Feudal system of economy, Western European feudalism, Formation...

Feudal farming system

Western European feudalism

Formation of feudalism in the Kingdom of the Franks (VI-IX centuries)

The slave system was destroyed along with the Roman Empire. But feudalism did not appear immediately after the death of Rome. The usual idea that the slave system is directly replaced by the feudal system is not entirely accurate. More often the feudal system comes from the primitive communal. The peoples who conquered Rome were at the stage of a primitive communal system, and only a few centuries later they had a class society, but already in the form of feudalism. This is the historical pattern: if the socio-economic system of some nations has reached a logical end, the lagging behind peoples do not repeat it in their development . Why do we consider the formation of feudalism precisely in the Kingdom of the Franks? Because they are the successors of Rome in Western Europe. The Franks are one of the Germanic tribes. First they lived along the banks of the Rhine, but in the III century. began their expansion to the 10th century. have conquered the central part of Western Europe. What was the society of the Franks during the conquest? The tribe of the Franks was divided into communities - brands. Brand - this is no longer a clan community, but a rural one. If the clan community is a large family that consisted of blood relatives and maintained a common household, then in the stamp only land remained in common, communal property, but it was shared among the members of the brand, and each family led its own farm. And the house, cattle and all other property were in private ownership.

The state has not yet arisen. The Franks had a system of military democracy, which all the peoples experienced at the threshold of the birth of the state. The supreme authority in the tribe was the people's assembly, which chose the military leader to conduct military operations. Such a leader among the ancient Greeks was called basileus, from the Romans - from the Rex, from the Eastern Slavs - from the Prince, and from the Franks - from the King. Naturally, during the conquests the king's power increased, and the power of the people's assembly was reduced. The king began to turn into an independent monarch from the people, and along with him the military elite - the royal warriors rose. They no longer consisted in stamps and often were not even francs, but Gauls, Romans: it was profitable for the king to recruit people who were not connected with his people. They depended on the King's favors and could not limit his power on behalf of the people. The military professionals formed the ruling elite of society, stood above the communities.

However, the appearance of the ruling elite is still not feudalism. Feudalism begins with the rise of feudal land ownership.

In the course of the conquests of the Franks, private property appears on the ground next to communal property. For rewarding for the service, the king began distributing land to his warriors, and since they were not in communities, the land was not allocated to them communal, but in private ownership. However, the allod turned out to be unprofitable for the royal authorities: his owner was engaged in the economy instead of military service. Therefore, in the VIII century. the kings of the francs introduced a new form of land ownership - benefices. Benefits were not granted anymore, but only for use on the condition of military service. In addition, beneficiaries were given along with the peasants, who were obliged to bear feudal obligations in favor of the beneficiary. Why did the king give the land to his warriors? It is necessary to pay for military service, and with undeveloped yet commodity-money relations it was practically impossible to pay with money. Therefore, military service was paid for by feudal possessions, and the class of feudal lords was born as a military class , not only among the Franks, but also among other nations. The introduction of benefices was part of a military reform that highlighted a new kind of army - a heavily armed cavalry in knightly armor. This cavalry became the core, the main force of the Frankish troops, strengthened the fighting power of the Franks and allowed them to complete the conquests. For service in such cavalry it was required to have a constant and sufficiently large income, which freed the knight from economic concerns. This income was received in the form of feudal rent from the peasants who live in the benefice.

Over time, benefices began to change from conditional and temporary possession to hereditary feudal property, i.e. in the feud. Not content with the lands granted to the king, the feudal lords increased their estates, seizing new lands with peasants. But more often the peasants voluntarily surrendered themselves to the power of the feudal lords. Why? Because feudal rent and feudal dependence were exempt from military service. Military campaigns tore peasants from the farm, and to buy off from participation in them, the peasants were ready to pay rent. By the middle of IX century. The process of securing the peasants for feudal lords was almost over. The final act of feudalization was the law that every free franc had to find a seignior.

Since military service was built on a land basis, a large landowner was required to serve not just one, but with a detachment corresponding to his land holdings. This detachment he formed from military professionals - knights, who allocated a part of the land and peasants in their possessions. These small knights were no longer subject to the king, but to their immediate overlord. And independent small feudal lords preferred to have a powerful patron.

The more the feudal lord's possessions were, the more he had vassals, the more his army was. The great feudal lord was not inferior in strength to the king, and the kings were forced to confirm the sovereignty of such feudal lords, giving them immunities-documents by which the feudal lord in his possessions replaced the king. What represented the economy of the Franks, when the formation of feudalism was over, i.e. in the 8th-9th centuries?

Cities as centers of craft and trade have not yet been. The craft has not yet separated from agriculture. Trade only arose. Therefore, we will consider only one branch of the economy-agriculture. The economy of the country consisted of the same in nature and structure, economically unconnected feudal possessions. Possessions of monasteries, bishops and even the king himself did not fundamentally differ from the other feuds. However, it should be clarified what feudalism and feudal ownership of land are, because European classical feudalism differed significantly from United States serfdom. At the heart of feudal relations lay the feudal ownership of land. And feudal ownership of land is the right to receive feudal rent from this land, that is, with people who live on it, with rents fixed, i.e. determined by law or custom. Feudal relations assumed two landowners: a feudal lord who has the right to receive rent, and a peasant who has the right to dispose of the land. The feudal lord could not take away the land from the peasant, and the peasant could not only transfer this land by inheritance, but also sell it, and the duty to pay rent was transferred to the buyer. This, however, did not apply to people who were in personal dependence on the feudal lord. The fact is that in the feudal society the slave system was preserved. These dependent people were called slaves (servs).

The economy of the feud was natural: there was no production for sale outside the feud, and everything that was consumed was produced inside the feud. Feud economically did not need the rest of the world. Therefore, inside the feud, in addition to agriculture, craftsmen worked: blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers. But the craft was not separated from agriculture: artisans from peasants carried out orders of their neighbors and the feudal lord, but did not prepare products for sale beyond the feudal limits. And so the way of life of the peasants and feudal lords was not much different: the feudal lords ate the same food as the peasants, they wore the same homemade clothes.

Trade, as already mentioned, existed in rudimentary form. Originally, the most secure place for commerce was the church. The fact that the church was "God's World": it was impossible to rob and kill here, it was considered a grave sin. In order to understand this circumstance, it is necessary to present the conditions of the time when a person who was on his own, without someone's protection, was thus outlawed.

He could be robbed with impunity, and killed. Especially seductive and defenseless prey was the merchant, who came with goods from far away places. In the church he was under protection.

Later the trade was moved to the square in front of the church, because the sphere of the "God's world" now covered this area. Trading was allowed at a certain time. A flag was raised above the square, and the square became part of the church. So the first fairs were born.

Summarizing the five centuries after the death of Rome, first of all, we note the regress in the economy and culture: the cities disappeared, and with them a developed craft, science, art; commodity production was replaced by natural production. But the new feudal relations gave more opportunities for economic development.

In contrast to the slave, the peasant dependent on the feudal lord was much more interested in the results of his labor: he led his own farm, independent of the feudal lord, if he received more food, then he had more: the rent was fixed.

While in the slave society the composition of the labor force depended on wars and the capture of prisoners, now it was provided by a natural increase in the population. Therefore, not in the period of war, but in peacetime, optimal conditions for the development of the economy were created. Granting the lands and establishing immunities, the kings of the Franks prepared the death of their kingdom. In the IX century. it broke up into small states. The pattern of feudal fragmentation was determined by the natural character of the economy, when the country consisted of economically isolated small areas.

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