Essay on The Agreement Between Lord And Vassal

Essay on The Agreement Between Lord And Vassal

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The Agreement between Lord and Vassal is an account of a relationship between Hugh of Lusignan and William V of Aquitaine (who was also Count of Poitiers). This account is seen through the perspective of Hugh, and provides examples of different powers, actions, and decisions of lords and vassals. According to the introduction of the Agreement, this account was "wrote or dictated” between 1020 and 1025. Through criticism and analysis of this source, I hope to determine what information historians can gather from a first-person document and how/if this document has a place in the milieu of history.
Since the account is through the viewpoint of the vassal, who feels he has been slighted, we must take what he says about his lords and treatment with care. Hugh feels he has been cheated out of the lands that belonged to his ancestors, creating a bias. While Hugh felt cheated, one must keep in mind that inheritance laws may not have been in his favor. Readers do not learn what the inheritance laws are from the Agreement itself, though, according to Saul 's text, inheritance laws to bequeath lands were not formally established in England until around the 12th century, one hundred years after the life of Hugh. (Origin of inheritance laws in the 12th century can also be found in the law codes of the Cuenca-Teruel, further supporting the claim that they did not exist to aid Hugh) Feudalism-the blanket term used to describe the lord/vassal relationships- was not the same in all areas, but one can surmise that laws were similar due to England 's acquisition of Aquitaine when Henry II took over in 1152. When William finally does concede to give Hugh the lands and "honors" of his uncle, he is not doing so because of any inheriting right,...

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...rstanding the complex relationship.
Overall, this document deserves a place in the milieu of history. As mentioned, it does present some accurate facts involving the lord/vassal relationship, and just because it is biased, does not necessarily mean that it is false. To Huge, what he was arguing was the truth. It was his truth. While the Agreement does not state why he dictated or wrote out this agreement, historians can come up with a few theories. Perhaps it was an airing of grievances, like he wanted to just get his message out there and express his frustrations. Perhaps it was for his own personal records or for legal reasons. One cannot assume that he was doing this for the benefit of historical study over one thousand years later. What historians can agree upon is that this is a document that shows how one vassal felt about his relationship with his lord.

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