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Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in
Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
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 labor. 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 In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...
by the people who lived during the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
. The classic definition, by
François-Louis Ganshof François-Louis Ganshof (14 March 1895, Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives ...
(1944),
François Louis Ganshof François () is a French masculine given name and surname, equivalent to the English name Francis. People with the given name * Francis I of France Francis I (french: François Ier; frm, Francoys; 12 September 1494 – 31 March 1547) was K ...
(1944). ''Qu'est-ce que la féodalité''. Translated into English by
Philip Grierson Philip Grierson, British Academy, FBA (15 November 1910 – 15 January 2006) was a British historian and numismatist, emeritus professor of numismatics at Cambridge University and a fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Gonville and Cai ...
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 among the warrior
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
and revolved around the three key concepts of
lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peera ...

lord
s,
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
s, and
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the histor ...
s. A broader definition of feudalism, as described by
Marc Bloch Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (; ; 6 July 1886 – 16 June 1944) was a List of contemporary French historians, French historian. He was a founding member of the Annales School of French social history. Bloch specialised in medieval history and p ...

Marc Bloch
(1939), includes not only the obligations of the warrior nobility but the obligations of all three
estates of the realm 250px, A 13th-century French representation of the tripartite social order of the Middle Ages – ''Oratores'' ("those who pray"), ''Bellatores'' ("those who fight"), and ''Laboratores'' ("those who work"). The estates of the realm, or three est ...
: the nobility, the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
, and the
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
ry, all of whom were bound by a system of
manorialism Manorialism, also known as the manor system or manorial system, was the method of land ownership (or "Land tenure, tenure") in parts of Europe, notably England, during the Middle Ages. Its defining features included a large, sometimes fortif ...
; this is sometimes referred to as a "feudal society". Since the publication of Elizabeth A. R. Brown's "The Tyranny of a Construct" (1974) and
Susan Reynolds Susan Reynolds (born 1929) is a British medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affa ...
's ''Fiefs and Vassals'' (1994), there has been ongoing inconclusive discussion among medieval historians as to whether feudalism is a useful construct for understanding medieval society."The Problem of Feudalism: An Historiographical Essay"
by Robert Harbison, 1996,
Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University is a public university in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was founded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1906, though its roots reach back a quarter-century earlier. It operates regional campuses in Glasgow, Kentucky, Glas ...
.


Definition

There is no commonly accepted modern definition of feudalism, at least among scholars."Feudalism"
by Elizabeth A. R. Brown. ''
Encyclopædia Britannica Online An encyclopedia (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, Ameri ...
''.
"Feudalism?"
by
Paul Halsall Paul may refer to: *Paul (given name) Paul () is a common masculine given name in countries and ethnicities with a Christian heritage (Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Protestantism) and, beyond Europe, ...
.
Internet Medieval Sourcebook The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the Fordham University Fordham University () is a Private university, private Jesuit universities, Jesuit research university in New York City. Established in 1841 and named for the Fordha ...
.
The adjective ''feudal'' was in use by at least 1405, and the noun ''feudalism'', now often employed in a political and propagandistic context, was coined by 1771, paralleling the French (''feudality''). According to a classic definition by
François-Louis Ganshof François-Louis Ganshof (14 March 1895, Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives ...
(1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations which existed among the warrior nobility and revolved around the three key concepts of
lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peera ...

lord
s,
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
s and
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the histor ...
s, though Ganshof himself noted that his treatment was only related to the "narrow, technical, legal sense of the word". A broader definition, as described in
Marc Bloch Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (; ; 6 July 1886 – 16 June 1944) was a List of contemporary French historians, French historian. He was a founding member of the Annales School of French social history. Bloch specialised in medieval history and p ...

Marc Bloch
's ''Feudal Society'' (1939), includes not only the obligations of the warrior nobility but the obligations of all three
estates of the realm 250px, A 13th-century French representation of the tripartite social order of the Middle Ages – ''Oratores'' ("those who pray"), ''Bellatores'' ("those who fight"), and ''Laboratores'' ("those who work"). The estates of the realm, or three est ...
: the nobility, the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
, and those who lived off their labor, most directly the
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
ry which was bound by a system of
manorialism Manorialism, also known as the manor system or manorial system, was the method of land ownership (or "Land tenure, tenure") in parts of Europe, notably England, during the Middle Ages. Its defining features included a large, sometimes fortif ...
; this order is often referred to as a "feudal society", echoing Bloch's usage. Outside its European context, the concept of feudalism is often used by
analogy Analogy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximate ...

analogy
, most often in discussions of
feudal Japan The first human inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago have been traced to prehistoric times Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the descrip ...
under the ''
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 An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem o ...
s'', and sometimes in discussions of the
Zagwe dynasty The Zagwe dynasty (Ge'ez: ዛጔ ሥርወ መንግሥት) was an Agaw The Agaw ( gez, አገው ''Agäw'', modern ''Agew'') are a Cushitic peoples, Cushitic ethnic group inhabiting Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea. Ethnically and culturally th ...
in medieval
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
, which had some feudal characteristics (sometimes called "semifeudal"). Some have taken the feudalism analogy further, seeing feudalism (or traces of it) in places as diverse as
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
during the
Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the ...
(771-476 BCE),
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
, the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
, the Indian subcontinent and the
Antebellum Antebellum, Latin for "before war", may refer to: United States history * Antebellum South The Antebellum South (also known as the antebellum era or plantation era) was a period in the history of the Southern United States The southern Unit ...
and . The term ''feudalism'' has also been applied—often pejoratively—to non-Western societies where institutions and attitudes which are similar to those which existed in
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
Europe are perceived to prevail. Some historians and political theorists believe that the term ''feudalism'' has been deprived of specific meaning by the many ways it has been used, leading them to reject it as a useful concept for understanding society. The applicability of the term feudalism has also been question in the context of some
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe, Southe ...
an countries, such as Poland and Lithuania, with scholars observing that the medieval political and economist structure of those countries bears some, but not all, resemblances to the Western European societies commonly described as feudal.


Etymology

The root of the term "feudal" originates in the
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
word ''*péḱu'', meaning "cattle", and possesses cognates in many other Indo-European languages: Sanskrit ''pacu'', "cattle"; Latin ''pecus'' (cf. ''pecunia'') "cattle", "money"; Old High German ''fehu, fihu'', "cattle", "property", "money"; Old Frisian ''fia''; Old Saxon ''fehu''; Old English ''feoh, fioh, feo, fee''. The term "féodal" was first used in 17th-century French legal treatises (1614) and translated into English legal treatises as an adjective, such as "feodal government". In the 18th century,
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
, seeking to describe economic systems, effectively coined the forms "feudal government" and "feudal system" in his book ''
Wealth of Nations ''An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations'', generally referred to by its shortened title ''The Wealth of Nations'', is the '' magnum opus'' of the Scottish economist An economist is a practitioner in the social scien ...

Wealth of Nations
'' (1776).Fredric L. Cheyette. "FEUDALISM, EUROPEAN." in ''New Dictionary of the History Of Ideas'', Vol. 2, ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Thomas Gale 2005, . pp. 828–831 The phrase "feudal system" appeared in 1736, in ''Baronia Anglica'', published nine years after the death of its author Thomas Madox, in 1727. In 1771, in his ''History of Manchester'', John Whitaker first introduced the word "feudalism" and the notion of the feudal pyramid.Elizabeth A. R. Brown, "Reflections on Feudalism: Thomas Madox and the Origins of the Feudal System in England," in ''Feud, Violence and Practice: Essays in Medieval Studies in Honor of Stephen D. White'', ed. Belle S. Tuten and Tracey L. Billado (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2010), 135-155 at 145-149. The term "feudal" or "feodal" is derived from the
medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share ...
word . The etymology of is complex with multiple theories, some suggesting a Germanic origin (the most widely held view) and others suggesting an
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
origin. Initially in medieval Latin European documents, a land grant in exchange for service was called a (Latin).Meir Lubetski (ed.). ''Boundaries of the ancient Near Eastern world: a tribute to Cyrus H. Gordon''. "Notices on Pe'ah, Fay' and Feudum" by Alauddin Samarrai
Pg. 248–250
Continuum International Publishing Group, 1998.
Later, the term , or , began to replace in the documents. The first attested instance of this is from 984, although more primitive forms were seen up to one-hundred years earlier. The origin of the and why it replaced has not been well established, but there are multiple theories, described below. The most widely held theory was proposed by in 1870, being supported by, amongst others,
William Stubbs William Stubbs (21 June 182522 April 1901) was an English historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writ ...

William Stubbs
and
Marc Bloch Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (; ; 6 July 1886 – 16 June 1944) was a List of contemporary French historians, French historian. He was a founding member of the Annales School of French social history. Bloch specialised in medieval history and p ...

Marc Bloch
.Marc Bloch. ''Feudal Society'', Vol. 1, 1964. pp.165–66.Marc Bloch. ''Feudalism'', 1961, pg. 106. Kern derived the word from a putative
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
term ''*fehu-ôd'', in which ''*fehu'' means "cattle" and ''-ôd'' means "goods", implying "a moveable object of value". Bloch explains that by the beginning of the 10th century it was common to value land in monetary terms but to pay for it with moveable objects of equivalent value, such as arms, clothing, horses or food. This was known as ''feos'', a term that took on the general meaning of paying for something in lieu of money. This meaning was then applied to land itself, in which land was used to pay for fealty, such as to a vassal. Thus the old word ''feos'' meaning movable property changed little by little to ''feus'' meaning the exact opposite: landed property. It has also been suggested that word comes from the
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
''faihu'', meaning "property", specifically, "cattle". Another theory was put forward by Archibald R. Lewis. Lewis said the origin of 'fief' is not ''feudum'' (or ''feodum''), but rather ''foderum'', the earliest attested use being in
Astronomus ''Vita Hludovici'' or ''Vita Hludovici Imperatoris'' (The Life of Louis or the Life of the Emperor Louis) is an anonymous biography of Louis the PiousLouis may refer to: * Louis (given name) Louis is the French language, French form of the Old ...
's ''
Vita Hludovici ''Vita Hludovici'' or ''Vita Hludovici Imperatoris'' (The Life of Louis or the Life of the Emperor Louis) is an anonymous biography of Louis the Pious, Holy Roman Emperor and King of the Franks from AD 814 to 840. Author The work was written i ...
'' (840). Archibald R. Lewis. ''The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society 718–1050'', 1965, pp. 76–77. In that text is a passage about
Louis the Pious Louis the Pious (16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Ro ...

Louis the Pious
that says , which can be translated as "Louis forbade that military provender (which they popularly call "fodder") be furnished." Another theory by
Alauddin Samarrai Alauddin (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transc ...
suggests an Arabic origin, from ''fuyū'' (the plural of ''fay'', which literally means "the returned", and was used especially for 'land that has been conquered from enemies that did not fight').
Alauddin Samarrai Alauddin (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transc ...
. "The term 'fief': A possible Arabic origin", ''Studies in Medieval Culture'', 4.1 (1973), pp. 78–82.
Samarrai's theory is that early forms of 'fief' include ''feo'', ''feu'', ''feuz'', ''feuum'' and others, the plurality of forms strongly suggesting origins from a
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
. The first use of these terms is in
Languedoc Languedoc (; , ; oc, Lengadòc ) is a former province of France The Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de France) was a medieval and early modern monarchy ...

Languedoc
, one of the least Germanic areas of Europe and bordering Muslim Spain. Further, the earliest use of ''feuum'' (as a replacement for ''beneficium'') can be dated to 899, the same year a Muslim base at
FraxinetumFraxinetum or Fraxinet ( ar, فرخشنيط, translit=Farakhshanīt or , from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ...
(
La Garde-Freinet La Garde-Freinet (; Provençal: ''La Gàrdia Frainet'') is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstrac ...
) in
Provence Provence (, , , , ; oc, Provença or ''Prouvènço'' , ) is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, R ...

Provence
was established. It is possible, Samarrai says, that French scribes, writing in Latin, attempted to
transliterate Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one writing system, script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:littera#Latin, liter-'') in predictable ways, such as ...

transliterate
the Arabic word ''fuyū'' (the plural of ''fay''), which was being used by the Muslim invaders and occupiers at the time, resulting in a plurality of forms – ''feo, feu, feuz, feuum'' and others – from which eventually ''feudum'' derived. Samarrai, however, also advises to handle this theory with care, as Medieval and Early Modern Muslim scribes often used etymologically "fanciful roots" in order to claim the most outlandish things to be of Arabian or Muslim origin.


History

Feudalism, in its various forms, usually emerged as a result of the
decentralization Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group. Conce ...

decentralization
of an empire: especially in the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
in 8th century AD, which lacked the bureaucratic infrastructure necessary to support
cavalry Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of a professional army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via O ...

cavalry
without allocating land to these mounted troops. Mounted soldiers began to secure a system of hereditary rule over their allocated land and their power over the territory came to encompass the social, political, judicial, and economic spheres.Gat, Azar. ''War in Human Civilization'', New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. pp. 332–343 These acquired powers significantly in these empires. However, once the infrastructure to maintain unitary power was re-established—as with the European monarchies—feudalism began to yield to this new power structure and eventually disappeared.


Classic feudalism

The classic
François-Louis Ganshof François-Louis Ganshof (14 March 1895, Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives ...
version of feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations which existed among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of
lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peera ...

lord
s,
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
s and
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the histor ...
s. In broad terms a lord was a noble who held land, a vassal was a person who was granted possession of the land by the lord, and the land was known as a fief. In exchange for the use of the fief and protection by the lord, the vassal would provide some sort of service to the lord. There were many varieties of
feudal land tenure Under the English feudal system Feudalism as practiced in the Kingdom of England during the medieval period was a state of human society that organized political and military leadership and force around a stratified formal structure based on Feuda ...
, consisting of military and non-military service. The obligations and corresponding rights between lord and vassal concerning the fief form the basis of the feudal relationship.


Vassalage

Before a lord could grant land (a fief) to someone, he had to make that person a vassal. This was done at a formal and symbolic ceremony called a
commendation ceremony A commendation ceremony (''commendatio'') is a formal that evolved during the period to create a bond between a and his fighting man, called his . The first recorded ceremony of ''commendatio'' was in 7th century France, but the relationship of ...
, which was composed of the two-part act of homage and oath of
fealty An oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (B ...
. During homage, the lord and vassal entered into a contract in which the vassal promised to fight for the lord at his command, whilst the lord agreed to protect the vassal from external forces. ''Fealty'' comes from the Latin ''fidelitas'' and denotes the
fidelity Fidelity is the quality of faithfulness Eugene Santos or Faithfulness is the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something, and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. It may be exh ...

fidelity
owed by a vassal to his feudal lord. "Fealty" also refers to an oath that more explicitly reinforces the commitments of the vassal made during homage. Such an oath follows homage.''Medieval Feudalism''
, by Carl Stephenson. Cornell University Press, 1942. Classic introduction to Feudalism.
Once the commendation ceremony was complete, the lord and vassal were in a feudal relationship with agreed obligations to one another. The vassal's principal obligation to the lord was to "aid", or military service. Using whatever equipment the vassal could obtain by virtue of the revenues from the fief, the vassal was responsible to answer calls to military service on behalf of the lord. This security of military help was the primary reason the lord entered into the feudal relationship. In addition, the vassal could have other obligations to his lord, such as attendance at his court, whether manorial, baronial, both termed
court baron The manorial courts were the lowest courts of law in England during the feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9t ...
, or at the king's court. It could also involve the vassal providing "counsel", so that if the lord faced a major decision he would summon all his vassals and hold a council. At the level of the
manor Manor may refer to: Land tenure *Manor, the land belonging to the Lord of the manor under manorialism in parts of medieval Europe, notably England *Manor house, the main residence of the lord of the manor *Lord of the manor, the landholder of a ma ...
this might be a fairly mundane matter of agricultural policy, but also included sentencing by the lord for criminal offences, including capital punishment in some cases. Concerning the king's feudal court, such deliberation could include the question of declaring war. These are examples; depending on the period of time and location in Europe, feudal customs and practices varied; see
examples of feudalism Examples of feudalism are helpful to fully understand feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th cent ...
.


The "Feudal Revolution" in France

In its origin, the feudal grant of land had been seen in terms of a personal bond between lord and vassal, but with time and the transformation of fiefs into hereditary holdings, the nature of the system came to be seen as a form of "politics of land" (an expression used by the historian
Marc Bloch Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (; ; 6 July 1886 – 16 June 1944) was a List of contemporary French historians, French historian. He was a founding member of the Annales School of French social history. Bloch specialised in medieval history and p ...

Marc Bloch
). The 11th century in France saw what has been called by historians a "feudal revolution" or "mutation" and a "fragmentation of powers" (Bloch) that was unlike the development of feudalism in England or Italy or Germany in the same period or later: Counties and duchies began to break down into smaller holdings as
castellan A castellan is the title used in Medieval Europe for an appointed official, a governor of a castle and its surrounding territory referred to as the castellany. The title of ''governor'' is retained in the English prison system, as a remnant of ...
s and lesser seigneurs took control of local lands, and (as comital families had done before them) lesser lords usurped/privatized a wide range of prerogatives and rights of the state, most importantly the highly profitable rights of justice, but also travel dues, market dues, fees for using woodlands, obligations to use the lord's mill, etc.Wickham, ''The Inheritance of Rome'', p. 518. (what
Georges Duby Georges Duby (7 October 1919 – 3 December 1996) was a French historian who specialised in the social and economic history of the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and col ...
called collectively the "''seigneurie banale''"). Power in this period became more personal. This "fragmentation of powers" was not, however, systematic throughout France, and in certain counties (such as Flanders, Normandy, Anjou, Toulouse), counts were able to maintain control of their lands into the 12th century or later. Thus, in some regions (like Normandy and Flanders), the vassal/feudal system was an effective tool for ducal and comital control, linking vassals to their lords; but in other regions, the system led to significant confusion, all the more so as vassals could and frequently did pledge themselves to two or more lords. In response to this, the idea of a "
liege lord Homage (from Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, ...
" was developed (where the obligations to one lord are regarded as superior) in the 12th century.


End of European feudalism (1500–1850s)

Most of the military aspects of feudalism effectively ended by about 1500. This was partly since the military shifted from armies consisting of the nobility to professional fighters thus reducing the nobility's claim on power, but also because the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Afro-Eurasia from 1346 to 1353. It is the List of epidemics, most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, causing th ...

Black Death
reduced the nobility's hold over the lower classes. Vestiges of the feudal system hung on in France until the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
of the 1790s, and the system lingered on in parts of Central and Eastern Europe as late as the 1850s.
Slavery in RomaniaSlavery ( ro, sclavie) existed on the territory of present-day Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It share ...
was abolished in 1856. Russia finally abolished serfdom in 1861. Even when the original feudal relationships had disappeared, there were many institutional remnants of feudalism left in place. Historian
Georges Lefebvre Georges Lefebvre (; 6 August 1874 – 28 August 1959) was a French people, French historian, best known for his work on the French Revolution and peasant life. He is considered as one of the pioneers of "People's history, history from ...

Georges Lefebvre
explains how at an early stage of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
, on just one night of August 4, 1789, France abolished the long-lasting remnants of the feudal order. It announced, "The National Assembly abolishes the feudal system entirely." Lefebvre explains: Originally the peasants were supposed to pay for the release of seigneurial dues; these dues affected more than a quarter of the farmland in France and provided most of the income of the large landowners. The majority refused to pay and in 1793 the obligation was cancelled. Thus the peasants got their land free, and also no longer paid the
tithe A tithe (; from : ''teogoþa'' "tenth") is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in or s, whereas historically tithes were ...
to the church.


Feudal society

The phrase "feudal society" as defined by
Marc Bloch Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (; ; 6 July 1886 – 16 June 1944) was a List of contemporary French historians, French historian. He was a founding member of the Annales School of French social history. Bloch specialised in medieval history and p ...

Marc Bloch
Bloch, Marc, ''Feudal Society.'' Tr. L.A. Manyon. Two volume. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961 offers a wider definition than Ganshof's and includes within the feudal structure not only the warrior aristocracy bound by vassalage, but also the
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
ry bound by manorialism, and the estates of the Church. Thus the feudal order embraces society from top to bottom, though the "powerful and well-differentiated social group of the urban classes" came to occupy a distinct position to some extent outside the classic feudal hierarchy.


Historiography

The idea of ''feudalism'' was unknown and the system it describes was not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the Medieval Period. This section describes the history of the idea of feudalism, how the concept originated among scholars and thinkers, how it changed over time, and modern debates about its use.


Evolution of the concept

The concept of a feudal state or period, in the sense of either a regime or a period dominated by lords who possess financial or social power and prestige, became widely held in the middle of the 18th century, as a result of works such as Montesquieu's ''De L'Esprit des Lois'' (1748; published in English as ''
The Spirit of the Laws ''The Spirit of Laws'' (French: ''De l'esprit des lois'', originally spelled ''De l'esprit des loix'') is a treatise on political theory, as well as a pioneering work in comparative law, published in 1748 by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquie ...
''), and
Henri de Boulainvilliers Henri de Boulainvilliers (; 21 October 1658, Saint-Saire, Normandy – 23 January 1722, Paris) was a France, French nobleman, writer and historian. He was educated at the College of Juilly; he served in the army until 1697. Primarily remembered a ...
’s ''Histoire des anciens Parlements de France'' (1737; published in English as ''An Historical Account of the Ancient Parliaments of France or States-General of the Kingdom'', 1739). In the 18th century, writers of the Enlightenment wrote about feudalism to denigrate the antiquated system of the ''
Ancien Régime The '' Storming of the Bastille'' on 14 July 1789, later taken to mark the end of the ''Ancien Régime''; watercolour by Jean-Pierre Houël The Ancien Régime (; ; literally "old rule"), also known as the Old Regime, was the political and soc ...
'', or French monarchy. This was the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
when writers valued reason and the Middle Ages were viewed as the "
Dark Ages Dark Ages or Dark Age may refer to: History and sociology *Dark Ages (historiography), the use of the term ''Dark Ages'' by historians and lay people **Byzantine Dark Ages (7th–8th centuries), period of large-scale transformation but obscure du ...
". Enlightenment authors generally mocked and ridiculed anything from the "Dark Ages" including feudalism, projecting its negative characteristics on the current French monarchy as a means of political gain. Robert Bartlett. "Perspectives on the Medieval World" in ''Medieval Panorama'', 2001, For them "feudalism" meant seigneurial privileges and prerogatives. When the French Constituent Assembly abolished the "feudal regime" in August 1789 this is what was meant.
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
used the term "feudal system" to describe a social and economic system defined by inherited social ranks, each of which possessed inherent social and economic privileges and obligations. In such a system wealth derived from agriculture, which was arranged not according to market forces but on the basis of customary labour services owed by
serf Serfdom was the status of many peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial farmhand, agricultural laborer or a farmer with limited land-ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and tenant farmer, paying rent, tax, fee ...
s to landowning nobles.


Karl Marx

Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
also used the term in the 19th century in his analysis of society's economic and political development, describing feudalism (or more usually feudal society or the feudal
mode of production In the writings of Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. Born in Trier, German Confederation, ...
) as the order coming before
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
. For Marx, what defined feudalism was the power of the ruling class (the
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Ar ...
) in their control of arable land, leading to a
class society Class society or class-based society is an organizing principle society in which ownership of property, means of production, and wealth is the determining factor of the distribution of power, in which those with more property and wealth are strat ...
based upon the exploitation of the peasants who farm these lands, typically under
serfdom Serfdom was the status of many peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial farmhand, agricultural laborer or a farmer with limited land-ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and tenant farmer, paying rent, tax, fee ...
and principally by means of labour, produce and money rents. Marx thus defined feudalism primarily by its economic characteristics. He also took it as a paradigm for understanding the power-relationships between capitalists and wage-labourers in his own time: "in pre-capitalist systems it was obvious that most people did not control their own destiny—under feudalism, for instance, serfs had to work for their lords. Capitalism seems different because people are in theory free to work for themselves or for others as they choose. Yet most workers have as little control over their lives as feudal serfs." Some later Marxist theorists (e.g.
Eric Wolf Eric Robert Wolf (February 1, 1923 – March 6, 1999) was an anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
) have applied this label to include non-European societies, grouping feudalism together with Imperial Chinese and pre-Columbian Incan societies as 'tributary'.


Later studies

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
John Horace Round (John) Horace Round (22 February 1854 – 24 June 1928) was an historian and genealogist of the England in the Middle Ages, English medieval period. He translated the portion of Domesday Book (1086) covering Essex into English. As an expert in th ...
and
Frederic William Maitland Frederic William Maitland (28 May 1850 – ) was an English historian and lawyer who is regarded as the modern father of English legal history. Early life and education, 1850–72 Frederic William Maitland was born at 53 Guilford Street, Lo ...

Frederic William Maitland
, both historians of medieval Britain, arrived at different conclusions as to the character of English society before the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French ...
in 1066. Round argued that the Normans had brought feudalism with them to England, while Maitland contended that its fundamentals were already in place in Britain before 1066. The debate continues today, but a consensus viewpoint is that England before the Conquest had commendation (which embodied some of the personal elements in feudalism) while
William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English monarchs, monarch of Engl ...

William the Conqueror
introduced a modified and stricter northern French feudalism to England incorporating (1086) oaths of loyalty to the king by all who held by feudal tenure, even the vassals of his principal vassals (holding by feudal tenure meant that vassals must provide the quota of knights required by the king or a money payment in substitution). In the 20th century, two outstanding historians offered still more widely differing perspectives. The French historian
Marc Bloch Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (; ; 6 July 1886 – 16 June 1944) was a List of contemporary French historians, French historian. He was a founding member of the Annales School of French social history. Bloch specialised in medieval history and p ...

Marc Bloch
, arguably the most influential 20th-century medieval historian, approached feudalism not so much from a legal and military point of view but from a sociological one, presenting in ''Feudal Society'' (1939; English 1961) a feudal order not limited solely to the nobility. It is his radical notion that peasants were part of the feudal relationship that sets Bloch apart from his peers: while the vassal performed military service in exchange for the fief, the peasant performed physical labour in return for protection – both are a form of feudal relationship. According to Bloch, other elements of society can be seen in feudal terms; all the aspects of life were centered on "lordship", and so we can speak usefully of a feudal church structure, a feudal courtly (and anti-courtly) literature, and a feudal economy. In contradistinction to Bloch, the Belgian historian
François-Louis Ganshof François-Louis Ganshof (14 March 1895, Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives ...
defined feudalism from a narrow legal and military perspective, arguing that feudal relationships existed only within the medieval nobility itself. Ganshof articulated this concept in ''Qu'est-ce que la féodalité?'' ("What is feudalism?", 1944; translated in English as ''Feudalism''). His classic definition of feudalism is widely accepted today among medieval scholars,
Philip Daileader Philip Daileader is a Professor of History at The College of William and Mary in Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern Unite ...
, "Feudalism", ''The High Middle Ages'', Course No. 869,
The Teaching Company The Great Courses is a series of college-level audio and video courses produced and distributed by The Teaching Company, an American company based in Chantilly, Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. stat ...
,
though questioned both by those who view the concept in wider terms and by those who find insufficient uniformity in noble exchanges to support such a model. Although he was never formally a student in the circle of scholars around Marc Bloch and
Lucien Febvre Lucien Paul Victor Febvre (, ; 22 July 1878 – 11 September 1956) was a French historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, metho ...
that came to be known as the Annales School,
Georges Duby Georges Duby (7 October 1919 – 3 December 1996) was a French historian who specialised in the social and economic history of the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and col ...
was an exponent of the ''Annaliste'' tradition. In a published version of his 1952 doctoral thesis entitled ''La société aux XIe et XIIe siècles dans la région mâconnaise'' (''Society in the 11th and 12th centuries in the Mâconnais region''), and working from the extensive documentary sources surviving from the Burgundian monastery of Cluny, as well as the dioceses of
Mâcon Mâcon (), historically anglicised Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or un ...
and
Dijon Dijon (, , ) (dated) * it, Digione * la, Diviō or * lmo, Digion is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European langua ...
, Duby excavated the complex social and economic relationships among the individuals and institutions of the Mâconnais region and charted a profound shift in the social structures of medieval society around the year 1000. He argued that in early 11th century, governing institutions—particularly comital courts established under the
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historic ...
monarchy—that had represented public justice and order in Burgundy during the 9th and 10th centuries receded and gave way to a new feudal order wherein independent aristocratic knights wielded power over peasant communities through strong-arm tactics and threats of violence. In 1939 the Austrian historian subordinated the feudal state as secondary to his concept of a '' Personenverbandsstaat'' (personal interdependency state), understanding it in contrast to the territorial state. This form of statehood, identified with the Feudalism in the Holy Roman Empire, Holy Roman Empire, is described as the most complete form of medieval rule, completing conventional feudal structure of lordship and vassalage with the personal association between the nobility.  But the applicability of this concept to cases outside of the Holy Roman Empire has been questioned, as by Susan Reynolds. The concept has also been questioned and superseded in German histography because of its bias and reductionism towards legitimating the Führerprinzip.


Challenges to the feudal model

In 1974, the American historian Elizabeth A. R. Brown rejected the label ''feudalism'' as an anachronism that imparts a false sense of uniformity to the concept. Having noted the current use of many, often contradictory, definitions of ''feudalism'', she argued that the word is only a construct with no basis in medieval reality, an invention of modern historians read back "tyrannically" into the historical record. Supporters of Brown have suggested that the term should be expunged from history textbooks and lectures on medieval history entirely. In ''Fiefs and Vassals: The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted'' (1994),Reynolds, Susan, ''Fiefs and Vassals: The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994
Susan Reynolds Susan Reynolds (born 1929) is a British medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affa ...
expanded upon Brown's original thesis. Although some contemporaries questioned Reynolds's methodology, other historians have supported it and her argument. Reynolds argues:
Too many models of feudalism used for comparisons, even by Marxists, are still either constructed on the 16th-century basis or incorporate what, in a Marxist view, must surely be superficial or irrelevant features from it. Even when one restricts oneself to Europe and to feudalism in its narrow sense it is extremely doubtful whether feudo-vassalic institutions formed a coherent bundle of institutions or concepts that were structurally separate from other institutions and concepts of the time.
The term ''feudal'' has also been applied to non-Western societies in which institutions and attitudes similar to those of medieval Europe are perceived to have prevailed (See Examples of feudalism). Japan has been extensively studied in this regard. Friday notes that in the 21st century historians of Japan rarely invoke feudalism; instead of looking at similarities, specialists attempting comparative analysis concentrate on fundamental differences. Ultimately, critics say, the many ways the term ''feudalism'' has been used have deprived it of specific meaning, leading some historians and political theorists to reject it as a useful concept for understanding society. Richard Abels notes that "Western Civilization and World Civilization textbooks now shy away from the term 'feudalism'."Richard Abels, "The Historiography of a Construct: 'Feudalism' and the Medieval Historian." ''History Compass'' (2009) 7#3 pp: 1008–1031.


See also

* Bastard feudalism * * Cestui que * Examples of feudalism * English feudal barony * Feudal duties * Feudalism in the Holy Roman Empire * Investiture * Lehnsmann * Majorat * Neo-feudalism * ''Nulle terre sans seigneur'' * Protofeudalism * Quia Emptores * Scottish feudal barony * Statutes of Mortmain * Suzerainty * Vassal * Vassal state Military: * Knights * Medieval warfare Non-European: * Fengjian (Chinese) * Hacienda * History of Japan#Feudal Japan, Feudal Japan * Feudalism in Pakistan * Indian feudalism * Mandala (political model) * Ziamet * Zemene Mesafint


References


Further reading

* Bloch, Marc, ''Feudal Society.'' Tr. L.A. Manyon. Two volumes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961 * * Guerreau, Alain, ''L'avenir d'un passé incertain.'' Paris: Le Seuil, 2001. (Complete history of the meaning of the term.) * Poly, Jean-Pierre and Bournazel, Eric, ''The Feudal Transformation, 900–1200.'', Tr. Caroline Higgitt. New York and London: Holmes and Meier, 1991. * Reynolds, Susan, ''Fiefs and Vassals: The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994


Historiographical works

* * Brown, Elizabeth, 'The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and Historians of Medieval Europe', ''American Historical Review'', 79 (1974), pp. 1063–8. * Norman Cantor, Cantor, Norman F., ''Inventing the Middle Ages: The Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth century.'' Quill, 1991. * * Harbison, Robert. "The Problem of Feudalism: An Historiographical Essay", 1996, Western Kentucky University
online


End of feudalism

* Bean, J.M.W. ''Decline of English Feudalism, 1215–1540'' (1968) * Davitt, Michael. ''The fall of feudalism in Ireland: Or, The story of the land league revolution'' (1904) * ; compares Europe and Japan * Nell, Edward J. "Economic Relationships in the Decline of Feudalism: An Examination of Economic Interdependence and Social Change." ''History and Theory'' (1967): 313–350. in JSTOR * Okey, Robin. ''Eastern Europe 1740–1985: feudalism to communism'' (Routledge, 1986)


France

* Herbert, Sydney. ''The Fall of Feudalism in France'' (1921
full text online free
* Mackrell, John Quentin Colborne. ''The Attack on Feudalism in Eighteenth-century France'' (Routledge, 2013) * Markoff, John. ''Abolition of Feudalism: Peasants, Lords, and Legislators in the French Revolution'' (Penn State Press, 2010) *


External links


"Feudalism"
by Elizabeth A. R. Brown. ''
Encyclopædia Britannica Online An encyclopedia (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, Ameri ...
''.
"Feudalism?"
by
Paul Halsall Paul may refer to: *Paul (given name) Paul () is a common masculine given name in countries and ethnicities with a Christian heritage (Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Protestantism) and, beyond Europe, ...
.
Internet Medieval Sourcebook The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the Fordham University Fordham University () is a Private university, private Jesuit universities, Jesuit research university in New York City. Established in 1841 and named for the Fordha ...
.
"Feudalism: the history of an idea"
by Fredric Cheyette (Amherst), excerpted from ''New Dictionary of the History of Ideas'' (2004)
''Medieval Feudalism''
by Carl Stephenson. Cornell University Press, 1942. Classic introduction to Feudalism. * , by Robert Harbison, 1996,
Western Kentucky University Western Kentucky University is a public university in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was founded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1906, though its roots reach back a quarter-century earlier. It operates regional campuses in Glasgow, Kentucky, Glas ...
. {{Authority control Feudalism, 9th-century establishments in Europe 1861 disestablishments in Europe Social systems Political systems Economic systems