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     Feudalism, Everyday Life

        The mystical Medieval time was based on the "feudal" system, in which the king awarded land grants or "fiefs" to his most important nobles -- his barons and his bishops -- as payment for their services.   In their turn, the barons were doing the same for those loyal to them.   At the lowest level of society were the peasants, also called "serfs" or "villeins".   In exchange for living and working on his land -- the "demesne" or "domain" -- the lord offered them his protection.   The nobles swore "fealty" and were vassals to their "liege lord".

        For safety and defense, people grouped in small communities around a central lord or master.   Most people lived in the castle or in the village surrounding it, worked the farm-land or had a profession; they worshipped in the village church or the castle's chapel.   The castles were isolated places , with rare visitors -- mostly peddlers, pilgrims and knights on a quest, on their way to the Crusades or holy shrines, or soldiers from other fiefdoms.

Medieval Occupations in the Castle and Village

Glossary

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medieval life scenery