The Rise of Feudalism - Mr. Harmon`s Classes

Chapter 2: The Development of Feudalism in Western Europe
Teacher Notes
2.1 Introduction
What is feudalism?
The Middle Ages are divided into three period.
1. The Early Middle Ages (476 to 1000 C.E.)
2. The High Middle Ages (1000 to 1300 C.E.)
3. The Late Middle Ages (1300 to 1450 C.E.)
2.2 Western Europe during the Middle Ages
A. After Rome fell in 476 C.E., Europe was left with no central government or
system of defense.
B. The Franks ~ new style of warfare
1. Knights ~ heavily armed warriors who fought on horseback
2. In return for their loyalty and service, the ruler rewarded knights with
land and privileges.
C. Clovis
1. Defeated the last great Roman army in Gaul.
2. Widened the boundaries of the Frankish kingdom
3. Lead the Franks into Christianity
D. Charlemagne’s Empire
1. Encouraged education and scholarship
2. Unified all the Christian lands into a single empire
3. Crowned Holy Roman Emperor
E. A Need for Order and Protection
1. 9th and 10th centuries experienced new European invasions
a. Muslims ~ Africa to Spain
b. Magyars ~ Central Asia to Eastern Europe
c. Vikings ~ Norway, Sweden, Denmark to all areas of Europe
2. A need for protection led to the development of Feudalism
2.3 Feudalism: Establishing Order
A. Feudalism had been developed by the High Middle Ages (about 1000 C.E.)
B. People were bound to one another by promises of loyalty
C. A social class was established
1. Monarchs (kings or queens)
2. Lords and Ladies (Nobles)
3. Knights and Vassals
4. Peasants and Serfs
D. People were born into a social class for life.
2.4 Monarchs during Feudal Times
A. The monarchs were at the top of feudal society
B. Monarchs believed in the divine right of kings, God had given them the right
to rule.
1. Depended on the nobles to provide knights and soldiers to defend the
C. England was ruled by Saxons by the mid 11th century.
D. William, the Duke of Normandy, invaded England in 1066 C.E.
1. Defeated his cousin Harold at the Battle of Hastings
2. New nickname, William the Conqueror.
3. Established a line of Norman kings.
E. William brought feudalism institutions from Europe to England.
2.5 Lords and Ladies during Feudal Times
A. The nobility was the highest-ranking class in medieval society.
B. Manor Houses
1. Built of wood or stone, protected by high walls, and sometimes a moat
2. Center of the community
3. Shelter in times of trouble
4. Great hall used for court and for festivities
C. Castles
1. Main function was a home for kings and queens, high-ranking nobles,
and wealthy lords
2. One of the most important forms of military technology.
a. built to provide protection.
b. visual reminders of social class barriers
3. Earliest castles were built of wood.
4. After 1100 C.E. most castles were built of stone
D. The Responsibilities and Daily Life of Lords and Ladies
1. The lord was responsible to manage and defend his land and the people
who worked it.
2. The lord acted as judge in manor courts and had the power to fine and
punishes those who broke the law.
3. In times of war, the lord fought for higher-ranking lords
4. Noblewomen sometimes held power and performed the same duties as
the men except for fighting.
5. Ladies had many responsibilities
a. Raise and train children
b. Oversee the household and household staff
c. Oversee entertainment
6. Entertainments
a. hunting and hawking
b. feasting and dancing
c. board games such as chess
d. ladies did embroidery
7. Disadvantages
a. Manor homes and castles were gloomy and cold
b. no privacy
c. fleas and lice
d. people bathed only once a week and clothes were not washed
e. Diseases affected the rich as well as the poor
f. The threat of war was ever-present.
2.6 Knights during Feudal Times
A. Becoming a Knight
1. A boy started as a page, or servant.
2. At seven, he left home and went to live in the castle.
a. Learned to ride a horse and received religious instruction
b. ladies taught pages how to sing, dance, and play the harp
4. After seven years, the page became a squire.
a. cared for a knight’s weapons and horse
b. had weapons training
5. Early 20s, a squire became a knight
a. special religious ceremony in becoming a knight
b. The lord drew his sword, touched the knight-to-be lightly on
each shoulder with the flat side of the blade, and knighted him.
B. The Responsibilities and Daily Life of Knights
1. Knights lived by a strong code of behavior called chivalry
2. Knights competed in jousts and tournaments.
3. Knights lasted until about the 17th century when gunpowder was
2.7 Peasants during Feudal Times
A. The majority of the population was peasants
1. Peasants were free and rented land from lords
2. Serfs were not free and farmed the lord’s fields in return they received
a small plot of land of their own to farm.
B. Peasants had to pay a yearly tax to the lord.
C. Serfs had to grind their grain at the lord’s ill. The miller kept a non-fixed
portion of the grain for the lord and for himself.
D. Peasants lived in small houses of one to two rooms. Sometimes they also
housed their farm animals inside.
2.8 Summary
The feudal system arose as a way of protecting property. Daily life was different
for the various social classes. One common link for the people in Western Europe was
the Catholic Church.
1. barbarian – a person belonging to a tribe or group that is considered uncivilized
2. Christianity – the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ
3. Roman Catholic Church – the Christian church headed by the pope in Rome
4. pope – the bishop of Rome and supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church
5. monarch – a ruler, such as a king or queen
6. fief – land granted by a lord to a vassal in exchange for loyalty and service
7. manor – a large estate, including farmland and villages, held by a lord
8. divine right of kings – the belief that God gives monarchs the right to rule
9. noble – a person of high rank by birth or title
10. duke – the highest type of European noble, ranking just below a prince
11. moat – a deep, wide ditch, often filled with water
12. hierarchy – a system of organizing people into ranks, with those of higher rank
having more power and privileges
13. armor – a covering, usually made of metal or leather, worn to protect the body
during fighting
14. chivalry – the medieval knight’s code of ideal behavior, including bravery,
loyalty, and respect for women