The Fall of the Carolingians• The Carolingian Empire fell following Charlemagne’s death in 814.• During the ninth and tenth centuries Western Europe was beset by a wave of invasions from different, foreign peoples which added to the disintegration.
The Invaders• Muslim Saracens attacked the southern coasts of Europe.• The Magyars came from western Asia and attacked central Europe.• The Vikings came from the north and attacked far and wide, raiding, pillaging, destroying cities and even defeating small armies.
The Development of Feudalism• Invaders posed a threat to the safety of the people, especially in the absence of a strong central government.• People began to turn to local landed aristocrats or nobles to protect them.• This change led to the new political and social system called feudalism.
The Development of Feudalism• At the heart of this system was the idea of vassalage.• It came from Germanic society, where warriors swore an oath to their leader.• Landowners would give pieces of their land to others in exchange for military service.• Therefore, a man who served a lord militarily was known as a vassal.
Feudalism• The relationship between lord and vassal was made official by a public act of homage of vassal to the lord.• Loyalty to one’s lord was feudalism’s chief virtue.
Feudalism• Feudalism came to be characterized by a set of unwritten rules known as the feudal contract.• These rules determined the relationship between lord and vassal.• The major obligation of a vassal was military service, about 40 days a year.
Feudalism• The land the lord granted to a vassal was known as a fief.• Kings had vassals who themselves had vassals who also had vassals.• Feudalism became extremely complicated.
Feudalism• Medieval feudal system classifies people into three social groups – those who fight: nobles and knights – those who pray: monks, nuns, leaders of the Church – those who work: peasants• Social class is usually inherited; majority of people are peasants
Knights• Almost all nobles were knights. In fact, you had to be a noble just to be a knight.• Training began at age 7, as a page, under the guidance of the lady of the manor.• Became squires at age 14-15 and were trained by other knights.• Those deemed worthy were “dubbed” knights around age 21.
Knights• Knights were equipped head to toe with reinforced armor.• Knights were notable for fighting atop a horse but also fought on foot.• Leather saddle and stirrups enable knights to handle heavy weapons - Lance - Broadsword - Mace - Morningstar• In the 700s, mounted knights became the most important part of an army.
Knights• As blacksmiths and armorers improved their metalworking skills, they developed plate armor.• The plates provided protection and ease of movement.• Each plate covered a different area and had a specific name, as shown in the drawing.• Plate armor was effective against cuts and thrusts, but it was very expensive and few could afford it.
Knights• The idea of feudalism worked and for a brief period of time, the invasions of foreign peoples ceased.• Trained as warriors but with no adult responsibilities, young knights began to hold tournaments (mock battles) in the twelfth century.• These were contests for knights to show their fighting skills.• The joust became the main attraction.
Knights• In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, under the influence of the Church, an ideal of civilized behavior among the nobility evolved.• It was called chivalry.• Knights were to defend the Church and defenseless people, treat captives as honored guests, and fight for glory and not material rewards.
• Can you think of a modern day chivalric code? Military? Police?• What about and example right here at Creekside?
Economics during Feudalism• The number of people almost doubled in Europe between 1000 and 1300, from 38 to 75 million people.• One reason is that increased stability and peace enabled food production to rise dramatically.• Food production increased also because a climate change improved growing conditions and more land was cleared for cultivation.• Europe had more farmland in 1200 than it does today.
The New Agriculture• Technological changes also aided farming.• Water and wind power began to do jobs once done by humans or animals.• Also, iron was used to make scythes, axes, hoes, saws, hammers, and nails.• Advances such as the carruca, a heavy, wheeled plow with an iron plowshare pulled by animal teams made farming much easier.
The Manorial System• Medieval landholding nobles were a military elite who needed the time to pursue the arts of war.• Peasants worked the lords’ landed estates on the fiefs of the vassals.• These estates provided the needed economic support for the nobles.• These agricultural estates were called manors.
The Manorial System• Increasing numbers of free peasants became serfs– peasants legally bound to the land.• Serfs worked the lord’s land, helped maintain the estate, paid taxes and rent, and were under the lord’s control.• By 800, probably 60 percent of western Europeans were serfs.
The Manorial System• Lords had a variety of legal rights over their serfs.• Serfs needed the lord’s permission to marry anyone outside of the manor and to leave the manor.• Often lords had the right to try peasants in their own courts.• Serfs, however, were not slaves.• Usually, a serf’s land could not be taken away, and serfs’ responsibilities were fixed.• The lord was obligated to protect his serfs.
Life of the Peasant• European peasant life was simple.• The peasants’ one- or two-room cottages were built with wood frames surrounded by sticks with a thatched roof.• They were very cramped and there was little privacy.
Life of the Peasant• The seasons largely determined peasant life and work.• Harvest time, August and September, was especially hectic.• In October, peasants prepared the ground for winter planting.• November brought the slaughtering of excess animals because usually there was not enough food to keep them alive all winter.• February and March brought plowing for spring planting.• Summer was a time for lighter work on the estates.
Life of the Peasant• A peasant’s life was not all labor because of the numerous Catholic feast days, or holidays.• The three great feasts were Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.• Other feast days were dedicated to saints or the Virgin Mary.• More than 50 days a year were essentially holidays.
The Manor• By 1100, large estate houses gave way to castles.• Many people made their homes at the castles including the lord, his family, knights and other warriors and their servants.• Castles dominated much of western Europe.
Warfare• Castles were also fortresses, designed for defense.• Castles were fortified with massive stone walls and guard towers.• Many large scale battles took place at these castles.• This type of warfare is known as siege warfare.• These battles were usually very gory.
Siege Warfare• Typically, siege warfare took place with an army surrounding a castle and cutting off food and supplies in attempt to capture it• If the people refused to surrender, they would assault the castle using a variety of weapons, such as catapults, battering rams, ballistas and siege towers• Defensively, the people in the castle would shoot arrows , pour scalding hot water or tar onto the attackers as well as launching projectiles of their own
Knights• Knights existed for several hundred years until technology and warfare forced them to abandon their way of fighting and adopt new practices.