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Feudalism
Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, cultural and political customs that flourished in medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society around relationships that were derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour. Although it is derived from the Latin word ''feodum'' or ''feudum'' (fief), which was used during the Medieval period, the term ''feudalism'' and the system which it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people who lived during the Middle Ages. The classic definition, by François Louis Ganshof (1944),François Louis Ganshof (1944). ''Qu'est-ce que la féodalité''. Translated into English by Philip Grierson as ''Feudalism'', with a foreword by F. M. Stenton, 1st ed.: New York and London, 1952; 2nd ed: 1961; 3rd ed.: 1976. describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations which existed am ...
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Fief
A fief (; la, feudum) was a central element in medieval contracts based on feudal law. It consisted of a form of property holding or other rights granted by an overlord to a vassal, who held it in fealty or "in fee" in return for a form of feudal allegiance, services and/or payments. The fees were often lands, land revenue or revenue-producing real property like a watermill, held in feudal land tenure: these are typically known as fiefs or fiefdoms. However, not only land but anything of value could be held in fee, including governmental office, rights of exploitation such as hunting, fishing or felling trees, monopolies in trade, money rents and tax farms. There never did exist one feudal system, nor did there exist one type of fief. Over the ages, depending on the region, there was a broad variety of customs using the same basic legal principles in many variations. Terminology In ancient Rome, a "benefice" (from the Latin noun , meaning "benefit") was a gift of land () ...
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Manorialism
Manorialism, also known as the manor system or manorial system, was the method of land ownership (or "tenure") in parts of Europe, notably France and later England, during the Middle Ages. Its defining features included a large, sometimes fortified manor house in which the lord of the manor and his dependents lived and administered a rural estate, and a population of labourers who worked the surrounding land to support themselves and the lord. These labourers fulfilled their obligations with labour time or in-kind produce at first, and later by cash payment as commercial activity increased. Manorialism is sometimes included as part of the feudal system. Manorialism originated in the Roman villa system of the Late Roman Empire, and was widely practiced in medieval western Europe and parts of central Europe. An essential element of feudal society, manorialism was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market economy and new forms of agrarian contract. In examining the o ...
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Lord
Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power over others, acting as a master, chief, or ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the peerage in the United Kingdom, or are entitled to courtesy titles. The collective "Lords" can refer to a group or body of peers. Etymology According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, the etymology of the word can be traced back to the Old English word ''hlāford'' which originated from ''hlāfweard'' meaning "loaf-ward" or "bread-keeper", reflecting the Germanic tribal custom of a chieftain providing food for his followers. The appellation "lord" is primarily applied to men, while for women the appellation " lady" is used. This is no longer universal: the Lord of Mann, a title previously held by the Queen of the United Kingdom, and female Lords Mayor are examples of women who are styled as "Lord". Historical usage Feudalism Under the feudal system, "lord" had a ...
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Vassal
A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. While the subordinate party is called a vassal, the dominant party is called a suzerain. While the rights and obligations of a vassal are called vassalage, and the rights and obligations of a suzerain are called suzerainty. The obligations of a vassal often included military support by knights in exchange for certain privileges, usually including land held as a tenant or fief. The term is also applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies. In contrast, fealty (''fidelitas'') was sworn, unconditional loyalty to a monarch. European vassalage In fully developed vassalage, the lord and the vassal would take part in a commendation ceremony composed of two parts, the homage and the fealty, including the use of Christian sacraments to show its sacred importance. According to Eginhard's brief description, the ''commen ...
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Peasant
A peasant is a pre-industrial agricultural laborer or a farmer with limited land-ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and paying rent, tax, fees, or services to a landlord. In Europe, three classes of peasants existed: slave, serf, and free tenant. Peasants might hold title to land either in fee simple or by any of several forms of land tenure, among them socage, quit-rent, leasehold, and copyhold. In some contexts, "peasant" has a pejorative meaning, even when referring to farm laborers. As early as in 13th-century Germany, the concept of "peasant" could imply "rustic" as well as "robber", as the English term villain/villein. In 21st-century English, the word "peasant" can mean "an ignorant, rude, or unsophisticated person". The word rose to renewed popularity in the 1940s–1960s as a collective term, often referring to rural populations of developing countries in general, as the "semantic successor to 'native', incorporating all its condes ...
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François Louis Ganshof
François Louis Ganshof (14 March 1895, Bruges – 26 July 1980, Brussels) was a Belgian medievalist. After studies at the Athénée Royal, he attended the University of Ghent, where he came under the influence of Henri Pirenne. After studies with Ferdinand Lot, he practiced law for a period, before returning to the University of Ghent. Here he succeeded Pirenne in 1930 as professor of medieval history, after Pirenne left the university as a result of the enforcement of Dutch as language of instruction. He remained there until his retirement in 1961. Ganshof's work was primarily on Flanders in the Carolingian period. His best known book is ''Qu'est-ce que la féodalité?'' (1944). Here he defines feudalism narrowly, in simple legal and military terms. Feudalism, in Ganshof's view, existed only within the nobility. This contrasts with Marc Bloch, where feudalism encompasses society as a whole, and Susan Reynolds, who questions the concept of feudalism in itself. Though Ganshof' ...
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Ethiopia In The Middle Ages
The history of Ethiopia in the Middle Ages roughly spans the period from the decline of the Kingdom of Aksum in the 7th century to the Oromo migrations beginning in the mid-16th century.Kelly, "Introduction", p. 16 Aksum had been a powerful empire during late antiquity, appearing in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and mentioned by Iranian prophet Mani as one of the "four great kingdoms on earth", along with the Sasanian Empire of Persia, the Roman Empire, and China's Three Kingdoms.Munro-Hay The kingdom was an integral part of the trade route between Rome and the Indian subcontinent, had substantial cultural ties to the Greco-Roman world, and was a very early adopter of Christianity under Ezana of Aksum in the mid-4th century. The use of "Ethiopia" to refer to the region dates back to the 4th century. At its height, the kingdom spanned what is now Eritrea, northern Ethiopia, eastern Sudan, Yemen and the southern part of what is now Saudi Arabia. However, by the 7th century, ...
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Shogun
, officially , was the title of the military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor, shoguns were usually the de facto rulers of the country, though during part of the Kamakura period, shoguns were themselves figureheads, with real power in hands of the Shikken of the Hōjō clan. The office of shogun was in practice hereditary, though over the course of the history of Japan several different clans held the position. The title was originally held by military commanders during Heian period in the eighth and ninth centuries. When Minamoto no Yoritomo gained political ascendency over Japan in 1185, the title was revived to regularize his position, making him the first shogun in the usually understood sense. The shogun's officials were collectively referred to as the ; they were the ones who carried out the actual duties of administration, while the Imperial court retained only nominal authority.Beasley, William G. ...
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Susan Reynolds
Susan Reynolds FBA (27 January 1929 – 29 July 2021) was a British medieval historian whose book ''Fiefs and Vassals: the Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted'' (1994) was part of the academic critique on the concept of feudalism as classically portrayed by previous historians such as François-Louis Ganshof and Marc Bloch. Reynolds rejected typical ideas of feudalism and presented a medieval society structured through ‘horizontal’ groups. According to ''The Guardian'', "Few books have been more intensely discussed by professional medieval historians. Largely as a consequence of this work, the word “feudalism”, or the “F-word”, as it came to be called by historians, began to lose currency among British medievalists." Reynolds did not only wrote books that have changed the way we think about the past, but was someone who was constantly examining her own ideas and whose interests were extraordinarily wide-ranging. Life Reynolds was born in London, the daughter of a solic ...
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Estates Of The Realm
The estates of the realm, or three estates, were the broad orders of social hierarchy used in Christendom (Christian Europe) from the Middle Ages to early modern Europe. Different systems for dividing society members into estates developed and evolved over time. The best known system is the French ''Ancien Régime'' (Old Regime), a three-estate system which was made up of clergy (the First Estate), nobles (Second Estate), peasants and bourgeoisie (Third Estate). In some regions, notably Sweden and Russia, burghers (the urban merchant class) and rural commoners were split into separate estates, creating a four-estate system with rural commoners ranking the lowest as the Fourth Estate. In Norway the taxpaying classes were considered as one, and with a very little aristocracy, this class/estate were as powerful as the monarchy itself. In Denmark, however, only owners of large tracts of land had any influence. Furthermore, the non-landowning poor could be left outside the estates ...
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Marc Bloch
Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (; ; 6 July 1886 – 16 June 1944) was a French historian. He was a founding member of the Annales School of French social history. Bloch specialised in medieval history and published widely on Medieval France over the course of his career. As an academic, he worked at the University of Strasbourg (1920 to 1936), the University of Paris (1936 to 1939), and the University of Montpellier (1941 to 1944). Born in Lyon to an Alsatian Jewish family, Bloch was raised in Paris, where his father—the classical historian Gustave Bloch—worked at Sorbonne University. Bloch was educated at various Parisian lycées and the École Normale Supérieure, and from an early age was affected by the antisemitism of the Dreyfus affair. During the First World War, he served in the French Army and fought at the First Battle of the Marne and the Somme. After the war, he was awarded his doctorate in 1918 and became a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg. There, he ...
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Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces I, who led the Parni tribe in conquering the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, who was rebelling against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I (r. c. 171–132 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to present-day Afghanistan and western Pakistan. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce. The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empi ...
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