European Feudal System: Common Relationships and Characteristics
From the X to XIII century, the feudal system arose and expanded throughout Europe. Originating from the fusion of the Roman and Germanic societies, it was a system of military, political, religious and economic organizations, which summed to the establishing certain relationships between lords and vassals. Vassals, in return, had to perform services for their king, most commonly of military character. “Feudalism can be defined as the conjunction of institutions that create and manage obligations of obedience and service by part of a vassal to another called lord, and obligations of protection and sustainment by part of the lord with respect to the vassal” (qtd. In Diccionario Enciclopedico Espasa, 763). This was a way of pertaining to the laws that substantiate the feudal system and its main objectives, which are practically of mutual service and dependency from both peasants and nobles.
Ceremonies were held for the vassals who were being granted a certain benefit. “The feudal relationship initiated with the entrusting: a vassal commends himself to a more powerful person, to whom he promised fealty and aid, expecting to receive some benefit in return. The vassalage contract was established through the tribute ceremony, in which both parties swear to respect the agreements contracted: the vassal owed council and military or economic aid to his lord, who commits himself to protect his vassal and to provide him with the necessary mediums to complete his obligations through the concession of a benefit, which was later named fief. The ceremony ended with the investiture, moment in which the lord gave the vassal an object symbolizing the granted benefit” (qtd. In La Alta Edad Media, 83). These ceremonies were the contract between a peasant and a lord. The lord would have certain privileges over what was entrusted to the vassal. For instance, if a...