Feudalism

feudalism, also called feudal system or feudality. derived from the Latin words feudum and feodalitas, both of which were used during the Middle Ages and later to refer to a form of property holding. The terms feudalism and feudal system were generally applied to the early and central Middle Ages the period from the 5th century, when central political authority in the Western empire disappeared, to the 12th century, when kingdoms began to emerge as effective centralized units of government. For a relatively brief period, from the mid-8th to the early 9″ century, the Carolingian rulers, especially Pippin and Charlemagne had remarkable success in creating and maintaining a relatively unified empire. In the absence of forceful kings and emperors, local lords expanded the territory subject to them and intensified their control over the people living there. A broader definition of feudalism, as described by Marc Bloch includes not only the obligations of the warrior nobility but the obligations of all three estates of the realm: the nobility, the clergy, and the peasantry, all of whom were bound by a system of manorialism; this is sometimes referred to as a “feudal society”. the concept of feudalism is often used by analogy, most often in discussions of feudal Japan under the shoguns, and sometimes in discussions of the Zagwe dynasty in medieval Ethiopia. Some have taken the feudalism analogy further, seeing feudalism (or traces of it) in places as diverse as China during the Spring and Autumn period ancient Egypt, the Parthian Empire, the Indian subcontinent and the Antebellum and Jim Crow American South. Feudalism, in its various forms, usually emerged as a result of the decentralization of an empire: especially in the Carolingian Empire in 8th century AD, which lacked the bureaucratic infrastructure necessary to support cavalry without allocating land to these mounted troops. Mounted soldiers began to secure a system of hereditary rule over their allocated land and their power over the territory came to encompass the social, political, judicial, and economic spheres. These acquired powers significantly diminished unitary power in these empires. However, once the infrastructure to maintain unitary power was re-established-as with the European monarchies feudalism began to yield to this new power structure and eventually disappeared. scholars in the 17th century, the medieval “feudal system” was characterized by the absence of public authority and the exercise by local lords of administrative and judicial functions formerly performed by centralized governments; general disorder and endemic conflict and the prevalence of bonds between lords and free dependents which were forged by the lords’ bestowal of property called”fiefs” and by their reception of homage from the vassals. The terms feudalism and feudal system enabled historians to deal summarily with a long span of European history whose complexities were and remain confusing The Roman Empire and the various emperors’ accomplishments provided a key to understanding Roman history, and the re emergence of states and strong rulers in the 12th century again furnished manageable focal points for historical narrative, particularly since medieval states and governmental practices can be presented as antecedents of modern nations and institutions. Those who formulated the