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
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
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
12) They are formable opponents. No foot soldier could compete with an armored
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
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
22) The lord gives out many fiefs- if he is a king and owns lots of land. Lets
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
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.
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
44) Number one responsibility is to serve the lord and main job is cultivating
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
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.