Chapter 2: The Development of Feudalism in

Chapter 2: The Development of Feudalism in Western Europe—Outline
A. Feudalism developed after the fall of Rome in 476 CE in Europe.
B. The Middle Ages are divided into three periods: 1) The Early Middle
Ages (476-1000 CE); 2) The High Middle Ages (1000-1300 CE); and
3) The Late Middle Ages (1300-1450 CE).
C. Roman Empire fell at the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and life was
very dangerous and difficult, due to invaders.
D. Feudalism is a system where the Lord (a ruler or powerful landowner)
protects the people and the knights (armed warriors) fight for the lord,
while the peasants (workers) worked the land and were not free to leave.
E. We are going to learn about people’s difficulties and the rise of feudalism.
II. Western Europe During the Middle Ages
A. Barbarians invaded Rome and left Europe with no government and
B. Franks were a powerful group because they used a new style of war that
used knights on horseback.
C. Clovis, was the king of the Franks at the age of 15, and defeated the last
Roman army and expanded his kingdom.
D. Clovis became a Christian and married one also and converted to Roman
Catholic Church and many people followed him.
E. Charlemagne was the most important leader of the Franks because he
ruled for over 40 years, encouraged education and scholarship, and unified
all the Christian lands of Europe in a single empire.
F. Charlemagne built his empire with the help of the Pope Leo III and the
support of the church and was crowned Holy Roman emperor.
G. Charlemagne’s death brought the empire to an end, but he helped spread
feudalism by rewarding kings with land and privileges.
H. Western Europe was threatened by Muslims, Magyars, and Vikings in the
9th and 10th centuries.
I. The Vikings were known for their raids and struck fear in people because
they were fierce warriors.
J. People who were invaded by the Vikings feared for their lives.
K. Feudalism was set up in Europe to protect themselves from Viking
III. Feudalism: Establishing Order
A. The feudal system provided people with protection and safety since it was set
up during the High Middle Ages.
B. Under the feudal system, all land belonged to the monarch (king); the church
also owned lots of land; lords, who became vassals, received some land grants
(fiefs); lords supplied king with knights during war; all this was written down
in a contract.
C. Peasants were at the bottom in society and they rented land from lords to work
it for their own land and could not leave.
D. A manor is a large estate that includes a castle, villages, and farmland and
the lords and knights live in the castle and the peasants produce everything
for the castle.
E. People born during the Middle Ages stayed in the same social class for life
and had the same jobs as their parents.
Monarchs During Feudal Times
A. Kings and queens were the rulers during feudal times and they kept things safe
and protected the people.
B. Divine rights of kings—the idea that God gave kings the right to rule, was
believed by the monarchs and some had more power than others.
C. Monarchs became strong during the Middle Ages, due to invasions from Vikings
and Saxons and the kings came from Saxon and Norman families.
D. William was the powerful Duke of Normandy and invaded England and took
power and became William the conqueror.
E. Due to feudalism, strong rulers stabilized England and almost all of Europe.
V. Lords and Ladies During Feudal Times
A. The highest ranking class in feudal society was the nobility, which was made up
of lords and ladies and they lived on manors.
B. Manors were made of wood or stone and were surrounded by gardens and stables
and they were protected by moats (high walls).
C. Manors were located in the center of the community and it was the place of
celebrations and feasts.
D. Kings and queens, high-ranking officials, and the wealthy lived in castles and the
castle was used for military technology.
E. Castles were 1st built with wood and surrounded by high wooden fences and the
strongest part was the motte, which was on a hilltop and this was connected to a
bailey (where most people lived).
F. Many castles had tall towers with storerooms, libraries, dining hall, guest
bedrooms, and the lords and ladies rooms’.
G. The lord’s defended their land and people and made sure that people followed the
laws and punished those that broke the laws.
H. Women had all the powers of men except they did not fight in wars: they were
judges and gave out orders.
I. Regular women raised children, took care of the house, cooked, served, and made
arts and crafts.
J. Lords and ladies also hunted, feasted, danced, played board games, and read
books; ladies also did embroidery and sewing.
K. Nobles and monarchs’ homes were lit with candles and fires, they had no privacy,
fleas and lice infected their homes, they bathed only once a week, clothes were
not washed, and disease and war affected them a lot.
VI. Knights During Feudal Times
A. Knights were soldiers on horseback with some wealth, a suit of armor, and had a
horse that cost a small fortune.
B. To become a knight you had to train for many years; you started as a page or
servant at the age of 7 and lived in the castle and started by learning to ride a
horse and received prayers from the priests.
C. The 1st stage was spend with ladies who taught them to sing, dance, compose
music, and play the harp and these were all valuable skills for knights.
D. After 7 years, the boy would become a squire and spent his time with the knights,
polishing the knight’s armor, sword, shield, and lance and basically meeting every
need of the knight.
E. Squires trained to be warriors with swords, lances, battle-axes, and mace and they
helped the knight get dressed for battle and helped the wounded.
F. Squires became knights in their early 20s, by praying the night before and
wearing a white tunic, he would kneel down in front of the lord who would knight
G. Being a knight was a way of life and they had a strong code of behavior called
chivalry, where they had to be loyal to the church and lord and protect the
helpless and kind to women.
H. Jousts and tournaments were a big part of a knight’s life, it was a sport, done for
exercise, or as a serious battle.
I. Knights wore a heavy suit of armor for protection during battle.
J. Knighthood lasted until the 1800s, when warfare changed with gunpowder and
VII. Peasants During Feudal Times
A. Peasants were the largest group during the Middle Ages and they did most of the
work on the land.
B. Peasants were made up of 2 categories: 1) free peasants rented land from the
lords; and 2) unfree peasants were called serfs and they farmed the lord’s fields
and were not allowed to leave.
C. Most peasants grew crops and took care of the animals, but others were
carpenters, shoemakers, metalworkers, and other skilled workers; women mostly
took care of their children and worked the fields when needed.
D. Serfs owed “head money” (taxes); sometimes lords demanded tallage (tax when
needed); during a marriage the male and female and her father had to pay a fee
called merchet.
E. Serfs milled grains and gave a portion to the lord and the lords demanded what
they wanted, which the serfs didn’t like, so they kept hand mills in their homes.
F. Peasants lived in one or two room houses made of straw and mud with little to no
furniture and no chimney and also lived with their animals.
G. Vegetables, meat, and bread were eaten by peasants; meat and fish was eaten
during winter and herbs were used to flavor food.