Feudal system


Feudal system

Is a kind of economic and political systems that emerged in both Central and Western Europe during the Middle Ages.

The system depends on the ownership of individuals from the feudal class of the lands that constitute the means of production, and therefore their concern to exploit the peasants to work in them, as the land in that period of time is the main means of production.

The feudal property included both the lands of villages and cities, and feudalists used land and peasants who suffered from poverty to obtain wealth. The system also defined the quality of the strata of individuals in society, which led to the emergence of a feudal society.

The origins and evolution of the feudal system

The researchers were interested in studying the feudal system, which became a political, social and economic system during the Middle Ages, and differed from the systems that appeared before it in ancient times.

This system was specifically introduced in Western Europe, but it dates back to ancient origins with Roman and Germanic roots. It began in the period between the 8th and 9th centuries AD and then spread from the 10th to the 16th century until it declined and ended as a result of commercial and industrial progress.

The feudal system possessed two natures, namely economic nature and political nature, and differed from each other from the period of antiquity to the modern era.

The economic nature of property in the Roman and modern era depended on the existence of rights relations; In the sense that each piece of land had its own owner, and absolute land ownership was a natural case. In the Middle Ages, the land depended on several types of rights; Property loses its legal meaning in it.

The political nature of the state was the rule of the state during the Roman and modern era; as the state carried out its functions and powers by using presidents and employees when the feudal system was applied, the state no longer had any effect. This divided its powers among a group of people.

It concluded that the feudal system arose because of the fragmented ownership of economic nature and the fragmented sovereignty of political nature.

The feudal system in its development depended on slow passage, and it emerged as a result of the economic systems that preceded it and without any individual will from the peoples; the Berbers attacked the majority of the lands of the Western European, resulting in the integration of Roman culture and Germanic culture, which led to the emergence of a society containing a mixture of Roman customs and Roman barbarism.

Researchers were interested in promoting the study of the feudal system to see its evolution and development, some scholars said that it was a Germanic system and others referred to it as a Roman system. This resulted in the emergence of two schools to study the feudal system: the Roman school and the Germanic school.

Fundamentals of the Feudal System

The application of the feudal system was based on the existence of three main pillars, divided into the following:

The Rural community

The rural community formed the categories that lived on the cultivation of the land; by relying on the cooperation between the people, this society is divided into the following sections:

The Peasants: are the individuals who are divided between the free and the slaves, and the majority formed in the ninth and tenth centuries AD a middle area between the slaves and the free, and then emerged a new group known as the serfs, and the following information about the categories of farmers:

  • The Free: They are landlords and do not abide by feudal restrictions. They accounted for 4% of the total number of farmers working in land cultivation in England, while they were larger in the southern part of France, the northern part of Italy and the western part of Germany.
  • The Slaves: were the ones who worked in feudal homes and then began to cultivate the land. Their work was initially confined to providing services to households in England, and they were not important in France, compared to Germany, which had seen a rise in their proportion.
  • The Serfs: are those who were free, and therefore forced as a result of their living conditions to sacrifice their freedom.

The Village: The area where the peasants lived in the feudal system and used three words to refer to them, the estate, the land, and the village.

Cultivation of the land: is a method used in the cultivation of land, and was relying on two cultivation systems; the first was adopted on the cultivation of two fields, while the second was adopted on the cultivation of three fields.

Domain System

The word Domain was derived from the Latin origin (Dominus) meaning the master of the owner, and it was called several names and titles in Europe, such as Mr. and Baron, also known the word domain in the sense of all feudal property.

The domain system is based on dividing the land into two parts: the owner of the land benefits from one of these sections, the other is distributed to the peasants in return for services to the feudalists, and over time the power of the feudalists increased and became a barrier between the peasants in the domain and the governments of the states.

Feudal growth

The feudal growth is a period which saw the growth and development of the feudal system during the ninth and tenth centuries AD; where Western Europe was influenced by many of the events and political and social unrest, also referred to that period by the formation of era of darkness, and generally it is possible this era is divided into three sub-eras, Which are:

The Era of Preliminaries: The feudal system was considered a phenomenon that occurred as a result of events and circumstances, and thus evolved on the basis of the role of a group of men with multiple tasks.

The Era of Growth: It is the era of war in the ninth century that led to the evolution of the feudal system.

The Era of Perfection: the era of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, coincided with the absence of governments of central nature in Western Europe, and in turn increased the influence of feudal masters who were keen to establish feudal families, which contributed to the development of the feudal era.



  1. ↑ “Feudalism”, Encyclopedia.com, Retrieved 17-7-2017. Edited.
  2. ↑ مصطفى العبد لله، “الأنظمة الاقتصادية”، الموسوعة العربية، اطّلع عليه بتاريخ 17-7-2017. بتصرّف.
  3. ^ أ ب ت مفيد الزيدي، موسوعة تاريخ أوروبا: الجزء الأول، صفحة 108، 109، 110. بتصرّف.
  4. ↑ نيفين الكردي (2011)، الأوضاع الدينية والسياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية في الغرب الأوروبي من القرن التاسع حتى القرن الحادي عشر، غزة – فلسطين: الجامعة الإسلامية، صفحة 169، 170، 171، 174، 180، 184، 190، 194، 198. بتصرّف.




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