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Dates of the Middle Ages

Early Middle Ages: 500 1000

High Middle Ages: 1000 1250

Late Middle Ages: 1250 - 1500

Marc Bloch (1886-1944) French historian

Wrote Feudal Society
Killed by Nazis
Believed history consists of not only Political history but also Social
,Economic Religious and has geographical dimensions.

The economic system of much of the
Middle Ages (800-1100)
Commoners (peasants) lived on a
feudal manor. The lord of the manor
gave his vassals (the peasants) land to
In return, the vassals received
protection from roving bandits. Yet
they were taxed and had to surrender a
portion of their crops to the lord.
it was better to be a lord than a
Feudalism is important as it created
ties of obedience and fostered a sense
of loyalty between the vassals and
their lord.

A tenant (vassal) renews his oath of fealty
to his lord
A political, economic, and social system based
on loyalty and military service.
Feudal Society
Under the
feudal system,
everyone had
a well-defined
place in

Vassal and Lord
Feudalism: Europe
between the 9
and 12

Whats in a Word?
Feodum: fief
Vertical hierarchies
Lord and serf
King and subject
Horizontal hierarchies
Orders of knights
Peasant communities
Vassals, lords, and
Contractual Relations
Act of Homage and
Oaths of fealty
Reward of benefices &
Obligations of Service
Military & Aids

The Early Middle Ages
During this time, Europe was cut off from advanced
civilizations in the Middle East, China, and India.
Eventually, a new European civilization emerged that
blended Greco-Roman, Germanic, and Christian
traditions: Medieval Civilization

The Three Orders
Those who fight
Those who work
Those who pray
Photo source:
Feudal Europe Power Pyramid
The 3 Estates in the Middle
The idea of estates, or orders, was
encouraged during the Age, but
this ordering was breaking down.
Latin chiefly spoken, those who pray,
purpose was to save everyones soul
French chiefly spoken, those who
fight, purpose was to protectallow
for all to work in peaceand provide
English spoken, those who work,
purpose was to feed and clothe all
above them

Those who Fight
1) act of homage
I promise to be your man

2) Promise of fealty
Fidelity, trust and service with
His hand on relics or a bible

3) Sealed by a Kiss

**voluntary contract
Oaths of Homage
Becoming a vassal
Regular commoners could be chosen to become a vassal and would
become one at a commendation ceremony
A great time of celebration
The vassal would pay homage and swear loyalty to the lord
Responsibilities of vassals
Must promise to supply soldiers to his lord during a time of war and
must fight with his troops
Would be one of the lords advisors when big decisions had to be
Gave housing to the lord during a time of need

Benefits vassals enjoyed
They usually got rich off of the peasants work
Owned a huge plot of land
Could have vassals of their own to increase the
amount of soldiers to support their fief
In 12
century England they could pay money to
not fight for their lord, but the lord would use
the money to buy mercenaries.
Multiple Loyalty
Armored warriors that
protected the land.
They often received fiefs
for their service.
A product of feudalism,
chivalry was an idealized
system of manners and
Restricted to nobility
The Medieval knight was
bound to the chivalric code to
be loyal to
his lord
his lady
Chivalric ideals include...
brotherly love
Sir Gawain is an example
Manorialism refers to a system whereby the
land (or manor) was owned by the lord and
was parceled out to individual peasants who
farmed it.
In return for the land, peasants made
payments to the lord in the form of money,
crops, and services.
Manorialism established a social and political
order that paralleled hierarchies of
The Medieval Manor
Based on self-

Early Middle Age
center for
A German Medieval village
The manor
Moldboard plow
Horse collar
3 field system
Saddle and Stirrup: The Equipment of a Knight
The manor was the lords estate.
The manor system was an economic
arrangement between a lord and his
The lord would provide serfs with
housing, strips of farmland, and
protection from bandits.
In return, the serfs tended the lords
lands, cared for his animals, and
performed other tasks to maintain
the estate.
The manor was largely a self-
sufficient community.
Life on the Medieval Manor
Serfs at work
The Manor Economy
The manor, or lords estate or fief, was the heart of the
medieval economy.
Peasants and lords were bound by mutual obligation
(feudal contracts).
The peasant worked for the lord.
In exchange, the peasant received protection and a small
amount of land to farm.

The Medieval
The Church and Medieval Life
The church was a social center as well as a place of worship.

Christian rituals and faith were part of the fabric of everyday life

Priests guided people on issues of values and morality.
Church required people to pay a tithe (10% of their income).

Monks and nuns cared for the poor and sick, set up schools for
children, and gave food and lodging to travelers.
Friars were monks who did not live in a monastery, but traveled
and preached to the poor.
The Power of the Church Grows
In the centuries after the fall of Rome, the
Church became the most powerful secular, or
worldly, force in medieval Europe
Medieval popes began to claim papal
supremacy, or authority over all secular rulers.
The medieval Church developed its own body of
laws, known as canon law, as well as its own
courts. Anyone who disobeyed canon law faced
a range of penalties.
The Church also had absolute power in religious

Religious Authority
Excommunication: Pope forbade people to receive sacraments or a
Christian burial
Interdict: an order excluding an entire town, region, or kingdom from
receiving some sacraments or a Christian burial