Professor Jeff Stone
September 26, 2010
There are only a few things in this world, which one can hold as true. A defined social system is one thing that holds true. In western civilizations, feudalism carried the idea of domination and freedom. It took the appearance of the rich using the poor to benefit themselves but there’s more to feudalism than just that. Feudalism also represented justice. It viewed the rich and the poor as being on the same playing field. The rich had certain obligations to the lower class. The system of feudalism defined the social roles of each member of society, while setting up political and economical standards.
Feudalism was based on very important social agreements. In medieval age there was no national military or police to protect the people in the towns. Towns were vulnerable to attack from outsiders and people within their own town. Therefore, citizens were left to negotiate their own means of protection. A free man, who could not turn to his government for protection, was left to rely on his neighbor for relief. Feudalism only developed in the parts of Europe where the strong social bonds of the past were nonexistent. Feudalism was also stunted in places where towns were prominent. Towns were the enemy of Feudalism, for in towns the idea of equals, not lords and vassals was promoted.
The bonds that existed in feudalism were very ritualistic. The vassal was a person who put himself under the protection of the lord and in turn offered his loyalty and military aid. The vassal would pledge his devotion on the Gospels or a saint’s relic (Chambers 244). In ratio to his money, the vassal would bring soldiers. The military eventually needed to develop rules and regulations, so a contract was created to describe the terms in which the vassal and the lord would have to follow. This contract forced the vassal to serve, but also prevented the lord from asking for...