Lords, Vassals, and Peasants:

Feudalism in Medieval Europe





Three Medieval Estates

The Oath of Fealty
(Roland & Charlemagne)

Peasants in the Village


Š    What is feudalism?  What cultural values and beliefs underpinned it?

Š    Why did it emerge as the dominant form of social and political organization in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries?


Key Terms

1) feudalism

2) lord and vassal

3) serfs

4) fief

5) homage and fealty

6) Magna Carta

7) habeas corpus



I.  Feudalism:  Definitions and Origins


Š      Personal Relationships, Mutual Obligations, and Decentralized Authority


            1) Social and Economic:  Manorialism

            2) Political and Military:  Lords, Vassals, & “Private” Power

            3) Cultural:  Hierarchy, Estate, and Identity








II.  Those Who Fight:  Lords and Vassals


Š      Personal Ties and Mutual Obligations







III. The Legacy of Feudalism


Š    Obligation, Duty, Hierarchy, and Status


Š    Stability and the Tepid Renewal of Urban Life