Emily Hennessy Josie Saetama English B 9/9/2010 Feudalism Feudalism in the Middle Ages consisted of many levels in society. If you were a king or queen, you were at the top of it all; if you were a peasant, you were the lowest class. There were ways to find out how you were placed in society; if you came from a royal family, you were on top. But, if you came from a poor family, you were the lowest in society, and worked for everyone above you. The feudal system existed during the Middle Ages and disappeared in the 1200’s. In the 1300’s kings had complete control while nobles had little power, and over time that changed so nobles gained more power. Feudalism is the system of exchanging land for military service and other types of work. The top of the feudal system was royalty – the king, queen, and anyone else in relation to them. The king would own his own kingdom and with this responsibility he would have to create laws, defend his own people, and keep peace among the nobles. The queens would come from powerful families, and were married to the king. The queen would also own a large piece of land, which she would bring with her. Having more land made the king more powerful. The level below the kings and queens are the lords. The lords collect taxes, and punish those who broke the law. They also looked over a manor, a part of the kingdom they lived on, and made sure everything was working as it should. The lords would also have a lot of servants and hisown vassal. His vassal would do anything for him, including obey, fight and provide warriors for war. The lords would usually give their vassals a fief, which is a small area of land, and they would take care of it. In return for the fief, the vassal did things in return for his lord. Emily Hennessy Josie Saetama English B 9/9/2010 After the lords were the nobles and ladies. Even though the nobles had less power than the king and queen, they were sometimes wealthier and the king sometimes did not have control over the nobles. The nobles would marry ladies. The ladies’ parents would choose who they would marry. The ladies also would have one child every year from the age of fourteen to thirty. Ladies would teach other girls how to run households and were responsible for all the house work. Knights were almost as important as nobles, but not quite. Over time, knights became nobles, but as knights they did other important tasks:they would fight on horsebackand they were the most important warriors. They would begin training at the age of seven, and continued practice at tournaments. They were very important in the kingdom because they fought wars and defended the people. The next part of the feudal system was the townspeople. They were mostly crafts people, weavers, goldsmiths, and food and beverage sellers. Townspeople earned their money by making and selling items. Most of the children would learn this craft as the age of seven years old. They were an important part of society because without them, there would be less inventions and things for everyone in the kingdom to use. The lowest level in the feudal system was the peasants. Peasants lived in small villages on a king’s manor. Their job was to farm and repair things. They worked to grow food for their family. Each peasant family owned a house and a small garden. Even though peasants seemed like they were the worst people in society, they still had an important part in helping the kingdom. If they were not around to farm, there wouldn’t be any food for people in the kingdom to eat. If the peasants did not repair things that were broken, that certain item could not be used again. Emily Hennessy Josie Saetama English B 9/9/2010 Overall, the feudal system ranked the people in each society by how high and royal they were. This is how it was organized in the Middle Ages and it was similarly organized like this through history and today.