Feudalism and Great Feudal Lord

Topics: Feudalism, Fief, Vassal Pages: 4 (1553 words) Published: April 1, 2013
The term feudalism is recent, first appearing in French in 1823, Italian in 1827, English in 1839, and in German in the second half of the nineteenth century. It derived from "feodal" which was used in seventeenth-century French legal treatises and translated into English legal treatises as "feodal government". In the 18th century Adam Smith popularized the forms "feudal government" and "feudal system" in his book Wealth of Nations. In the 19th century the adjective "feudal" evolved into a noun: feudalism. The term "feudal" or "feodal" is derived from the Medieval Latin word feodum. The etymology of feodum is complex with multiple theories, some suggesting a Germanic origin and others suggesting an Arabic origin. Initially in Medieval Latin European documents, a land grant in exchange for service was called a beneficium. Later, the term feudum, or feodum, began to replace beneficium in the documents. The first attested instance of this is from 984, although more primitive forms were seen up to one-hundred years earlier. The origin of the feudum and why it replaced beneficium has not been well established, but there are multiple theories, described below. The most widely held theory is put forth by Marc Bloch.Bloch said it is related to the Frankish term *fehu-ôd, in which *fehu means "cattle" and -ôd means "goods", implying "a moveable object of value."When land replaced currency as the primary store of value, the Germanic word *fehu-ôd replaced the Latin word beneficium.This Germanic origin theory was also shared by William Stubbs in the nineteenth century. Another theory was put forward by Lewis. Lewis said the origin of 'fief' is not feudum, but rather foderum, the earliest attested use being in Astronomus's Vita Hludovici. In that text is a passage about Louis the Pious which says annona militaris quas vulgo foderum vocant, which can be translated as "Louis forbade that military provender be furnished.." Another theory by Alauddin Samarrai...
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