British History and Civilization:
THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD (1066 – 1485). HISTORICAL POINT OF VIEW.
Brief overview of the Medieval period2
The feudal system3
Religion in Medieval England4
Knights and the Code of Chivalry5
Literature and music10
The Black Death12
Brief overview of the Medieval period
The term Medieval derives from the Latin words 'medium aevum' meaning the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages are so called as the middle period between the decline of the Roman Empire and prior to the period called the Renaissance. The early Middle Ages are often referred to as the Dark Ages. The period and era of the Medieval times span 1066 - 1485.
The Medieval Times encompass one of the most turbulent periods in the History of England and scatter the Medieval History books and other historical documents. Starting with the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest - when William the Conqueror effectively took all of the lands and property from the Saxon English and gave them to his French nobles and knights. The Medieval Times saw the building of the great English castles, including the Tower of London and Dover Castle which helped the Normans to retain their hold on England during these turbulent times. The Medieval times also saw the start of the Crusades, the knights of the Middle Ages, the religious knights and the founding of the Knights Templar. The Domesday Book and the Magna Carta were also important events during Medieval times. The Medieval Feudal System was also introduced during the times and the terrible Black Death really did plague the times and period of the Middle Ages.
The feudal system
Feudalism in England was established by William the Conqueror and the Normans following the defeat of the English Anglo Saxons at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The system and structure of feudalism had been well established in Europe for some time and the Normans imposed Medieval Feudalism in England following the Norman Conquest.
Medieval Feudalism was based on the exchange of land (Fief) for military service, called the Feudal Levy. William the Conqueror used the concept of Feudalism to reward his Norman knights and supporters for their help in the conquest of England. Medieval Feudalism, demanded that everyone owed allegiance to the King and their immediate superior. Everyone was expected to pay for the land by providing the following services:
• Work days - completing any chores required
• Providing trained soldiers to fight for the King
• Providing equipment - clothes and weapons - for the soldiers
When war erupted during the times of the Middle Ages troops were raised by the Feudal Levy when there was a 'Call to Arms'. Under the Feudal Levy men were required to fight for a limited period of 40 days - under certain circumstances this could be increased to 90 days. Medieval Nobles and lords of the Middle Ages were expected to provide trained soldiers to fight for the King and to provide clothes and weapons for the soldiers. The limited time requirement of the Feudal Levy was designed to ensure that the land would not suffer from neglect. The pyramid of power which was the Feudal system ran to a strict 'pecking' order - during the Medieval times everyone knew their place. The order of rank of the Medieval Feudal System was as follows:
• At the top of the Feudalism Pyramid was the King
• The King claimed ownership of the land
• The King granted the land to important nobles - these nobles then pledged their loyalty by swearing to serve and protect the King
• The King also granted land to the less powerful military men (the knights) who were called vassals
• The vassals also agreed to...