feudalism

Feudalism is not an easy term to define. The use of the word feudalism was not a term that is created by scholars in the seventeenth century, well after the medieval age. Thus the term is filled with confusion and inaccuracy. In a way, the term feudalism tries to condense all the aspects of a complex society into one term. By creating the term, scholars tried to condense the society into connections to the feud, or estate granted to "vassus" by lords. The terms vassus and lord meant different things to different groups of peoples in different areas and during different times. Thus it is hard define precisely what feudalism is. Scholars however have two differing descriptions about how to view feudalism. In one view, that of Marc Bloch, viewed feudalism as the complete society, political, military, social, and economic. He saw all of these issues centering around lordship. Karl Marx also took this perspective with one major difference; he centered on peasants. Marxism's main emphasis is that of the plight of the worker thus in his view of feudalism only the peasants contributed to society. In another major view, feudalism is largely a political term. The political power in feudalism, these individuals claim, was treated as an individual possession and held by those who owned the land. Thus the government was ruled by the lords and royal officials who ruled over their land. Under the lords were their "bodyguards" or knights. Below these knights were the retainers or vassals. Just as there is confusion over the precise definition of feudalism, there is confusion over its origins. Some scholars claim that with the invention of the stirrup, the bodyguards or retainers became more important. Those that were trained in using the stirrup to spear his enemy became valuable to the lords, who made these men take oaths of allegiance to them. This started the dependency of the lower class on the a

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