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Period 3 Time of monks and knights

The relationship between lord and vassal

Nowadays it is polite to call a man a 'gentleman'. In the past, few men were a gentleman.

History has changed a lot since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The rulers who ruled the lands now ran into various problems. The Roman government proved unique and unmitate. In the period of the Romans, she was able to assert her authority in all corners of the empire without much effort. This was partly due to the good roads. But now that the Romans had left, the roads fell into disrepair and many parts of the ancient empire were no longer accessible.

One of the first rulers after the Romans was Clovis. He was a Frankian monarch. In the fifth century he conquered almost all of Gaul. Clovis was succeeded by some strong rulers. Some of them were Karel Martel, Pippijn the Short and Charlemagne. In the year 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor. This coronation was only allowed by the Pope. Charlemagne had to go to Rome for this. He hoped that his empire would become as great and powerful as the Roman empire was in the previous era. But he did not reach the corners of his empire as well as the Romans had done.

Feudalism had to be the solution. But it also made the king dependent. In feudalism, the king or emperor lent parts of his land to lower lords. The so-called loanee. These loanees in turn lent parts of their land to vassals. A vassal is also called a loan man. The vassals were usually first free men who had become knighted. They had done the gentlemen good service during battles or wars. The vassals swore lifelong allegiance to their loan lords. This usually meant that they had to perform military service on horseback. So they were knights in the service of their lord.

To keep an eye on the lords and vassals, Charlemagne had divided his empire into different parts. These parts are called eyebrows. All these parts were assigned to a count or duke. The earls and dukes were often given a castle and were allowed to levy taxes. There were two different graves: the transmission graves and the market graves.

The dispatchers had to travel constantly to check on the gentlemen. They could make laws and check that these laws were being implemented. This didn't always work out. There were always parts of the country where the count could not assert his power. The most important parts were the monasteries. The monks who lived in it only had to obey the Pope.

The market graves had to defend the borders of the empire.

You notice that the emperor actually had little power. He had given all his power to the lords, who had re-handeded their power to the vassals. The vassals often saw the land they had been given on loan as property. They therefore gave the land to their children even after they died. The gentlemen did this, too. The country became increasingly fragmented. The lands were seen as small kingdoms for which the emperor had nothing more to say. The graves apparently did their job so well, because the gentlemen made their own laws and set the taxes for their people.