Feudalism

In feudalism, the nobility were comprised of several classes, the top of the hierarchy being the nobles.  The ruler was the head and then there were the dukes, counts and knights.  Knights were noblemen who left home at seven in order to learn how to ride, how to take care of their armor and how to fight.  When a “trainee” turned 21, he became a knight.  Knights existed to protect the lord and his land, which included the women and the peasants (World History Connections To Today, 192). The noblewoman’s education incorporated learning in the womanly crafts before she could be considered for marriage.  Her learning consisted on knowing how to spin, how to weave and how to supervise servants.  Her wifely duties were bearing many children, remaining loyal to her husband and to watch the manor while the man was away (World History Connections To Today, 193).

The lord’s land was worked several days a week by peasants who received protection and housing from the lord, but were granted permission to work a small patch of land to farm for themselves.  They were bound to the lord’s land and had to ask permission to leave it.  If another family bought the manor, the serfs were included with it and thus, they had a new lord.  In addition to working the lord’s land, they also made repairs around the manor.  Peasants did not get free housing and free protection; they had to pay the lord when marrying, inheriting acres or using the mill to grind grain.  The short supply of money meant that the payments were commonly in the form of chickens, eggs, grain, etc. (World History Connections To Today, 194).

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The clergy attended to the community and God.  They were monks and nuns who rescinded their worldly lifestyle to become devoted to the spiritual one.  They took oaths of poverty and vows of chastity, purity or obedience.  Their main duties were prayer and worship and to provide basic social services to community like tending to the sick and impoverished.  They were not completely cloistered; some became missionaries to spread Christianity and good works even further.  (World History Connections To Today, 198).  Therefore, everyone under the feudal system had a job.  The nobles and knights gave shelter and protection, the noblewomen tended the manor, the peasants worked the land and the clergy assisted the village.

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