Short Answer Hand-out Feudalism, the Church in the Middle Ages, and the Byzantines (?)
Questions and their page numbers
#1. Feudal rankings
I rank the lord above the vassal, because the vassal received his fief (parcel of land to oversee) from the lord. Becoming a vassal meant that you became someone’s lord by giving that person a vassal of his own. Each of these men was a noble.
And, only a noble became a knight! Knighthood often was imparted by an older noble prior to the youth obtaining his own land.
So far, we have lord, vassal, knight…
I rank next the troubadour because he roamed about freely but did not own any land.
The serf also owned NO land, but he was tied to the land and followed the land through transfer of ownership. The serf was not a slave because he was tied to the land. The serf was a peasant, but a peasant was not a serf. Peasants worked their parcel of land assigned them by the lord. The peasant improved his standard of living by the quality of work he performed. Peasants mended fences and repaired roads. By contrast, the serf had no means of advancing his station. He worked, and, in return, he received food, shelter, and protection.
So, lord, vassal, knight, troubadour, peasant, serf.
2. Fief vs. Manor
Fief was an estate of land of varying sizes
Included peasants and towns and buildings on the property
Fief was the estate granted from lord to vassal
Manor was the lord’s estate
Such self-sustaining estates included small villages whereby peasants provided for all of their basic needs by exchanging goods. No currency was involved.
3. Who earned a fief?
Why, of course, the vassal earned his fief from his lord! The implication is that the vassal must have been once a peasant OR a lord having fallen on hard times. Nowhere did the textbook say that a peasant did not have the opportunity to work his way into the status of vassal. Only the terms “tradition” and “custom” dictated the dispersal of fiefs.
4. Knight’s Code of Conduct
Ahhh… chivalry entailed placing ladies high upon a pedestal to be courted and admired and respected and protected
Further, knights held fellow knights in respect out of bravery, loyalty, and their word
We’ll discuss the chivalric code when we look more closely at Eleanor of Aquitaine
5. All of feudal society benefited
Knights protected the lord’s estate and often fought for the monarch over a lord’s holdings
Thus, ladies, peasants, serfs, troubadours, vassals, and other knights benefited from a knight adhering to the code of chivalry
I lean to thinking that a lady might be the MOST benefited from a knight’s behavior because of the love, honor, protect training
6. Power, influence, and control
Power: distribution of fiefs from lord to vassal (land, again)
Influence: leading knights to defend residents of the estate/manor
Control: serfs followed land, not owner
Who else would leave the comforts of home to tell others in distant places the Gospel?
Denominational leaders – like within the Southern Baptist Convention
Any rule-making, governing “body” within or as part of a church assembly
Pastors – they hold the party line, so to speak, of what the denominational people agree to
“ Preachin’” outside of accepted doctrine or biblical understanding led to disorganization and a loss of unity
10. Beguines (G not Q, thanks, Ellie)
Women of the Church
WOW (Women of the Word)
Lady Deacons, Deaconesses (with apologies to Wake Forest sports and John MacArthur)
11. Canon law, interdict, excommunication
“ The noble infringed upon canon law, or the body of laws imposed by the Church. He faced the priest’s interdict, or exclusion of the noble’s entire estate from taking the sacraments of the bread and grape juice or from receiving Christian burial. Such methods of the Church influenced nobles to act rightly and care for their land and people.”
“ Excommunication dealt the individual the heaviest blow.”
“ The interdict, by contrast, punished an entire region for one man’s transgressions. So, the occupants of that fief had to return in kind proper support to their noble or lord. Such support encouraged the lord to live in obedience to the will of the Church.”
12. Papal supremacy, tithe, sacraments, simony
“ In time, there came to be conflict between religious rule and secular rule. Sounds a lot like church and state issues, huh? Well, the Pope said that the Church ALONE had authority to appoint bishops and archbishops. They called this, papal supremacy. You see, the practice of simony – or the selling of church offices – was evidence of the sinful nature of Man. Monarchs and other highfalutin nobles were giving away church titles in exchange for even greater authority. Wealth and privilege had replaced meekness and humility in Christian life.
“ The tithe under local priests was seen a a tax to be collected from parishioners in order to support the goings-on of the Church. A tithe is ten percent of one’s income.”
Finally, I touched on sacraments in the last slide!
Businessmen pooled the resources of all investors in order to afford a larger scale venture that one man could not undertake alone
Capital (money for investment) became more easily available
Risks were minimized under partnership because you didn’t invest ALL you owned
14. Bill of Exchange
The merchants, traders, and artisans of the middle class used the bill of exchange most often.
Trading from one town to the next was safer and easier
Merchants weren’t required to keep gold or coin on hand
Bankers ultimately saw the potential for lending money via such a “note”
The arrival of currency brought a means to liberty for peasant classes; peasants could now sell farm produce and pay cash to their lords
15. Journeyman, apprentice, master
Surely, the master is the most important skilled craftsman of the three types. He holds the key to the economic drive to improve one’s lot
While the journeyman was not allowed to attain the standing of the master, he was allowed to roam about, ply his trade, and provide at best a meager income for his family
The lowly apprentice was at the behest of the master until his time of training came to an end
16. Craft vs. Merchant guilds
Merchants and artisans looked out for their own self interests in business; their symbiotic relationship led to conflict
Making money became the driving force to decision-making in the towns and villages, so it made perfectly greedy sense to organize with others of your own ilk so that together you might acquire greater power, influence, or control
Since merchant guilds appeared first, we’d have to say that the artisans acted in self-defense: not only did merchants have the ability to be tyrants in the affairs of the city but also in the exchange of goods by means of collusion
Collusion is a secret means of one group deceiving another; merchants could agree not to buy from a particular artisan or pay only a below market price for certain products
If you had the talent to construct a rocking chair, then you ought to make fair profit for your improvement to that bundle of sticks; surely it seemed unfair that the group making the most money had the least skills but the most capital
17. Justinian’s Code
Corpus juris civilis: body of civil law
We thank Rome for its principles in the arena of law
Justinian’s Code served the east and eventually the west
18. Byzantine’s language
It’s all Greek to me
Recall the influence of Alexander the Great in those regions; Hellenistic learning and the language of Paul made Greek a simple choice
19. Anna Comnena
An educated woman with the liberty to be critical of those in power and authority over her… wow!
Historian and critic of Emperor Alexius I (so what if he was her father!)
Precocious Procopius – another historian with a critical eye for how rulers could have and should have made other decisions in leadership
His primary works contain battle histories of the Byzantine campaign against the Persians and ruthless attacks upon Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora