Feudalism

feudalfeudal systemfeudal lordfeudal societyfeudal lawfeudalisticFeudal monarchyfeudal lordsfeudal statefeudalist
Feudalism was a combination of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries.wikipedia
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Vassal

vassalsvassalagefeudatory
The classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.
A vassal is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe.

Nobility

noblemannoblenobles
The classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.
In the feudal system (in Europe and elsewhere), the nobility were generally those who held a fief, often land or office, under vassalage, i.e., in exchange for allegiance and various, mainly military, services to a suzerain, who might be a higher-ranking nobleman or a monarch.

Lord

lordshipseigneurseigneurs
The classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.
Under the feudal system, "lord" had a wide, loose and varied meaning.

Peasant

peasantspeasantrycampesinos
A broader definition of feudalism, as described by Marc Bloch (1939), includes not only the obligations of the warrior nobility but also those of all three estates of the realm: the nobility, the clergy, and the peasantry bound by manorialism; this is sometimes referred to as a "feudal society".
A peasant is a pre-industrial agricultural laborer or farmer with limited land ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and paying rent, tax, fees, or services to a landlord. In Europe, peasants were divided into three classes according to their personal status: slave, serf, and free tenant.

Manorialism

manormanorsmanorial
A broader definition of feudalism, as described by Marc Bloch (1939), includes not only the obligations of the warrior nobility but also those of all three estates of the realm: the nobility, the clergy, and the peasantry bound by manorialism; this is sometimes referred to as a "feudal society".
An essential element of feudal society, manorialism was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market economy and new forms of agrarian contract.

Spring and Autumn period

Spring and AutumnChunqiuthe Spring and Autumn period
Some have taken the feudalism analogy further, seeing feudalism (or traces of it) in places as diverse as Spring and Autumn period in China, ancient Egypt, the Parthian empire, the Indian subcontinent and the Antebellum and Jim Crow American South.
During the Spring and Autumn period, China's feudal system of fengjian became largely irrelevant.

Indian feudalism

feudalism in Indiafeudalfeudalism
Some have taken the feudalism analogy further, seeing feudalism (or traces of it) in places as diverse as Spring and Autumn period in China, ancient Egypt, the Parthian empire, the Indian subcontinent and the Antebellum and Jim Crow American South.
Indian feudalism refers to the feudal society that made up India's social structure until independence in 1947.

Middle Ages

medievalmediaevalmedieval Europe
Feudalism was a combination of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries.
Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, and feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.

Fengjian

fieffeudalChinese feudalism
Wu Ta-k'un argued that China's fengjian, being kinship-based and tied to land controlled by the king, were entirely distinct from feudalism.
But scholarship has suggested that fengjian otherwise lacks some of the fundamental aspects of feudalism.

Shōgun

shogunateShogunBakufu
Outside of a European context, the concept of feudalism is often used by analogy, most often in discussions of feudal Japan under the shōguns, and sometimes Zagwe dynasty in medieval Ethiopia, which had some feudal characteristics (sometimes called "semifeudal").
Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the central government and aristocracy and established a feudal system based in Kamakura in which the private military, the samurai, gained some political powers while the Emperor and the aristocracy remained the de jure rulers.

François-Louis Ganshof

François Louis GanshofF. L. GanshofFrançois-L. Ganshof
The classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.
Here he defines feudalism narrowly, in simple legal and military terms.

Susan Reynolds

Reynolds, SusanS. M. G. Reynolds
Since the publication of Elizabeth A. R. Brown's "The Tyranny of a Construct" (1974) and Susan Reynolds's Fiefs and Vassals (1994), there has been ongoing inconclusive discussion among medieval historians as to whether feudalism is a useful construct for understanding medieval society.
Susan Reynolds (born 1929) is a British medieval historian whose book Fiefs and Vassals: the Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted (1994) was part of the attack on the concept of feudalism as classically portrayed by previous historians such as François-Louis Ganshof and Marc Bloch.

Elizabeth A. R. Brown

Brown, Elizabeth A. R.
Since the publication of Elizabeth A. R. Brown's "The Tyranny of a Construct" (1974) and Susan Reynolds's Fiefs and Vassals (1994), there has been ongoing inconclusive discussion among medieval historians as to whether feudalism is a useful construct for understanding medieval society.
Elizabeth Atkinson Rash Brown (born February 16, 1932), is a Professor Emerita of History at Brooklyn College, of the City University of New York, a scholar and published author, known for her writings on feudalism.

Examples of feudalism

feudal superiorfeudal statesfeudal
These are examples; depending on the period of time and location in Europe, feudal customs and practices varied; see examples of feudalism.
Examples of feudalism are helpful to fully understand feudalism and feudal society.

The Wealth of Nations

Wealth of NationsAn Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of NationsAdam Smith
In the 18th century, Adam Smith, seeking to describe economic systems, effectively coined the forms "feudal government" and "feudal system" in his book Wealth of Nations (1776).
Chapter 10, part ii, motivates an understanding of the idea of feudalism.

Manorial court

court baronmanor courtcourts baron
In addition, the vassal could have other obligations to his lord, such as attendance at his court, whether manorial, baronial, both termed court baron, or at the king's court.
The manorial courts were the lowest courts of law in England during the feudal period.

Manor

manorswastehavezate
At the level of the manor this might be a fairly mundane matter of agricultural policy, but also included sentencing by the lord for criminal offences, including capital punishment in some cases.
The proper unit of tenure under the feudal system is the fee (or fief), on which the manor became established through the process of time, akin to the modern establishment of a "business" upon a freehold site.

Carolingian Empire

CarolingianCarolingian eraFrankish Empire
Feudalism, in its various forms, usually emerged as a result of the decentralization of an empire: especially in the Carolingian Empire in 8th century AD/CE, which lacked the bureaucratic infrastructure necessary to support cavalry without allocating land to these mounted troops.
Martel was also the founder of the feudal system and that marked the Carolingian Empire, and Europe in general during the Middle Ages, though his son and grandson would gain credit for his innovations.

Homage (feudal)

homageliege lordliege
This was done at a formal and symbolic ceremony called a commendation ceremony, which was composed of the two-part act of homage and oath of fealty.
Homage (from Medieval Latin hominaticum, lit. "pertaining to a man") in the Middle Ages was the ceremony in which a feudal tenant or vassal pledged reverence and submission to his feudal lord, receiving in exchange the symbolic title to his new position (investiture).

Ancien Régime

ancien regimeOld RegimeAncien Régime in France
In the 18th century, writers of the Enlightenment wrote about feudalism to denigrate the antiquated system of the Ancien Régime, or French monarchy.
The Ancien Régime (French for "former regime") was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages (circa 15th century) until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the.

Commendation ceremony

commendatecommendationhomage
This was done at a formal and symbolic ceremony called a commendation ceremony, which was composed of the two-part act of homage and oath of fealty.
When two men entered into a feudal relationship, they underwent a ceremony known as commendation ceremony.

Fief

fiefdomfeeseigneurie
The classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.
A fief (feudum) was the central element of feudalism.

Serfdom

serfserfsvillagers
Russia finally abolished serfdom in 1861.
Serfdom is the status of many peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism, and similar systems.

China

People's Republic of ChinaChineseCHN
Some have taken the feudalism analogy further, seeing feudalism (or traces of it) in places as diverse as Spring and Autumn period in China, ancient Egypt, the Parthian empire, the Indian subcontinent and the Antebellum and Jim Crow American South.
Some observers see the period following the establishment of the PRC in 1949 as a continuation of traditional Chinese dynastic history, while others claim that the Communist Party's rule has damaged the foundations of Chinese culture, especially through political movements such as the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, where many aspects of traditional culture were destroyed, having been denounced as "regressive and harmful" or "vestiges of feudalism".

Bastard feudalism

affinityretainerretainers
Bastard feudalism is a somewhat controversial term invented by 19th century historians to characterize the form feudalism took in the Late Middle Ages, primarily in England in the Late Middle Ages.