I, John of Toul, affirm that I am the vassal of the Lady Beatrice, countess of Troyes, and of her son Theobald, count of Champagne, against every creature living or dead, excepting my allegiance to Lord Enjourand of Coucy, Lord John of Arcis, and the count of Grandpre. It it should happen that the count of Grandpre shhould be at war wwith the Countess and count of Champagne in his own quarrel, I will aid the count of Grandpre in my own person, and will aid the countess of Champagne by sending them the knights whose services I owe them from the fief which I hold from them.
Feudalism, then, was this system of a vassal being paid in land for his service to a king, because the king was not strong enought to defende his kingdom. The Vassal owned the land and the people on it, made laws, controlled and protected them, recieved taxes from them. Often, the knight, or lord, also had a religious house under his protection. So, medieval society during the Feudal era can be sad to have been divided into three kinds of people:
1. those who fight [10%]
2. those who toil [80%]
3. those who pray [10%]
A knight in the 9,10, and 11th, was a rough hewn warrior, wearing simple armour, riding a simple, powerful horse, and living in a wooden castle. A hard life.
Yet in 12th and 13th, with
a. revival of commerce
b. revival of royal or monarchical power
c. invention of the English longbow
The Feudal knight, becoming obsolete,
a. elaborate armour
b. courtly phrases
c. troubadour tradition
d. Fairy tale castles
From 8th century Beowulf to 14th century Sir Gawain
1050 1300 High Middle Ages, the end of Feudalism:
In the Past, towns were always Economic Parasites [Rome, Athens], consuming more than they produced. But in 11th century, towns became real Commercial Enterprises:
2. Industrial Activities
Towns usually started outside an old fortress, which in German was called a "burgh." By the 12th century, the town itself instead of the fortress, was referred to as the burgh, or "burough." Burough's were inhabited by "burghers" and "burgesses," who constituted a New Social Class, the "Bourgeosie."
Characteristics of New Bourgeosie:
Piety and Civic Mindedness were characteristics of citizens of the Ancient Greek Poleis, or City States. In the Middle Ages, coupled with increased prosperity, the result was the building of the great Gothic Cathedrals [Paris, Amiens, St Denis, Chartres, Laon, Lincoln, Canterbury] to serve as centers for the agrarian world. In Greece the result was the Parthenon, dedicated to the Goddess Athena, etc.
How Towns Developed:
1. Feudal Lords lost power, went away to Crusades, came home penniless. While they were gone, commercial markets began.
2. As Knighthood became more and more obsolete, and the Kings more powerful, and the world more porsperous, kings requested that landed Vassal knights pay him in money rather than in service, so that he could pay for mercenaries to fight wars. Mercenaries were better fighters than local people taken from the land [witness the slaughter at Maldon].
3. By 12th century, many knights realized there was a
great economic advantage for them to have a commercial
center on their land. Gave Town Charters. But they had to be forced to give up their power.
4. Townsmen stood up against the Landed Lords by using
taxes, and paid the lord a lump sum of money, a cash
Hence, the Revival of Europe, and the beginnign of modern commerce, learning, and civilization. After towns, people could not longer be divided into the three groups, those who fight, those who pray, and those who toil, again. From beginning of 11th, especially Europe comes creatively alive, and the strong monarchies of that time developed so far ahead of other areas, that they are still strong today: England, France, and Germany.