Feudalism in the Holy Roman Empire - Wikipedia
1 Societies in medieval Europe were based on a system known as and culture, while others related to technology. Make . Vassals to the king. • Provide money and knights to lord. Europe's medieval period lasted for about years. foundations of peasant culture and society. Although the The feudal system functioned throughout medieval Europe as a form of social, political vassals, and the peasantry. The lord The vassal, or lord of the manor, would then divide up. The social structure of the Middle Ages was organized round the system of upon a relationship of obligation and mutual service between vassals and lords.
Both parties swore an oath of fealty Lehnseid to one another.
The rights conferred on the vassal were so similar to actual possession that it was described as beneficial ownership dominium utilewhereas the rights of the lord were referred to as direct ownership dominium directum. Lehen or Lehnsgut usually comprised an estate or a complex of estates, but also specified rights of use and rights of taxation or duties.
Linguistically the term Lehen is connected with the word leihen, to lend or loan, and meant something like "loaned property" c. The opposite of a fief was the freehold, allod or allodium, which roughly corresponds to the present freehold estate. The best-known of these were: A mesne fief whereby the vassal awarded parts of his fief to a third party Altarlehen: A medieval proto-foundation proto-Stiftung.
Its purpose was to allocate annual revenue from the property to a specific primate for his abbey or church Beutellehen: The fief only first became hereditary through the conferral of a letter of hereditary right Erbrechtsbrief from the liege lord Fahnlehen: The lower vassals would then hire the land to be cultivated by unfree farmers. There were no feudal relationships between farmers and the lower vassals. During the Middle Ages another structure developed in Germany, the so-called Heerschildordnunga medieval feudal hierarchy: Later, unfree ministeriales also rose to the knighthood.
Vassalage consisted mainly of military campaigns military service and court duty the presence of vassals at the court in order to offer advice.
Feudalism and medieval life in England
From court service, the state and imperial diets emerged. The fief was only given to the vassal to utilize; later, the vassal also became a sub-owner, but the feudal lord always retained the rights to this office.
Eventually, the heritability of fiefs evolved later, but the landowner nevertheless remain the liege lord. In Roman culture, it was common for a patron a wealthy Roman citizen to automatically retain his freed slaves in a dependent relationship, known as patronage. In some cases, populations of conquered areas would become clients of the general who conquered the area. This required the client to accompany his patron to war and protect him if the latter so wished, to accompany him to court as a vocal supporter and, if the patron held public office, to act as his assistant and to accompany him on representational events in public.
In return, the patron had to ensure the legal and practical support of his client in all aspects of life. A Roman citizen, a non-Roman and even entire tribes in the Roman Empire could have a patron-client relationship. In Late Antiquity, this form of relationship was increasingly adopted in rural areas, because the Roman nomenklatura increasingly saw their vast estates Latifundia as their refuge and also as economically important pillars, over which they sometimes even had their own jurisdiction and fortified prisons.
Clients at that time were usually bound to their patrons through the allocation of land. Germanic clan system[ edit ] During the latter years of the period of clan society with Germanic kingdoms on Roman soil, it was common for all the land to belong to the king. Only he could distribute land to his subjects. These subjects were usually family members, warriors who had performed outstanding feats, and noblemen.
This land did not become the property of the subject, but was handed over to him only in persona. On the death of king or vassal, the land was de facto returned to the new king. Over time, a practice developed that the person enfeoffed with the land, together with his family, became the beneficiaries of the fief and remained permanently bound to it.
Upon the death of one party, a new act of homage Lehnseida formal legal ceremony, had to take place. These transitions were fluid and there were exceptions to the practice of enfeoffment. The vassal often enfeoffed the estate, usually divided into smaller parcels of land, to other lesser vassals, who in turn had to swear fealty to him.
Feudalism and Medieval life
In return for the lease of land, the king could demand loyalty and allegiance from the vassal and his sub-vassals. This means that, in the event of war, they had to provide soldiers and assistance, or if money ran short or a ransom was needed, they were expected to support the king.
The Roman patron-client relationship and the early clan-based feudal relationship in the Germanic kingdoms merged during the early Middle Ages into the feudal law, or Lehnsrecht, a legal and social set of relationships, which effectively formed a pyramid with the king at the top. The enforcement of Lehnsrecht is associated with the reduced circulation of money in the Late Antiquity and Early Medieval periods. Money could not bind a vassal to a king, only land.
Unlike money, this was plentiful. Even kings see Richard the Lionheart - compulsory allegiance and at least in the early Middle Ages, the clergy see Ottonian - Salian imperial church system could be vassals of a king or another king. Emergence of feudal relationships[ edit ] Acceptain of the oath of fealty Lehnseid in Under the feudal system, various legal institutions came together during the Carolingian period that had previously existed independently.
The antrustiones - these were the inner circle of the king's retinue; they were distinguished by the fact that a multiple of the usual weregild had to be paid to them. The vassi - free lords who could no longer look after for themselves were able to commend themselves into the hands of a more powerful lord, receiving sustenance and shelter in return for an obligation of loyalty and service.
Feudalism in the Holy Roman Empire
They did not lose their status as free lords through the commendation ceremony, but the royal court continued to be responsible for them. The commendation was enacted by the so-called handgang ceremony, i.
This gesture made the relationship of the two very clear. The beneficium original meaning of "benefit" - in the early Middle Ages land was leased, but there were also cases where estates were granted without requiring recompense, for example under duress or to do someone a favour.
The lord then remained the true owner of the land, but was no longer its beneficiary. It was from the combination of these institutions, especially as more and more lords achieved high social position, that the feudal system emerged.
The handgang, which together with the oath of loyalty Treueidbecame referred to as homagium Latinhomage Frenchor mannschaft Germanbecame the decisive legal device until well into the 12th century.
Not until the spread of the system of legal deeds was the handgang dropped from the oath of allegiance, which was better recorded in writing. Commendations were still carried out at all levels.
In lower classes they were based on the manorial system Grundherrschaftat the high levels on feudalism Lehnswesen.
The award of fiefs often replaced the remuneration for work. This was necessary because the monetary system necessary to make regular payments was still far too underdeveloped during the early Middle Ages.
Subsequent development[ edit ] As the services of the vassal specifically included military service, under the Frankish monarchy the feudal system was for centuries the basis of the army as well as the social organization of the Holy Roman Empire.
It was not only the king who acquired vassals in this way. He was soon imitated by secular and ecclesiastical magnates. Gradually, the principle of the heritability of fiefs was established along with the admissibility of passing them on as Afterlehen to sub-vassals.
The latter were also declared as heritable in by Conrad II in the constitutio de feudis. So it came to pass that as early as the 12th century, all duchies and counties were awarded as fiefs. The average size of these land, known as fief, were as small as acres and as big as acres. Most of the feudal lands consisted of farm and cultural lands. Meanwhile, the vassals either lived in castles of the lords or they owned their own manor.
Aside from farm and cultural lands, medieval vassal lands would typically have forested areas, pasture lands, villages, mills and churches, depending on the size of the estate.
Most importantly, it would include a Manor House.
In most cases, the Manor House served as a residence for the Lord or Vassal and his family. The manor house ideally would be built apart from the villages where peasants and other workers lived.
Sometimes several medieval Vassals were called upon to meet the king for important business Medieval Vassals Duties in the Feudal System In the feudal system, medieval vassals were expected to perform certain duties, render services in exchange for the fiefs that were awarded to them.
Primarily, vassals were considered second in command to whomever directs the estate, be it a Lord or the King. One of the main duties of medieval vassals during the middle ages was to keep the manor and watch over the daily activities within the manor. They were also more powerful than other workers in the estate such as the peasants. They usually had privileges which included judicial rights.
Among other duties, a medieval vassals was required to attend to the feudal lord especially during court. It was his responsibility as well to recruit men for military duties. It was also his duty to supervise the peasants, serfs and other workers who lived in the manor estate.
He was the mercenary of the feudal lord. A Vassals place in the Feudal System Feudalism was based primarily on the exchange of land for military services. Medieval vassals were required to pay allegiance to the King or the Lords, and everyone was expected to pay for the lands by providing services that included completing chores from the lord, training soldiers to fight and preparing them for battle, and providing weapons and other supplies for medieval soldiers.
However, most vassals during the medieval era functioned as both vassal and lord. This only meant that they were vassals to a lord but had the ability to lease the land to other lower class vassals. This kind of setup was very common among nobles during this period since this served as means for them to earn money. The King and Vassals relationship within the feudal system that dominated medieval society The Vassals relationship with the Lord Vassals and Lords usually shared common loyalty.