Feudalism and Manorialism

During the 9th/10th century Europe was getting raided quite often by the Vikings, making the situation rather unsafe, especially because of the fact that the king(s) was basically completely useless when it came to protecting the people from these raids. So because of these issues and the lack of safety, the people were now on their own, and had to seek safety in other ways, which usually meant that person was going to find safety within the lands of a Lord. Also the Lord had to keep his land safe from the raiders, how did he do that? This brought forth two main types of relationships, feudalism and manorialism.


Feudalism is the relationship between Lords and Vassals(knights). Because the Lord has land and has people living on this land, the land needs to be protected. Of course the Lord cannot do that on his own. So the Lord formed relationships with vassals or knights who then protected this Lord’s land, and did other duties for the Lord. The way that a Vassal is paid from the Lord, is in the form of fiefs, or land. The vassal then uses this land or fief to make an income for himself, being a vassal was no inexpensive matter. Because this vassal now has land he too forms relationships with other vassals to have his land protected. Eventually vassals begin to even exercise political and legal power over their land. In short instead of having one king manage and rule everyone, instead there were many individuals who had land holdings who had authority over this land and everyone else living on it.


Manorialism is the relationship between the Lord and the serf. Because of the lack of safety at the time many people were looking for security and safety; the way that they found this safety was within a Lord’s land. Of course these people had to pay for their safety, so in exchange for safety these serfs did labor on the land as a form of payment. A serf is bound to his Lord’s land, and cannot really leave, but this is the price for safety.


With the lack of reliability from the King(s) and the Viking raids during the 9th/10th century, people sought safety and security in other ways. Because of the situation two main relationships were formed: Feudalism, the relationship between Lords and Vassals or knights, and Manorialism, the relationship between the Lord and the Serf. 

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