What is Feudal lord definition/concept

In Europe, during the Middle Ages, the form of political , social and economic organization is known as feudalism. This system is based on dependent relationships between a lord and his subordinate, the vassal. Both feudal lord and vassal are free men who make a mutual commitment.

The feudal lord is the one who owns the land

The feudal lord is the owner of a productive land and gives the production to a farmer who in return receives a part of the benefits obtained. Therefore, between the lord and the vassal there is a feudal relationship that involves a series of obligations on both sides.

The lord must cede his lands to the vassal so that he can work on them and, at the same time, fulfill the obligation to protect the lord militarily. In this sense, the feudal lord has his own army and with it he can guarantee the security of his territory.

On the other hand, the vassal acquires a triple commitment: he must obey his master, work on his lands and pay some taxes.

The great lords usually resided in cities and away from their lands. Many medieval European cities prospered economically and commercially through the wealth that the lords obtained from the work of their vassals.

In the late Middle Ages, the position of feudal lords was weakened for several reasons:

1) several epidemics caused a significant decrease in the peasant population and this phenomenon negatively affected the collection of taxes by the feudal lord;

2) during the 14th century  there was an increase in economic activity in cities and many farmers abandoned their activity in rural areas;

3) there was a growing malaise among the farmers, as they demanded to be the authentic owners of their lands and not simple vassals submitted to a master.

the tribute ceremony

This type of bond between the feudal lord and the vassal is known as a vassal relationship and made official through a solemn act, the tribute ceremony. In this ceremony, the vassal kneels before his lord to swear obedience and fidelity. It should be noted, on the other hand, that the feudal lord must also swear obedience to the monarch.

The origin of feudalism

Emperor Charlemagne and his Carolingian empire passed between the 6th and 9th centuries and began the feudal tradition. In this way, the monarchs divided their lands or fiefs to the nobles: the feudal lords. These territories received various names. If they belonged to an earl they were counties and if they belonged to a marquis it was a mark.

The monarchs divided their territory into fiefs in order to better protect their domains against possible enemy invasions. It should be noted that in the first centuries of the Middle Ages, Christian Europe was threatened by the Arabs in the south and by the Slavic peoples or Ottoman Empire in the east.

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