Feudalism and the Decline of the Roman Empire

485 Words2 Pages
The gradual decline of the Roman Empire ushered in an era of European history called the Middle Ages, or the medieval period. It spanned the years from 500 to 1500. During these centuries, a new society emerged that had roots in the classical heritage of Rome, the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, and the customs of various Germanic tribes. The feudal system was based on rights and obligations. In exchange for protection and other services, a lord, or landowner, granted land called a fief. The person receiving a fief was called a vassal. During this medieval period, people were split into groups. Two groups toward the top of the pyramid were the nobles/ lords and the kings. The interaction between nobles/lords and the king during the Middle Ages was a very important exchange. The nobles/lords swore loyalty to the king and were given fiefs to protect. All nobles were ultimately vassals of the king. Each vassal of the king had certain duties to perform for the land. Without the nobles/lords, there would have been a lack of protection from invasions, which may have caused the kingdoms to collapse. Political turmoil and constant warfare led to the rise of the European feudalism, a political and economic system based on land ownership and personal loyalty. During the Middle Ages invaders raised havoc all over Europe, and as a result people looked at local leaders for protection, causing kings to lose political power. A new social order was set up as well as a different economic system. Feudalism changed the economic, social, and political systems severely, and made the way we know the Middle Ages in Europe today. Feudalism was essentially a system of protection that restored order in society. Feudalism structured society creating a pyramid of power and defined social classes. The feudal system was based on rights and obligation, so a lord granted land to a
Open Document