The Middle Ages
The Middle Ages can be defined as a time of suffering and feudalism. The label that best describes the era between 500 and 1400 in Europe is the Age of Feudalism. The Middle Ages should be labeled as the Age of Feudalism because of the absences of imperial authority that was reinstated by a local political organization that should be known as the feudal system. Its disperse system dominated and influenced the political, economic and social aspects of Western Europe.
The age of feudalism gave Europe a government. Europe’s society had no government when the period of the Dark Ages happened. “The barbarians have broken through the ramparts. The Saracen Moors invasions have spread in successive waves over the South. The Hungarians swarm over the Eastern provinces…they sacked town and village, and laid waste to fields. They burned down the churches and then departed with a crowd of captives…. There is no longer any trade, only unceasing terror….The peasant has abandoned his ravaged fields to avoid the violence of anarchy. The people have gone to cower in the depths of the forests or in inaccessible regions, or have taken refuge in the high mountains…. Society has no longer any government….”
After the fall of the Roman empire, its territories in Europe had to protect themselves from outside invaders. To do this, local kingdoms traded land to those who would send knights to protect the kingdom. In document two John of Toul is a vassal to the count and countess of Champagne and takes the Homage Oath ” I, John of Toul, make known that I am the liege man of the count and countess of Champagne….I will aid the count of Champagne in my own person, and will send the count and countess of Champagne the knights whose service I owe to them for the fief which I hold of them….”.
The feudal system was established from obligations between landlords in their vassals. Everyone but the king had a ruling lord above them to whom they gave loyalty, military service and ransom in exchange for land and protection. Around 90% of the people worked as peasants. Peasants worked hard and died young. For safety, peasants in the Middle Ages formed little communities around a central lord or master. A lot of people lived on a manor, which consisted of the castle, church, village and surrounding farmland. These manors were isolated.
Not only did the Ages of feudalism have some advantages but it also had some disadvantages. Peasants were the ones to feel this as a disadvantage. Serfs made a subsistence living in which they had to forfeit virtually everything to keep their homes. This is the reason that the middle ages should be labeled as “the Age of Feudalism”.