The Middle Ages 16066-1485
The Middle Ages encompass one of the most turbulent periods in English History. Starting with the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest. When Duke William of Normandy, better known as William the Conqueror effectively took al of the lands from the Saxon English and gave them to French nobles. There were some point of this period Middle Ages that took myattention a system called feudalism, its beginning and its end, knights, and the crusades.
Feudalism in England was established by William the Conqueror in 1066. The system and structure of feudalism had been well established in Europe for some time and the Normans imposed feudalism in England. In the book Middle Ages the author writes that “The feudal system was a network of lords andvassals. Vassals were noblemen who pledged their loyalty to a lord. In return, that lord gave each vassal and estate or a portion of land to rule. As rulers of lands or fiefs, these noblemen were also lords, who vassals had pledged their loyalty in exchange for smaller fiefs, which they rule” (Sabin, 1985, pg 17). Under Feudalism the King was only answerable to the Pope. Feudalism was based onexploitation. Life lived under the Medieval Feudal System, or Feudalism, demanded that everyone owed allegiance to the King and their immediate superior. During the Middle Ages a portion of land called a fief would be granted by the King. This reward would be granted to him by his lord in exchange for his services. The recipient of the land would be one of his vassals. The fief, or land, was usuallygranted following a Commendation ceremony. The commendation ceremony was designed to create a lasting bond between a vassal and his lord, also the feudalism was a pyramid where the king was at the top, after him were the barons, then the knights and finally the serfs or slaves. There was also a pyramid of power for the church. At the top was the pope, the bishops, arch bishops, arch deacons, abbots,prior, deans and finally monks. Arch bishops could aspire to become Pope. Feudalism was also based on the belief that the land belonged to God but that the Kings, who ruled by Divine Right, managed the land and used it as they wished. However, under the Feudalism pyramid the King was answerable to the Pope. The Pope, as God’s vicar or Earth, had the right to intervene and impose sanctions on anunjust King. Under the feudalism pyramid the Pope had the power to pronounce judgments against a King, depose a King, forfeit his Kingdom, put another King in his place or excommunicate a King. Also any man who broke church law could be excommunicated, or denied the benefits of church membership by the pope. The power and pronouncements of the Pope played a major part in the History of England. Thepope declared the Norman Invasion as a Holy Crusade and declared his support of King William the Conqueror against the claim of King Harold.
We cannot think of medieval period without thinking of knights. At the beginning of the Middle Ages a knight was originally a person of noble birth who was trained in a range of weapons, horsemanship and chivalry. If a boy wanted to be a knight he hadto train from an early age. In the book Elements of Literature the authors write that “when a boy’s training was complete, he was “dubbed” or ceremonially taped on his shoulder. Once knighted, the youth became a man with the title “sir” and the full rights of the warrior caste”. (Moulton, Rolls, and Shaw, 2003, pg 25). Loyalty was very important in this period and it involved a system of socialcodes, especially for knights. If a knight broke one of these codes his position could be in dangerous. The main roles of the knights were to fight wars and protect the interest of the king and barons A code of behavior called Chivalry was very important for knights. Chivalrous knights were to be gallant with women, brave, gentle and bold, pure and pious. The knights Code of Chivalry was part of...
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