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Feudalism was a system of government that provided the structure for the political, social, and economic aspects of medieval civilization. It consisted of contracts between members of the nobility and less powerful nobles who served as their vassals. Economically it was a contract between the serfs who farmed that land and the nobles who owned it. Feudalism was very complex and confusing in some ways, but it could also be looked at as very simple. It was constructed in a pyramid or chess board-like form. Kings were at the top although they did not have much power, lords and vassals followed the king and had control of the lesser nobles. The serfs were at the base of the pyramid. A manor, otherwise known as the lord’s estate, was where everyone lived and worked. In exchange for a place to live, food, and mainly protection, the serfs farmed the land. Agriculture was the foundation of feudalism, where land and food was used to barter for other items. There were different taxes and positions of distinct people on the manor. This illustrates the complexity of feudal life during the medieval ages.
If you look at it as what the duties were of each specific class you see the simplicity of feudalism. Each member of medieval society had its own particular tasks to perform. The serfs preformed the most labor-intensive tasks and often did the same thing everyday. The knights protected the manor and the lords were responsible for taking care of everyone on their manor. The feudal system could be compared to a modern corporation. The serfs could be looked at as the workers, the lords as management, the knights to the security, and the king would be the CEO of the company. Feudalism was complex in its organization and simple it its implementation. During most of the medieval time period the church was the center of society and was the law of the land. The church regulated business practices, had the power to tax, controlled all people through the power of excommunication and had influence on the aesthetic aspects of life.
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