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Fall of Feudalism
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DescriptionFall of Feudalism
Fall of Feudalism
Feudalism was a social, political, and economic system that dominated all aspects of medieval life. The economic portion of feudalism was centered around the lord's estates or manor, and is called manorialism. A lord's manor would include peasant villages, a church, farm land, a mill, and the lord's castle or manor house. However, this system started to fail after a series of events. War, disease and the spreading of ideas all sparked the fire for the downward spiral of feudalism.
During the middle Ages people were self sufficient. In the text Development of Economics Analysis, “Each manor constituted as a self sufficient economic, social, and political unit that functioned according to the orders of the lord.” (Rima, 26) this means all economic activity occurred on the manor resulting in little to no trade during this time period. Most of the peasants during the middle Ages were serfs. Serfs were generally farmers who were tied to the land. They were not slaves because they could not be bought or sold, but they could not readily leave the manor either. Serfs were given land to farm in exchange for service to their lord. From a lecture in class we learnt that this service usually involved working the lord's fields, maintaining roads and the manor, and providing military service in times of war. “Serfs had the obligation to serve in the lord’s army.” (Rima 26) Serfs paid taxes to their lord in the form of crops. This is also how the paid the fee to use the manor's mill or other services.
The lords had responsibilities also under this system. In return for the service and fees paid by the peasants, they provided land and protection to them. Lords also had to pay fees and give service to high lords and the king. “The lord pledged to protect the lives of the serfs in his domain.” (Rima 26) Feudalism affected all levels of society. From the peasants to the Lords, it was a system where everyone was affected. During this time, a holy war known as The Crusades was taking place. Just like with any other war, it took a toll on the economic system in place.
The Catholic Church launched a series of Holy Wars against the Muslims in the Middle East. These wars were known as the Crusades, and while their original goals were not achieved, they nevertheless, had long reaching effects. A major result of the Crusades was an increase in trade. European interest in goods from the east was stimulated by returning Crusaders who brought back many things. As the Crusades ended, ...
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