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Europe – Middle Ages — Knights‚Feudalism‚ Serfdom


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Knights Feudalism Serfdom

 
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 by Michael Johnathan McDonald

Knights Feudalism Serfdom

1) Although there was a revival under Charlemagne‚ it all collapsed after him to back into the Dark Ages; but this time it was even worse. Most do not know a thing called organization.
2) One thing that changed was the ways war was fought. Before man fought on foot and foot soldiers made up the main army. But they would be no matches with the new Knight that would evolve with some simple handed down eastern influences such as stirrups and saddles for horseback warfare courtesy from the Mongols - warriors from the East.
3) People will emerge with a greater advantage with horseback. The Huns [precursors of the Mongols] were riding horses when they fought; not the westerners armies though.
4) This will change with the bridle and the Saddle [a little later will be introduced the stirrups in which balancing on them with yielding a heavy sword play a key role in the over advantage of knights against foot soldiers.]
5) A stirrup helps the knight balance to swing his sword at some one. If there were no stirrups the knight would just fall off because of the weight of the sword.
6) Also stirrups help resting the feet. This invention from the east will provide better mobility in fighting war on horseback. Now it is possible to wheel about and make fast turns- much more movable.
7) The knowledge of the stirrup went from east-to-western Europe.
8) Fighting man on horseback become the most desirable soldier. And now armor comes in as well for the horse.
9) Result: A vary armored warrior. These are called Knights.
10) This is the beginning of the Mid-Evil Knights.
11) They evolve from Northern France. 40-60 pounds on their bodies-plus head bashing equipment.
12) They are formable opponents. No foot soldier could compete with an armored knight.
13) When a king needs fighting men he calls out his knights. At this time there is no economy and no standing armies. Just a bunch of knights that you can’t hire for pay. There was no money! Well who do they work for and who pays them?
14) In these times there is only a bardor(?) system of exchange between people. What to do?
15) King control over land- they will use that.
16) Knights needed land to graze their horses and a place to put them in the winter and a place to breed new horses and the kings owned all the land.
17) Kings needed knights to fight off invaders and to settle disputes and what-not.
18) So land is a means to barrder(?) from. King-to-Knight.
19) A landowner is called lord. His land is called a fief. He will offer land to live on (his fief) in exchange for services he deems his needs. For the knights this meant their soldier ability would do.
20) He becomes a Vassal of the lord.
21) This he does by getting down on his knee and reciting an loyalty oath to be of service to his new lord. This would mean for the knight his commitment to military service.
22) The lord gives out many fiefs- if he is a king and owns lots of land. Lets say France.



23) A Vassal may subdivide his fief to other lower vassals if he owns a huge chunk of property.
24) The King in black owns everything, but keeps a small section for himself.



25) Vassals in Chief are directly linked to the king in the first tear.
26) Vassals squabble amongst each other. Over various issues, and fight little wars in a dog-eat-dog Middle Age world. So out of this a Vassals need more knights to fight his neighbors and so he subdivides his fiefs more and more so accumulate many knights to fight in his army. The Vassals gives out fiefs in exchange for military duty.
27) Now, if a Vassal does not want to show up for his duty when he is called upon. He becomes a dissident and “ A vassals has broken his oath.” [Big in those days] Usually a Vassal will go to the king or send someone and the king will say. “Anyone who can knock [him] off that vassal;” the king will give him that fief, or what you could say is a modern day mob contract out on him.
28) In wars, knights would bring their own blacksmiths along with them. A lot of food, equipment for fighting war was needed. For various agriculture difficulties. A lack of food would limit the war season to about 40 days a year that a knight would have to serve. That’s if he didn’t get killed fighting and made it out alive.
29) Short Summery: Food would not last so wars are short. All a vassal could get out of a warrior knight was 40 days of service. This Feudalism came into being because no money was around and a bad economy. [No literacy so it was not even a civilization- just tribal chief per say.]
30) When money returns Feudalism will disappear. This would be a Mid-Evil institution. (No economy, no illiterate) When money returns taxes are collected and mercenaries are bought and vassals kick off the knights from their land. Vassals go back to becoming the term called Nobles (land owners.)
31) This brings up the church’s role in power over fiefs. If you were unlucky to be excommunicated by the Church. They would ruin your life. Literally! So the Church could be wielded as power in Feudalism.
32) Note: Excommunication does not work today.
33) When a lord gave a fief away to a vassal than an oath was uttered ( The church saw the opportune moment to direct its influence by inserting Bible words into the oath. [Note the saying “Their greedy little hands.”]
34) So oath is said. Now with church steps in; influence of words they determine, they have all the power now and dictate even if the King should be excommunicated.
35) The laws are drawn up that if a king is excommunicated than the vassals are not obligated to serve the king. This will work on all levels as lesser vassals will not have to serve their lords and so on down the line.
36) When the Church takes the king out by excommunication the king has no more military supporters. Well some loyal’s would stay, but most vassals are out for their own interests. One can see the results that a king was finished. So powerful the church in the Middle Ages, this will be where the focus of church criticism comes from more than another time in history.
37) Nobles in the Middles Ages constituted from 4-5 % of the populace. Most were country peasants and little bit merchants and traders.
38) Most peasants were called Serfs. (Sort of a slave)[Note: remember that slavery exists in illiterate and suppressed educational systems. e.g. China today (circa. 2001) and former U.S.S.R] Akin to being told what to do and when to do it.
39) A Serf belonged to a village that belonged to a fief. And was considered property of the Vassal. If a vassal would sell his property the Serf’s counted along with the inventory of that piece of land. Serfs are not free. And Vassals went to great lengths to keep it that way! [Note: Ironic of the term Dark-Ages – an allude to hell on earth for some]
40) When land exchanged hands ownership of the Serfs went to the next vassal. Most were farm labors.
41) Feudalism and Serfdom began in France.
42) Serfs are property of the Vassals land.




Manor House





Serfs live here











Wheat |Beans| Food
43) The Lords Manor is a castle in which he lives well. The Serfs (the Slaves) serve at the Lord’s Table. The Serfs want to run away. But all other lords have safety nets. (They all work in tandem to keep control of their property.) If a Serf escapes word is sent out and he is usually tracked down within 24 hours. He or she will be severely punished. As little as extra work to money paid to the lords and bad as death. Most are beaten severely. Serfs want to kill their overlords. So the over lords build motes around their castles. Not to keep out armies as depicted in motion picture, but to keep the serfs from killing the lord.
44) Number one responsibility is to serve the lord and main job is cultivating and farming.
45) In order for them to work hard. The mind was kept off the subject of bondage by forced church service where priests hired by the lords would preach a hellfire sermon every Sunday and Wednesday’s at screaming levels that they must obey their master/lords.
46) So hard the taskmaster were a serf was lucky to own his own plow in which from the field he spent most his time at.
47) Sometimes they had to rent the plow from the lord him/her self, by arranging with the lord to do more free work. Sometimes he hires oxen from the lord [that he takes care of] to plow the fields that he trades some of his own food he grows on his own land.
48) They are for the most part treated like excrement. They get the worst soil for themselves. (This made the lords laugh) If they get disease’s and are out in the cold. “So what.” Lord said. They die young, have bad hygiene and teeth all are rotted and fall out. And basically live miserable life and die young.
49) (Note: One has to remember that the Church is in control the vary most control they ever had in history at this time.)
50) When a serf dies the lord would take all his property he may have acquired and not give it to the serfs heirs.
51) If a serf catches a fish it is the lords property and he has to pay him for it. It goes with all the animals on the fief of that particular lord. The Serfs domesticate rabbit and make up a large part of the meat section of their diet. Lords get the better animals to eat. [The Lords are really evil]
52) If a serf did not work fast enough he would be punished. He lived in huts that an inspection was the norm by the lord.
53) They were not aloud grinding stones in the serf-hut. He had to use the lords grinding stones and backing ovens that he had to pay the lord for. [Is this giving you a strong picture of hell yet?]
54) If a serf wanted to travel he had to pay the lord. Most never ventured out more than about five miles from where they lived.
55) A serf could never-ever ride a horse. That privilege was expectable only to the nobles and was punished by lord.
56) The worst of all was the lords right to the first fruits of the virgins before marriage. (One can see a Gilgamesh being repeated now in many numbers.) This meant that the lord would spend the first night with a bride before the groom would get her. The lord would simply take her virginity. A serf could get out of it. But it would be for a astronomically large price.
57) The Church taught them to obey.
58) The Serfs were oppressed, depressed, compressed, and kept silent and ignorant.
59) When petty wars were fought by the vassals the knights would usually destroy crops and kill the others serfs. Sometimes more painful attacks of hacking off arms and legs and leaving serfs to suffer and die in agonizing pain.
60) In wars the serfs suffer. (Just like to days homeless veterans on the streets of America.)
61) The lords track down serfs with dogs and word of mouth. There was a law that was possibly an amusement at first by laughing nobles because a serf could hardly be away fro 24 hours with out being rated on in another fief or village in that fief. That “ If a serf could escape and stay free for over a year and a day, nobles said. “He would be set free.” [Too hard to do.]
62) Serfs worked in pain and sickness, and even if people say that they were not slaves in the Biblical sense, they are only lying to themselves because in a past life they were the noble who had the mind set that this thing called serfdom was OK in the eyes of the lord.
63) Serfdom would only last through the Middle Ages. As more and more time went on and serfs got a few good generations of crops and multiplied, you will see that when a serf runs away their will be no need to run after him because there are plenty more, and this brings up that the serf now many running free influence trade and the abuses they were under in different parts of the world.
64) Many place agriculture methods got better and so health of the serfs benefited and multiplications of the serf populace took place. Because more food meant better health and more profits meant some serf families made enough money to buy their freedom. This little tid-bit answers another question. Yes at the end of the Middle Ages money reappears.

 

 


 

 

 



 
   
 

 
   

 

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