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Causes of Feudalism

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    Posted: 02-Feb-2005 at 04:01
I am delivering a sample lesson on feudalism for my high school class (I'm actually a biology teacher... it's a long story). 

I am wondering why we don't see more examples of feudalism.  What conditions are required for feudalism to appear?  Would organized crime be a rough example of feudalism?

Can anyone think of an answer to the question "Why is it important to understand feudalism as practiced in Europe during the Middle Ages"?   And I mean, a concrete, real-life reason, not simply for sake of scholarship (which is important, don't get me wrong).

Thanks for any responses. 
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  Quote Exarchus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2005 at 09:32
Well, feudalism wasn't made in a single shot IMO. It was rather a progressive evolution. Though the first root was Charlemagne and the counts. They were appointed by him and had to make report every years to Charlemagne about the situation in their county. They were co ruler with the church.

Then the big step was in Toulouse, after Peppin II, king of Aquitaine grew unpopular in his kingdom (he was allied with the vikings who killed a lot of people). Actually, he appointed Frdelon as count of Toulouse and Frdelon payed hommage to Charles the Bald, son of Louis the Pious himself son of Charlemagne,  rather (who was just defeated by Nomino in Britanny).  After the final defeat of Peppin II with his viking allies, Frdelon was allowed to see his son succeed him (I think it was Raimond I, gotta check it though) and was the first dynastic branch of counts. Before that they were appointed by the king. Charles then had to face many other counts who wanted the same right than the counts of Toulouse.

For the Duchy, they always were more independant than the counts. Though, each duchy has a different foundation and they also ruled as vassals of a king (Duchy of Normandy and Britanny were part of France for example).

Great duchy (like Luxembourg or Lithuania) were independant of a kingdom even if sometime they were allied with a kingdom (republic of the two nations, or Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth).

Feudalism proved rather unefficient, for example, in France the king could be captured and rancounced if he wandered in his vassals' lands.
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  Quote Aristoteles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2005 at 09:45

I don't think Feudalism was unique in the middle ages or in Europe. Feudal-like societies existed from the 3rd millenia BC in many places and there is good reason (and few evidence) to believe that some form of feudalism was the one of the primal social and political organizations used by humans.

Usually in history similar conditions produce similar results. Never identical, because the variables when talking about human societies, are countless. But similar, nevertheless.

The Medieval Fedualism is practically the adoption of the tribal hierarchy to the declining roman world, with defining parameters the absence of a strong central authority, the lack of literacy, security and organization - an odd hybrid, really. But there was nothing unique in it, except - perhaps - the form and etiquette (feudal contracts, obligations etc. etc.)

It was present as a social organization and we have sort-of-serfs (peasants considered part of the property-land) in previous societies as well.

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2005 at 16:08

I read that the development of the saddle played an important role in the emergence of feuldalism. Horsemen would defend villagers from bandits and brigands and in exchange the villagers would give them a form of protection money.

As the leading barbarian succesor states in the area grew and conquered the lesser states the horsemen or knights would keep their land but owe homage to the conquering king. This would save the conquerors having to supply costly garrisons.

This basic system refined over time and the obligations became more concrete. But the role of the knight protecting his peasants eventual became true officially only.

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  Quote Degredado Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Feb-2005 at 12:57
Well, the history books says that it all started with Karl Gross of the Frankish empire, trying to find a suitable way to administer his domains. Other history books say that the precedents of feudalism could be seen during the last years of the Roman empire, with the decline of cities, and growing importance of the rural environment.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Feb-2005 at 00:29
Thanks. I found the information helpful, as it will buttress some of my explanation.  However, few of my questions were addressed.  If anyone has anything to add, I would appreciate it.

Another question:  I have seen arguments that the decline in currency was a major aspect of feudalism, and that feudalism cannot survive when a stable currency has been adopted.  Any thoughts?
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  Quote Exarchus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Feb-2005 at 01:09
Originally posted by Degredado

Well, the history books says that it all started with Karl Gross of the Frankish empire, trying to find a suitable way to administer his domains. Other history books say that the precedents of feudalism could be seen during the last years of the Roman empire, with the decline of cities, and growing importance of the rural environment.


Karl des Grosse is the German name for Charlemagne.
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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Feb-2005 at 10:01

well I give it a shot to address your questions more fully.

starting with organized crime. Useing the definition of Fuedalisium supplied by wikipe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudal it is not an exact match in the case of the protection rackets run in those circles. As the lords of organised crime do not own the property that they are suppling protection to. If you look at organised crime more broadly it does have some distinct fudeal elements. the head of a "family" owing certan things to those under his camand and visea versa. Particullarly if you believe that the "Sapranos" is an accurate depiction of the situation.

There is several exaples of feudalisum Here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism_%28examples%29

Conditions for feudalisum are harder. An agrocultural based ecomomy working mostly on barder rather than cash, a need for protection, social status conected to land ownership, lack of strong centralized government with a standing professional army, things like that. 

as to a reason to study it I think on that more.

 

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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Feb-2005 at 10:02

well I give it a shot to address your questions more fully.

starting with organized crime. Useing the definition of Fuedalisium supplied by wikipe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudal it is not an exact match in the case of the protection rackets run in those circles. As the lords of organised crime do not own the property that they are suppling protection to. If you look at organised crime more broadly it does have some distinct fudeal elements. the head of a "family" owing certan things to those under his camand and visea versa. Particullarly if you believe that the "Sapranos" is an accurate depiction of the situation.

There is several exaples of feudalisum Here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism_%28examples%29

Conditions for feudalisum are harder. An agrocultural based ecomomy working mostly on barder rather than cash, a need for protection, social status conected to land ownership, lack of strong centralized government with a standing professional army, things like that. 

as to a reason to study it I think on that more

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2005 at 11:33
Thanks again.

Could it be said that our present-day aristocratic titles (Duke, Earl, Count) arose from feudalism?  In other words, if feudalism had never appeared, would these titles likely still be in existence?
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  Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2005 at 16:00
the titles have existed before Feudalism
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2005 at 22:52
You're right, thanks.
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  Quote druidebaron.nl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Feb-2005 at 18:00
It might be interesting to know that not everywhere in western Europe the feudal system was developed during medieval times.
Examples are Frisia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eala_Freya_Fresena
http://www.i-friesland.com/history.html
and the Swiss republics
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