wheeled plow) the horse collar: horses became faster and effective (however expensive!) Most peasants continued to use oxen Crops could grow in western Europe, few were cultivated Grew very few grains; peasant diets werent nutritious Peasants deficient in protein (not allowed to hunt on Fief) Eating meat became a caste mark; the knights ate a lot of meat and their diets became too rich in protein Rise of towns allowed for mixed agriculture Most peasants didnt live in isolation, however lived in villages for necessity Villa=Manor Manor is a large, self sufficient state, produced enough surplus so knight could live with leisure and priest could live in leisure Consisted of universal organization: Fortified house of the landlord (to room peasants if need be) Village of peasants in centre of the manor Open fields (seigneuries), narrow strips of land Economic and social structure of an entire continent for over half millennia Agent Bailiff looked over land Political allegiance fragmented: you only cared about your manor Local in character and reflected value structure of feudal society Liquid capital=money Lack of coins minted in middle ages The powerful owned land No cash= no money economy
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