Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 11 (Arts) History (Themes in World History) Chapter 9: Three Orders-Western Europe (13th-16th Century). However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.
In this chapter, we explore the social, economic, and political transformations that occurred in Western Europe between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. Following the dissolution of the Roman Empire, various Germanic groups from eastern and central Europe settled in the regions of Italy, Spain, and France.
With no unifying political force, military conflicts became prevalent, and the necessity to secure resources for land protection intensified. Consequently, social organizations sought to exert control over land, adopting practices from both Imperial Roman traditions and German customs. The Christian Church also emerged as a major landholder and influential force in Europe.
We will examine three social classes in this chapter: (a) Christian priests, (b) landowning nobility, and (c) peasants. The evolving relationships between these three “Orders” played a crucial role in shaping European history for centuries.
We will specifically analyze how the three Orders functioned within the context of the three institutions they represented: Feudalism, Manorialism, and the Church. Firstly, we will discuss the characteristics, significance, growth, and eventual decline of feudalism in European history.
Textual questions and answers
I. Very short answer type questions
1. Who was Charlemagne?
Answer: Charlemagne was the founder of the Frankish Empire. In AD 800, the Pope gave him the title of Holy Roman Emperor to ensure his support, which further strengthened French relations with the Church.
2. What is the meaning of feudalism?
Answer: Feudalism is a system of society where land holding is the basis of the whole society. It means the holding of land on conditions of service rendering to a superior. Feudalism was a brand of social relationship between land and man – Lord protecting the man and the man providing service and reverence to the Lord. The term Feudalism is the combination of two words – ‘feudo’ and ‘vassalism’. Feudo is a German word which means ‘fief’, a piece of land, and ‘vassalism’ means holding something from a supreme lord.
3. Who were Villains?
Answer: Serfs were also known as villains.
4. What service was compulsory for the tenant-in-chief?
Answer: The tenant-in-chief was required to do some military service to the king and also pay certain well-recognized incidents such as three types of aids. Therefore, military service was compulsory for the tenant-in-chief.
5. Who were Knights?
Answer: Knights were a new section of people who emerged in Europe from the ninth century. They were trained soldiers who provided good cavalry in frequent localized wars. The Knights had almost similar links with the Lords, just as the latter had with the king. The Lord gave the Knight a piece of land (called fief) and promised to protect it. A fief had an area between 1000 and 2000 acres. The Knight was allowed to serve more than one lord, but his foremost loyalty was to his own Lord. The Knights usually spent their time fencing and practicing tactics with dummies.
6. Describe two features of feudal society in France.
Answer: The two features of feudal society in France
- All land belongs to the king: According to this system, nobody except the king is the owner of the land. All those who have land get it from the king directly or indirectly. Those who held land directly from the king were called tenants-in-chief.
- Three Orders: The society was divided into three orders or estates – the clergy, nobility, and peasantry. The clergy guided the Christians, the nobility had vast estates and lived in magnificent palaces, and the peasantry worked on the land.
7. What were the functions of medieval monastery?
Answer: The medieval monastery served as a religious community for devout Christians who lived under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Monks and nuns spent their time in prayers, study, and manual labor like farming. They also provided education and healthcare to the local community. Monasteries were often centers of learning and preserved ancient texts and knowledge. They also served as a refuge for travelers and the poor.
8. Name the important countries of the Europe in which the feudal system was established?
Answer: The feudal system was established in many European countries, including France, Spain, England, and others.
9. Who introduced Feudalism in England?
Answer: William, the French Duke of Normandy, introduced Feudalism in England in the AD 11th century after he conquered and occupied England.
10. Give one important defect of Feudalism.
Answer: One important defect of Feudalism was that it gave judicial powers to the lords, who acted as judges for their tenants. The lords were not impartial and looked after their own interests, and most of them were not even educated. This led to a lack of justice for the serfs and other lower classes.
11. Which two events destroyed the socio-economic basis of feudalism?
Answer: The Black Death and the Peasant Revolts.
12. When did the feudal system come to an end in France?
Answer: The rise of powerful monarchies in France, Spain, and England broke down the local organization of feudalism, leading to its decline.
13. When did Feudalism disappear in Russia?
Answer: Feudalism persisted in Russia until 1917.
14. During which period, Feudal system was popular in Europe?
Answer: Feudalism was popular in Europe from the 10th to 15th centuries.
15. When did feudal practices, first come into existence in China?
Answer: Feudal practices were in existence in China by 1,100 BC.
16. Give one merit of Feudalism.
Answer: The greatest merit of feudalism was that it was based on the bond of mutual love and loyalty. The homage, fealty, personal service of the tenant and protection of the tenants by their lords were all human ties which bound the man and the lord.
III. Short answer type questions
1. How Feudalism come into existence in Europe?
Answer: Feudalism first came into existence in France and later spread to other parts of Europe, including Spain, Italy, Germany, and Eastern Europe. It developed in England after William Duke of Normandy conquered and occupied England in the 11th century. The important features of feudalism were similar throughout but there existed definite national differences.
2. Why did knights become a distinct group, and when did they decline?
Answer: Knights became a distinct group because of the need for good cavalry during frequent localised wars in Europe from the ninth century. The untrained peasant soldiers were not sufficient, so knights were needed. Knights had almost similar links with the lords, just as the latter had with the king. The lord gave the knight a piece of land (called fief) and promised to protect it. A fief had an area between 1000 and 2000 acres.
3. What was the relationship between the king and his tenants-in-chief
Answer: The king allotted various amounts of land to his nobles, who held land directly from the king and were called tenants-in-chief. They had to do some military service to the king and also pay certain well-recognized incidents such as three types of aids. The tenants-in-chief further let their lands to sub-tenants and extracted benefits from them, basically how the king extracted from the tenants-in-chief. This process went on till the land was actually held by the cultivators. Thus, in between the king and the cultivators, there were a series of lords and overlords.
4. Describe the relations between the Lord and a Vassal.
Answer: In the feudal system, a Lord was a landowner who granted land, known as a fief, to a Vassal in exchange for loyalty and military service. The Vassal was bound to the Lord by a personal oath of fealty and was expected to provide military aid to the Lord when required. The Lord had full control over his property and acted as a judge, military captain, and protector of his Vassals. In return, the Vassals owed certain duties to their immediate Lords, including rendering military service and paying taxes. The relationship between the Lord and Vassal was based on the bond of mutual love and loyalty, and the Vassal was expected to provide personal service and protection to the Lord’s tenants. The Lord’s private lands were cultivated by peasants, who were also expected to fight in battles as foot soldiers when required, in addition to tilling his own land. The Vassal was allowed to serve more than one Lord, but his foremost loyalty was to his own Lord.
5. Describe the organisation of Feudalism.
Answer: Feudalism was a social system based on land ownership and service to a superior. The king owned all the land, and those who held land got it from the king directly or indirectly. Those who held land directly from the king were called tenants-in-chief. The tenants-in-chief could grant land to others in return for military service or other forms of loyalty. This created a hierarchy of lords and vassals, with each vassal owing loyalty and service to their lord. The lord provided protection and support to their vassals. The Catholic Church was also a powerful institution in feudal society, with its own laws, lands, and taxes. The society was divided into three orders: the clergy, nobility, and peasantry. The clergy were the first order and included bishops, priests, and monks. The nobility were the second order and included lords and knights. The peasantry were the third order and included serfs and peasants who worked the land. The feudal system remained the basis of society from the 11th to the 15th centuries in England and in many other countries even up to the 19th century. The rise of powerful monarchies in France, Spain, and England eventually broke down the local organization of feudalism.
6. How did long-term changes in population levels affect economy and society in Europe?
Answer: The long-term changes in population levels affected the economy and society in Europe in various ways. The population had increased, but the resources to feed the people were small, resulting in the occurrence of famines in Europe between AD 1315-1317. The decrease in population resulted in the acute shortage of labor, and there were not enough people to work in the fields or industries. The prices of agricultural products dropped as there were fewer people who could afford to buy the agricultural products. On the other hand, there was an increase in wages because of the shortage of populations. The epidemic combined with economic crisis caused social dislocation. Europe had a population of 73 million in 1300. It was reduced to 45 million in 1400.
7. What was the influence of Christianity on shaping the Feudal System?
Answer: The influence of Christianity on shaping the Feudal System was significant. In France, the Christian priests believed in the concept that people belonged to one of the three orders or estates depending upon the nature of their work – the clergy, nobility, and peasantry. The Catholic Church in France had its own laws and owned lands endowed by the kings. It could also levy taxes. The Church was thus a very powerful institution. The Bishops and Clergy who constituted the first order or estates guided the Christians. The Church also collected one-tenth share of whatever the peasants produced from their lands. The Church also received money in the form of endowments made by the rich for their own welfare and that of their deceased relatives after life. The monks were devout Christians who lived in the Abbeys. They had made a special set of solemn religious promises especially not to marry or to possess any wealth. They usually lived in a male religious community that was separated from the rest of the society. They remained in the Abbey and spent their time in prayers. The Feudal System was introduced in England in the 11th century when William, the French Duke of Normandy, conquered and occupied England. William ascended the English throne as William I. The Lords became the tenants-in-chief or the vassals of the king and were expected to provide military aid to the king when required. They were also obliged to supply a number of knights to the king. The Christian Church played a significant role in shaping the Feudal System in France and England.
8. Describe the difference between Feudalism in England and the other European Countries.
Answer: In England, the feudal lords were not allowed to become very powerful and were not given complete control over their tenants. Unlike in Europe, no feudal lord could use his knights against the king. The king in England did not depend upon feudal army alone and asserted his right to call the national Militia or Fyrd at any time. Moreover, the incidents of Feudalism such as breadship and marriage were never severe in England as in other countries of Europe. Thus, in England, the force of feudalism was limited in every direction. Of all the European countries of Middle Ages, England was “the least feudalised”.
9. Why did knights become a distinct group, and when did they decline?
Answer: Knights became a distinct group because of the need for good cavalry during frequent localised wars in Europe from the ninth century. The untrained peasant soldiers were not sufficient, so the importance of knights increased. Knights were given a piece of land (called fief) by a lord and promised protection in exchange for regular fees and fighting for the lord in war. Knights usually spent their time fencing and practicing tactics with dummies. However, the military organization of the feudal system was full of defects, and knights showed more loyalty to their immediate lord than to the king, which weakened the military system of the country.
Knights declined in importance with the rise of gunpowder and firearms, which made their armor and weapons obsolete. The decline of feudalism and the rise of centralized monarchies also contributed to the decline of knights as a distinct group.
III. Essay type questions
1. Discuss the circumstances leading to the growth of Feudal system.
Answer: The Feudal system grew out of the collapse of the central government in the Frankish Empire after the death of Charlemagne in 814. During the turmoil of invasions, various customs had been growing up to enable men to live despite turmoils. In the supreme confusion of the 9th century, these customs developed into a pattern of life known as Feudalism. The martial races began to build up a new form of society and governmental organization based on the old nomad relationship between the tribal chiefs, heads of tribal families, mass of the tribes, and the conquered people. This organization was known as Feudalism, and it built up pressure of almost continuous warfare and represented essentially a military system, calculated to render collection of armies and easy defense while providing a peaceful and settled life on the basis of land tenure. Feudalism was the natural outgrowth of many institutions and customs of Roman and Teutonic origin, and grew up from both the bottom and the top simultaneously.
Feudalism destroyed the concept of nation-state by destroying its political unity, so the idea of an independent nation-state became foreign to Middle Ages. The Feudal system remained the basis of the society from the 11th to 15th centuries in England and in many other countries even up to the 19th century. The concentration of powers in the hands of a few was always a great disruptive force in the feudal system. The rise of powerful monarchies in France, Spain, and England broke down the local organization. The gradual changes in the environment and some dramatic changes in agricultural technology and land use shaped and affected the social and economic ties between the Lords and the Vassals.
2. Describe the main features of Feudalism.
Answer: Feudalism was a social system based on land ownership and personal loyalty. The main features of Feudalism are:
All land belongs to the king: According to this system, nobody except the king is the owner of the land. All those who have land get it from the king directly or indirectly. Those who held land directly from the king were called tenants-in-chief.
Three Orders: The society was divided into three orders or estates – the clergy, nobility, and peasantry. The clergy guided the Christians, the nobility had vast estates and lived in magnificent palaces, and the peasantry worked on the land.
Vassalage: Vassalage brought with it a fief – land held in return for military service. With the holding of land went rights of governance and jurisdiction over those who dwelt on it.
Obligations and Services: The vassals had to provide military service to their lords, and the lords had to provide protection to their vassals. The vassals also had to provide other services, such as repairing roads and bridges.
Hierarchy: The feudal system was hierarchical, with the king at the top, followed by the nobility, and then the peasantry. Each level had its own obligations and responsibilities.
Manorialism: Manorialism was the economic system that supported Feudalism. It was based on the manor, which was a self-sufficient estate that produced everything the lord and his vassals needed to survive.
Limited Social Mobility: Social mobility was limited in Feudalism. People were born into their social class and could not move up or down.
Decentralized Government: Feudalism destroyed the concept of nation-state by destroying its political unity, so the idea of an independent nation-state became foreign to the Middle Ages.
3. Describe the three aspects of Feudalism namely, Local government, army and justice.
Answer: Three aspects of feudalism were:
Local Government: Under the feudal system, local government was organized around the lord’s manor. The lord was responsible for maintaining law and order within his area. He had the power to make laws, collect taxes, and settle disputes. The lord was assisted by a group of officials who helped him to govern the manor. These officials included the steward, the bailiff, and the reeve. The steward was responsible for managing the lord’s estate, while the bailiff was responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing the law. The reeve was responsible for supervising the work of the peasants.
Army: The feudal system was based on the idea of military service in exchange for land. The lord was responsible for providing military service to the king in times of war. In return, the lord was granted land by the king. The lord was responsible for providing his own soldiers, known as knights, to fight in the king’s army. The knights were trained in the use of weapons and were expected to be loyal to their lord. The lord was also responsible for providing weapons and armor for his knights.
Justice: Under the feudal system, justice was administered by the lord. The lord had the power to make laws and to enforce them. He was responsible for maintaining law and order within his area. The lord’s court was responsible for hearing cases and settling disputes. The lord’s court was made up of his vassals, who acted as judges. The lord’s court was also responsible for punishing criminals. Punishments included fines, imprisonment, and even death. The lord’s court was not bound by the same laws as the king’s court, and the lord had the power to pardon criminals.
4. How feudal system spread to important countries of the world.
Answer: Feudalism spread from France to other parts of Europe, including Spain, Italy, Germany, and Eastern Europe. In England, the Frankish form of feudalism was imposed by William I (William the Conqueror) after AD 1066, although most of the elements of feudalism were already present in England. Feudalism was extended eastward into Slavic lands to the Marches (frontier provinces) and was partially adopted in Scandinavian countries. Feudalism also developed in Asian countries, such as Japan, where the feudal system was well-ordered before the 10th century and continued with modifications until the 19th century. In other areas, such as China, feudal practices were in existence by 1,100 BC, and society became feudalistic but not precisely feudal. Feudalism in India and in the Sassanid and Ottoman civilizations was in many ways similar to western feudalism, but it proved less durable than the feudal system in Europe. The existence of feudalism in several civilizations has given rise to theories of feudalism as a necessary and inevitable stage of political development. Some scholars, however, consider the European feudal system a unique phenomenon. Feudal institutions varied greatly from region to region, and new feudal contracts had all the features described above. Common to all, however, was the process by which one nobleman (the vassal) became the tenant of another (the lord) by swearing homage and fealty.
5. What were the defects of the Feudal System?
Answer: The Feudal System had several defects, including:
Centrifugal force: Feudalism made the sovereign a landowner, but logically, landowners became sovereigns. Each feudal lord was a prince, and the people living in his estate were completely under his control. The king was the king of vassals, not the king of all the people.
Possibility of revolts: In the ideal feudal system, where the knights were to be loyal to the immediate lords, there was a great possibility of the revolts of the feudal lords. A few landlords could bring trouble for the king by asking their knights to follow them and fight against the king.
Judicial powers: Feudalism gave judicial powers to the lords. Each lord acted as a judge for his tenants. For judges, it is essential that they must be impartial and should possess high legal qualifications. The feudal lords could never be expected to act impartially. In trying their tenants, the lords looked after their own interests. Besides, most of the lords were not even educated.
Merit or ability not the basis of selecting public officers: Merit or ability was not the basis of selecting public officers in feudal countries. The lord determined the position of every person in society. A landless fellow, however intelligent, was not even considered a man and hence could not find any chance to serve the society with ability.
Position of serfs: The position of the serfs (villains) under the feudal system was very deplorable. They were bound to the soil. They could not get justice from the royal courts.
Military organization: The chief object of the feudal system was to maintain a large army without actually keeping a large standing army. But the military organization of the feudal system was full of defects. The knights were to fight for 40 days, and if the king needed soldiers beyond that time, several difficulties arose. The knights always showed more loyalty to their immediate lord than to the king. This further weakened the military system of the country.
6. Describe the course of decline of Feudalism.
Answer: The Feudal system remained the basis of the society from 11th to 15th centuries in England and in many other countries even upto the 19th century. The concentration of powers in the hands of a few was always a great disruptive force in the feudal system. The rise of powerful monarchies in France. Spain and England broke down the local organisation.
Another disruptive force was the development of means of communication which broke down the isolated manor, assisted the rise of towns and facilitated the emergence of the bourgeoisie class. This process was greatly accelerated in the 14th century and did much to destroy the feudal classification of society.
The Black Death and the Peasant Revolts destroyed the whole socio-economic basis of the feudal system. The villain began to demand cash wages. They refused to stick to the land of the lord. The feudal Lords, finding it difficult to cultivate land gave their stock and land to a new moneyed class to turn their lands into sheep farms. In England, the government even tried to force the villains to work on the old basis. They revolted and destroyed the manor houses ofthe Lords.
The feudal lords, under these conditions, changed their whole attitude towards the serfs and in this manner the whole system broke down. In England, the Wars of the Roses, the gun powder and the feudal measures of the kings dealt mortal blows to the feudal system.
In other countries, the feudal system broke down gradually. It was not completely destroyed in France until the French Revolution (1789). It persisted in Germany until 1848 and in Russia until 1917. Many relics of feudalism still persist, and its influence remains on the institutions of Western Europe.
7. What was the value of Feudalism?
Answer: Feudalism was the basis of ancient and medieval society in almost all the countries of the world. In Europe and England, it was very popular from the 10th to 15th centuries. Its merits were as under:
In the first place, it suited the times. It was the best system considering the circumstances in which the medieval kings were to act. It was the convenient method of governing the kingdoms in the medieval days when the collection of revenue, the maintenance of the standing army and centralised system of justice were considered as very burdensome duties by the rulers.
Secondly, the means of transportation and communication were primitive. There was no political consciousness or voluntary cooperation of the masses in the public matters. Under these circumstances, this rough and ready system of giving land to the feudal lords and asking them to maintain law and order within their areas was found to the most convenient.
Thirdly, in a way, the system satisfied the vanity of the big landlords in those days. Each noble wanted to be a miniature king in his own place and feudalism enabled them to play their role.
Lastly, according to Davis, the greatest merit of feudalism was that it was based on the bond of mutual love and loyalty. The homage, fealty, personal service of the tenant and protection of the tenants by their lords were all human ties which bound the man and the lord-Davis, further remarks, “Men did not cease to be men and become the mere “hands” of the capitalist (as in modern industrial system) to be scrapped like obsolete machinery when too old to work”.
8. Compare the conditions of life for a French serf and a Roman slave.
Answer: French serfs and Roman slaves both lived under oppressive conditions, but there were differences in their legal status, rights, and living conditions.
Legal status: French serfs were not considered personal property but were instead tied to the land they worked on. They were part of the feudal system in medieval France and were bound to their lord and the land he owned. Roman slaves, on the other hand, were considered property and could be bought, sold, or exchanged by their owners. They were often acquired as captives in war or through trade, and their status was more akin to chattel than that of a serf.
Rights and autonomy: French serfs had some limited rights and autonomy within their community. They could marry, have children, and own some personal property, although their lord often had significant control over these aspects of their lives. Roman slaves had very few, if any, rights and were entirely subject to the will of their owner. They could not marry, and any children they had were considered the property of their owner. However, some Roman slaves were able to earn or be granted their freedom, becoming freedmen with more rights and opportunities.
Work and living conditions: French serfs worked the land, farming and producing food for their lord and themselves. Their labor was compulsory and unpaid, but they typically had a place to live and food to eat. Roman slaves worked in a variety of roles, including agriculture, domestic service, mining, and entertainment. Some slaves were assigned to more prestigious positions, like tutors or skilled artisans, while others suffered under harsh and dangerous conditions. The living conditions of Roman slaves varied greatly based on their role and the treatment by their owner.
Social mobility: French serfs had little opportunity for social mobility, as their status was passed down through generations. However, there were rare instances where serfs could become free through manumission or by escaping to a free city and living there for a certain period. Roman slaves had more opportunities for social mobility, particularly if they were granted their freedom. Freedmen could become Roman citizens, start businesses, and even rise to prominence in some cases, although they still faced social stigma for their past status as slaves.
IV. Passage based questions
Read the following passage and answer the questions.
Serfs cultivated plots of land, but these belonged to the lord. Much of the produce from this had to be given to the lord. They also had to work on the land which belonged exclusively to the lord. They received no wages and could not leave the estate without the lord’s permission. The lord claimed a number of monopolies at the expense of his serfs. Serfs could use only their lord’s mill to grind their flour, his oven to bake their bread, and his wine-presses to distill wine and beer. The lord could decide whom a serf should marry, or might give his blessing to the serf’s choice, but on payment of a fee.
1. Who cultivated the land of the landlords under the feudal system?
Answer: Serfs cultivated the land of the landlords under the feudal system.
2. What were the obligations of the serfs?
Answer: The obligations of the serfs included cultivating plots of land belonging to the lord, giving much of the produce to the lord, working on the land that belonged exclusively to the lord, and not leaving the estate without the lord’s permission.
3. What monopolies were claimed by the lords at the expense of the serf?
Answer: The lords claimed monopolies on the use of their mill for grinding flour, their oven for baking bread, and their wine-presses for distilling wine and beer.
4. What were the restrictions on the marriage of a serf?
Answer: The restrictions on the marriage of a serf were that the lord could decide whom a serf should marry, or might give his blessing to the serf’s choice, but only on payment of a fee.
V. Objective type questions
1. Who was the most powerful in the feudal system?
Answer: (a) King
2. The priests were not allowed to ________ in the church.
Answer: (a) marry
3. Large churches were known as:
Answer: (a) Cathedrals
1. Discuss social hierarchies based on different criteria: occupation, language, wealth, and education. Compare medieval France with Mesopotamia and the Roman Empire.
Answer: Social hierarchies have been a prominent aspect of human societies throughout history. These hierarchies have been organized based on various criteria, such as occupation, language, wealth, and education.
Medieval France: The society was organized under a feudal system where the king was at the top, followed by the nobility (lords and knights), the clergy, and finally, the commoners (serfs and peasants). Occupation played a significant role in determining an individual’s position in the social hierarchy.
Mesopotamia: Social stratification was also present in Mesopotamian societies. The king was at the top, followed by priests, government officials, merchants, and artisans. Farmers and slaves occupied the bottom of the hierarchy.
Roman Empire: The Roman social structure was more complex, with the emperor at the top, followed by the senatorial and equestrian orders, common citizens (plebeians), and slaves. Occupation played an essential role in determining one’s social standing, with senators, equestrians, and higher-ranked military officers enjoying more privileges.
Medieval France: Language played a significant role in social stratification, with Latin being the language of the educated elite (nobility and clergy) and Old French being spoken by the commoners.
Mesopotamia: The two main languages were Sumerian and Akkadian, with Akkadian being the more prestigious language spoken by the ruling class and the educated elite. Sumerian was used by the common people and for religious purposes.
Roman Empire: Latin was the language of the educated elite and the ruling class, while Greek was widely spoken among the eastern provinces. Knowledge of Latin could elevate an individual’s social standing, while the common people generally spoke local vernacular languages.
Medieval France: Wealth was concentrated among the nobility, who owned large tracts of land and collected taxes from the serfs and peasants living on their estates.
Mesopotamia: Wealth was also concentrated among the ruling class, priests, and government officials, who benefited from trade, taxation, and agricultural surplus.
Roman Empire: Wealth played a significant role in social hierarchy, with the senatorial and equestrian classes amassing substantial fortunes through land ownership, trade, and taxation.
Medieval France: Education was primarily reserved for the nobility and the clergy. Monasteries and cathedral schools were the main centers for learning, with Latin being the primary language of instruction.
Mesopotamia: Education was mostly restricted to the elite, with scribes and priests receiving specialized training in reading and writing cuneiform script. The temple schools, known as “edubbas,” were the main centers of learning.
Roman Empire: Education was highly valued, with the upper classes receiving formal schooling in subjects like rhetoric, philosophy, and literature. The Roman education system was accessible to a broader range of citizens compared to other societies.
2. Give examples of expected patterns of behaviour between people of different social levels in a medieval Manor, in a palace, and in a place of worship.
Answer: In a medieval Manor, the lord was at the top of the social hierarchy, followed by the knights, then the serfs. The lord had complete control over the serfs and could punish them as he saw fit. The serfs were expected to work on the lord’s land and give him a portion of their produce. They were not allowed to leave the land without the lord’s permission and could not marry without his approval. The knights were expected to provide military aid to the lord when required.
In a palace, the king was at the top of the social hierarchy, followed by the nobles and courtiers. The king had complete control over the nobles and courtiers and could punish them as he saw fit. The nobles were expected to provide military aid to the king when required. Courtiers were expected to attend to the king’s needs and provide entertainment.
In a place of worship, the clergy were at the top of the social hierarchy, followed by the nobles and then the peasants. The clergy were responsible for guiding the Christians and collecting taxes. The nobles were expected to attend religious services and make donations to the church. The peasants were expected to attend religious services and give a portion of their produce to the church. Women and physically challenged individuals were not allowed to become priests. The priests were not allowed to marry.
3. What special features do you notice in the towns of Medieval Europe. How were they different from towns in other places and other periods of time?
Answer: In the towns of Medieval Europe, there were guilds or associations of townsmen, each organized by craft or industry. These guilds controlled the quality, price, and sale of their produce. Every town had a “Guild hall” for formal meetings of the heads of all the guilds. Guards patrolled the town walls, and musicians were called to play at feasts and civic processions. Inns were available for travelers, and the Eleventh century saw the development of new trade routes with West Asia. Scandinavian merchants sailed south from the North Sea to exchange furs and hunting hawks for cloth, and English traders went to West Asian countries to sell tin. With the growth of towns, trade and commerce flourished, and the townsmen became rich and prosperous, rivaling the power of the nobility. These features were different from towns in other places and other periods of time because of the organization of guilds and the development of trade routes.
4. Read the events and processes listed with dates in this book, and connect them into a narrative account.
Answer: In AD 1066, the Normans defeated the Anglo-Saxons in England, which led to the Norman Conquest and the establishment of Norman rule over England. Around AD 1100, cathedrals were built in France, which marked a significant period of architectural and artistic development in Europe. In AD 1315-17, Europe experienced a Great Famine that caused widespread hunger and death. The Black Death occurred between AD 1347-50, which was a devastating pandemic that killed millions of people across Europe and had profound social and economic consequences. The Hundred Years’ War between England and France lasted from AD 1338-1461 and was a series of conflicts over territorial disputes that had lasting impacts on both countries. Finally, in AD 1381, there was a Peasants’ Revolt in England that lasted for some time and was a significant challenge to feudal authority. These events and processes are significant because they shaped the course of European history and had lasting impacts on society, politics, and culture.
Extra/additional questions and answers
1. What were the three social classes or categories discussed in this chapter?
Answer: The three social classes or categories discussed in this chapter are the Christian priests, land owning nobility, and the peasants.
2. How did Feudalism come into existence in Western Europe?
Answer: Feudalism came into existence in Western Europe during the turmoil of invasions and the collapse of central government following the fall of Rome. Various customs grew up to enable people to live despite the chaos, and these customs developed into a pattern of life known as Feudalism in the 9th century.
3. Describe the origins and growth of Feudalism in Western Europe.
Answer: Feudalism originated from various customs and institutions of Roman and Teutonic origin that had been growing up since the fall of Rome. It developed into a pattern of life in the 9th century during the confusion and turmoil of foreign invasions, and the collapse of central government. The martial races began to build a new form of society and governmental organization based on the old nomad relationship between tribal chiefs, heads of tribal families, the mass of the tribes, and the conquered people. This organization, known as Feudalism, built up under the pressure of almost continuous warfare and represented essentially a military system, calculated to render collection of armies and easy defense while providing a peaceful and settled life on the basis of land tenure.
4. Explain the effects of Feudalism on the concept of nation state and political unity in Western Europe.
Answer: Feudalism had a significant impact on the concept of nation state and political unity in Western Europe. By establishing a decentralized system of governance based on land ownership and military service, it led to the fragmentation of political power and authority. This weakened the central government and destroyed the concept of a unified nation state. As a result, the idea of an independent nation state became foreign to the Middle Ages. Instead, power was concentrated in the hands of local lords and nobles, who controlled the land and provided protection to their subjects. This system made it difficult for any central authority to enforce laws and maintain political unity, ultimately leading to the decline of the nation state as a political entity during the medieval period.
5. Discuss the role and significance of the Christian Church in shaping the social, economic, and political landscape of Western Europe between the 9th and 16th centuries.
Answer: The Christian Church played a crucial role in shaping the social, economic, and political landscape of Western Europe between the 9th and 16th centuries. As a major landholder, the Church wielded considerable influence and power during this period. It served as a unifying force in an otherwise fragmented political landscape, providing a shared religious and cultural framework for the diverse populations of Europe.
Economically, the Church contributed to the stability of the region by managing vast estates and engaging in various forms of economic activity. It helped to maintain the infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, which facilitated trade and communication across Europe. Additionally, the Church played a key role in the development of education and the preservation of knowledge, founding universities and supporting scholars.
Socially, the Church provided spiritual guidance, moral authority, and a sense of community for the people of Western Europe. It served as a source of solace and hope during times of hardship, such as war and famine. The Church also played a significant role in shaping societal norms and values, influencing everything from family life to legal codes.
Politically, the Church wielded considerable power and influence through its relationships with secular rulers. Bishops and other high-ranking church officials often held important political positions, serving as advisors to kings and nobles. The Church also played a central role in legitimizing the rule of monarchs and the authority of the nobility, providing a divine justification for their positions of power.
In some cases, the Church even became directly involved in political conflicts and disputes, wielding its spiritual authority to resolve disputes or to support one side over the other. This involvement could manifest in various ways, such as through the excommunication of rulers, the endorsement of certain political policies, or even the launching of crusades.
41. What were the factors that led to the decline of feudalism?
Answer: Several factors contributed to the decline of feudalism:
- Rise of powerful monarchies: The emergence of powerful monarchies in countries like France, Spain, and England challenged the local organization and power structure of feudalism. These monarchies sought to centralize power and reduce the influence of feudal lords.
- Development of communication and towns: The development of means of communication and the rise of towns broke down the isolated manors and facilitated the emergence of the bourgeoisie class. This process, accelerated in the 14th century, weakened the feudal classification of society and challenged the feudal order.
- Black Death and Peasant Revolts: The devastating impact of the Black Death and subsequent peasant revolts had a profound effect on the feudal system. The serfs demanded cash wages, refused to remain bound to the land, and sought better living conditions. Peasant revolts and the destruction of manor houses demonstrated the growing discontent and challenges to the feudal lords’ authority.
- Changing attitudes of feudal lords: Under pressure from various challenges, feudal lords began to change their attitudes towards serfs. In some cases, they shifted from reliance on serf labor to employing a new moneyed class to turn their lands into sheep farms. This further undermined the feudal system.
- Wars, gunpowder, and feudal measures: In England, the Wars of the Roses, the introduction of gunpowder, and feudal measures implemented by the kings dealt significant blows to the feudal system. These factors disrupted the traditional feudal order and weakened the power of feudal lords.
1. Which groups of people occupied the territories of Italy, Spain, and France after the breakup of the Roman Empire?
A. Slavic tribes B. Germanic tribes C. Celtic tribes D. Huns
Answer: B. Germanic tribes
2. What was the primary force that caused the development of Feudalism in the 9th century?
A. Religious conflicts B. Economic prosperity C. Turmoil of invasions D. Cultural exchange
Answer: C. Turmoil of invasions
3. Which empire was founded by Charlemagne the Great?
A. Holy Roman Empire B. Byzantine Empire C. Frankish Empire D. Ottoman Empire
Answer: C. Frankish Empire
4. What kind of organization was Feudalism primarily?
A. Agricultural B. Religious C. Economic D. Military
Answer: D. Military
5. What was the basis of life in Feudalism?
A. Trade B. Land tenure C. Religion D. Cultural exchange
Answer: B. Land tenure
6. What did Feudalism destroy in the Middle Ages?
A. Trade routes B. Concept of nation state C. Religious institutions D. Scientific progress
Answer: B. Concept of nation state
60. When did feudalism in Europe come to an end?
A. 13th century B. 14th century C. 15th century D. 16th century
Answer: B. 14th century
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