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Feudal Europe

Despite devastating attacks of barbarous tribes, to the beginning of XI century formation of medieval Europe has begun, and feudal relations have developed enough to turn to a dominating social order.

"РЁхфэшх тхър" and "ёЁхфэхтхъютіх" - these indistinct, but capacious general terms often name the period of the European history approximately with 1000 to 1500 d.C. This epoch has played the major role in social and cultural development of the Old World.

Long enough Europe remained the edge deprived of natural resources where between rare and poorly populated settlements almost was roads. As a result trade hardly breathed, and the majority of cities and villages lived in isolation, making for itself all necessary. Not money, and barter were the main means of distribution. Over people and the whole cities threat of a poor harvest, hunger and attacks of the predatory tribes inevitably hung. To survive, it was necessary to beat off constantly from enemies, but the central power was often too weak or too far.


the Feudal system

All these circumstances have appreciably defined ways of formation of the European society which then name feudal. Aspiring to protect itself from dangers, people searched for protection at strong local governors, giving itself under their power.

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The Power of the feudal seigneur was fixed by solemn ritual in which course sjuzeren swore to protect the vassal (citizen). In the answer the vassal swore the sjuzerenu. So the local feudal lord got true citizens. However, for the sake of greater safety he and itself considered to become for the blessing the vassal of more powerful sjuzerena, and that, in turn, searched for protection at stronger the lord. So there was a chain of senorialno-vassal relations. The king or other sovereign to whom all higher nobility brought an oath of allegiance was its top link. The main feature of feudalism was that the status of the feudal lord has been strongly connected with two other public institutes - landed property and military service. In exchange on an oath of fidelity and the obligation to serve in an army the vassal received an allotment from the seigneur. It is called fefom or feodom (from here "¶хюфры" and "¶хюфрышчь").


Military service

The First service which vassals agreed to carry out, was military. Strictly established quantity of days in a year they have been obliged to be at the person of the king, having near at hand the armed group. From the point of view of a sovereign, it solved a problem of protection of kingdom. A huge ancestral lands allowed its vassals not only to fulfil the duty to the king, but also to type an army for own needs, distributing the earths to the vassals, and so on to the bottoms.

Were at the bottom of a feudal pyramid the ordinary knight received an estate or a manor allowing it to live from the seigneur, and also to contain a military armour and the fighting horse, capable to bear the horseman in full arms. For a year spent in retinue of sjuzerena, the knight could both serve the king, and to battle for it in fights, and to be at war on the party of the mister in local civil strifes, or to carry out more or less peace duties in one of the locks, which steels the major symbol feudal lords.


Medieval knights

In any medieval novel the protagonist - the knight was invariably sung. The majority of peasants were servami - not slaves, but the people who did not have a personal liberty and the right to leave the earth of the seigneur. In exchange on protection given by the mister they gave it a crop and cattle part, and also left corvee in its domain - on the earths the income with which went exclusively in favour of the feudal lord. The seigneur used also other various rights, and peasants in usual circumstances could not resist, as the feudal lord was not only an embodiment of economic and military power, but also their judge. And, at last, the tenth part of the crop, or desjatinu, servy Churches should give.


Double vassalitet

The Church was the Integral element of a feudal system. Archbishops, bishops and priory monasteries were large landowners and had own vassals and servov. The acute contradictions generated by these circumstance between a spiritual and secular role of Church became the reason of set of conflicts. The higher clergy was in double vassal submission - at the king and at the Pope. And kings continually quarrelled in the meantime with daddies for the right to appoint the higher church hierarches allocated with the considerable secular power.

Feudal Europe Actually, at all external comeliness of a feudal system with its solemn oaths and written contracts, in system bowels internal contentions ripened. To kings was rather uneasy to keep a tight rein on the magnates who undividedly corrected the ancestral lands and as fefy passed by right of succession from one member of family to another, appropriated local authorities more and more. If any ambitious king tried to strengthen the power or a weak sovereign absolutely let it go, the powerful vassal quite often showed open disobedience. When the crown appeared powerless - for example if the throne was inherited by the child - magnates even started private conflicts, being at war with each other. Therefore in the Middle Ages Europe mutinies constantly shook, civil strifes and civil wars.


Legal puzzles

Besides difficult contradictions in sphere of vassal dependence, feudalism has generated great variety legal nesurazits. If the person held fefy, welcomed by two different seigneurs or - than that is worse - in two different states whom he has been obliged to support and for whom to battle? Still the big confusion arose, when the king of one state owned territory of other country as the vassal. So, William the Conqueror was subject to nobody as the king of England but as the duke Norman was the vassal of the French king.

As the accurate form of the military organisation feudalism is better proved in short military campaigns, especially when it was required to expel from the country of the aggressor. Any far-reaching plans were much more difficult for realising because of the limited character of feudal duties. Vassals quite often refused to be at war outside of kingdom. Even being on service, they had the right to go home in 40 days, as did irrespective of a military situation. Therefore, if the purse allowed, seigneurs have been compelled to type a hired army. And as fefy were descended, many land owners have turned in due course from soldiers to landowners, preferring to pay off from military service with taxes.


Shaky empires

Feudal Europe Limitation of monarchs of that time in means and a freedom of movement speaks that fact that the huge European empire created by the king of francs by Charles the Great (771-814), has been doomed to short-lived existence, and from disintegration it was kept only by the outstanding person and huge authority of a sovereign. But even to Charles the Great all became more difficult to bridle the magnates, and the board of his son Louis Blagochestivogo (814-40) has been saddened by mutinies and civil wars. Has not passed also three years after Louis Blagochestivogo's death as the empire was divided among themselves by his sons. Soon the western and east francs were divided into two independent kingdoms with so not similar languages and traditions that in due course everyone has received the name - France and Germany.

In both kingdoms the central power was so is weak that many French provinces and German duchies long time kept real independence. All IX and the beginning of X century Europe endured serious difficulties, and from time to time it seemed that it will fail under blows of external enemies. In the south Islam constantly rattled the sabre. In Spain where under the power of Christian sovereigns there was only extreme north, threat of the further Muslim expansion did not weaken. On Mediterranean sea the Arabian fleet, winning behind a victory, has grasped Sicily and other islands, able to serve as a springboard for intrusion on continent. The central Europe was devastated by the furious nomad tribes who have come from the east of pagans-Magyars (Hungarians). Not less terrible Vikings terrorised coast of the Western Europe, swimming away on the rivers is far deep into continent and here and there starting to master the grasped territory.


Christianity Distribution

And still Christian Europe has managed to survive. Barbarous tribes or left, or peacefully got accustomed on the new earths. To the beginning of X century lodged in England and Normandy (France) Vikings have accepted Christianity, and in due course and a way of life of the western Christians, having dissolved in English and French the people. By the end of century has been turned into Christianity and the most part of their Scandinavian native land. In the east the king of Germen of Otgon I has inflicted shattering defeat over Magyars in battle at Lehfelde (955). After some years they too have renounced paganism, and the Christianity has had an opportunity to begin powerful expansion on the East.

Sicily has been again won by Normans, descendants of the Vikings who have grasped this French province. In 1066 these people tempered in fights have won England, a number of territories in Italy, and later have played the important role in crusades. The special attention is deserved by conquest of England for William the Conqueror has established extremely severe feudal structure in the new domain.


the dynasty End

Feudal Europe In X century the dynasty Karolingov - Charles the Great descendants - has died away both in France, and in Germany. However the idea of the western emperor crowned by the daddy up to the end has not died away, and in 962, after a historical victory over Hungarians and successful intrusion into Italy, Otgon I has accepted from hands of the daddy an imperial crown. From this point on the German kings have assigned greatness and heavy burden of the power of emperors of Sacred Roman empire to the shoulders, trying to keep under the control Germany and Northern Italy. Though Otgon and its successors were strong enough to enthrone and dethrone Popes, however in XI century the papal power has managed to find new resources, and full of secret intrigues, and frequently open enmity of the relation between emperors and the Holy See of a steel of one of great dramas of the Middle Ages. Perhaps, the episode when after the next quarrel emperor Henry IV has been forced to be sorry submissively about daddy Grigory VII became the most dramatic moment, standing in rubishche in the winter of 1077 at lock Kanossa gate. By the end of XI century Europe already was on lifting. The population grew, the new earths swung open, value of cities and trade increased. In all social classes - from knights to peasants - there was no lack of those who thirsted the new earths and freedom. By the end of century the Western Europe was so assured of the power that has dared to undertake a campaign to East Mediterranean. So the historical First crusade has begun.