How Feudalism and Nobles Arose

The Middle Ages were a time of transition. Society moved from being organized around the Roman Empire, which had been gradually declining for hundreds of years, to large geographic regions being governed by lords, who were under the authority of the king or pope. The Catholic Church was at its height and owned most land, meaning that local priests could keep tithes in exchange for dispensing justice and providing guidance to parishioners. Nobles hired knights to fight for them and vassals to work their land, controlling both groups through military power and legal agreements. While feudalism can be summarized as “pay taxes or get whacked,” in reality it was a complicated system that created order out of chaos. Learn more about how feudalism arose below!

in the middle ages, the church was supreme

In the Middle Ages, the church was the supreme power. It owned most of the land, and could control its use. Only it was able to fight heresy (like Protestantism) and paganism (like witchcraft), which were considered crimes against God.

the church owned most of the land

The church was the only entity that could own land

The church owned most of the land because it was the only entity that could make laws. The pope had to give permission for people to be granted or inherit property. So with this power and control over all land, he could charge rent from those who worked on his farms or lived on his manors.

locals were forced to pay tithes to the church

Tithing was a way for the Church to fund itself. Every week, money would be collected from the community and given to the church. The amount that was paid varied, but it was typically around 10% of someone’s income. It wasn’t just a tax, though; people often had to pay tithing even if they didn’t go to church at all!

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This gave rise not only to feudalism in Europe (a system where lords owned land and peasants worked on it), but also an entirely new social order: noblesse oblige, which means “nobility obliged.”

local churches were staffed by priests of varying quality who were controlled by bishops who appointed them

Local churches were staffed by priests of varying quality who were controlled by bishops who appointed them. The priests lived off the land around their parishes, taking in tithes and offerings from its people. As such, they had little incentive to grow crops or make improvements in their villages—instead, they concentrated on collecting dues from their parishioners. On top of that, they had very little contact with the local community because they were often sent out as missionaries throughout England to collect taxes on behalf of the church.

nobles hired large groups of knights, who fought for them and owed allegiance to them

It was through these knights that a noble could have his or her own army. The nobles would hire large groups of knights, who fought for them and owed allegiance to them. The relationship between these two groups was not an equal one. Knights were trained from childhood to fight, both on the battlefield and in tournaments. They pledged loyalty to their lord, and this loyalty could be broken only by disobeying their order (or else being captured). This is why it’s incorrect to say that knights were servants or slaves—they were simply loyal soldiers who had been trained since childhood how to fight as part of a noble’s army.

Knights also did not hold land in exchange for military service; rather, they held land because they were noble-born (which means they had been born into nobility). Nobility might continue through the generations if there was wealth enough left over after other debts had been paid off—but if there wasn’t enough money left over after all debts had been paid off then no one would inherit anything except debt (and possibly some tools). In this way nobility became associated with land ownership rather than mere skill at fighting on behalf of someone else’s cause.”

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nobility hired vassals, people who owed allegiance to them and worked their land in exchange for a portion of what they grew and other forms of payment

As you might expect, the nobility and upper classes required more assistance than mere servants: they needed to be able to have a full-time staff of skilled workers. The solution to this problem was the hiring of vassals, who owed allegiance to their lord and worked his land in exchange for a portion of what they grew and other forms of payment. These vassals could in turn hire other laborers to work under them on their own plots of land or within their own guilds.

This system allowed the nobles not only to maintain full-time help but also place some restrictions on these employees’ behavior by requiring them to refrain from theft or murder while working within their territory (usually just a single town). It was also an effective way for nobles who lived along borders or near areas with limited farmland access (such as mountain ranges) get food by leasing out land that may not otherwise be productive—or even used at all—to farmers willing and able enough work hard enough timeshare it with others so that everyone could reap benefits

nobles were legally bound to help defend their vassals and made money from taxing their vassals’ incomes

Nobles were bound by law to provide their vassals with armed support and protection. In return, the vassals paid their nobles in money or goods. This relationship is known as a “feudal contract” and was legally binding on both parties, ensuring that everyone got what they needed from the arrangement.

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The feudal system also allowed nobles to tax the incomes of their vassals’ lands. This practice was called “feudalism” due to its similar nature to modern-day taxes in how it gathered revenue for government use.[3]

The church and nobility became wealthy through a series of legal arrangements

The church and nobility became wealthy through a series of legal arrangements. These arrangements created an opportunity for the church and nobility to gain power, which in turn allowed them to grow their wealth.

The church had an extensive system of tithes that provided it with a steady income from peasants on whom it levied taxes in the form of grain, livestock or money annually. This system was not without problems, however: there were sometimes years when crops failed or populations fell due to disease; these conditions could mean that some churches received less than they needed while other churches received more than they needed (this is known as over-assessment). In addition, not all peasants could afford to pay their tithes—some were too poor while others simply didn’t want to pay them; both groups would then refuse payment and risk excommunication from their churches if they persisted in refusing payment after repeated requests from clergymen during services (this is known as under-assessment).

Conclusion

This system was used through the middle ages and into the early modern period. It was a way for the church and nobility to maintain power over vast amounts of land which they owned or controlled through a series of legal arrangements with local lords

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