Feudalism arose at the turn of antiquity andthe middle ages. Society could come to such a system of relations in two ways. In the first case, a feudal state appeared on the site of a decomposed slave-owning state. That is how medieval Europe was formed. The second way was the transition to feudalism from the primitive community, when the tribal nobility, leaders or elders became large owners of the most important resources - livestock and land. In this way, the aristocracy and the peasantry enslaved by it were born.
At the turn of antiquity and the Middle Ages, leaders andtribal commanders became kings, councils of elders were transformed into councils of close, the militias were reformatted into standing armies and squads. Although each nation had a feudal state in its own way, in general, this historical process proceeded in the same way. Spiritual and secular nobility lost its ancient features, large land tenure was formed.
Параллельно с тем разлагалась сельская община, а free peasants lost their will. They fell into dependence on the feudal lords or the state itself. Their key difference from slaves was that dependent peasants could have their own small farm and some personal tools.
So harmful to the integrity of the country feudalfragmentation of the state was based on the principle of feudal property. It also built the relationship of serfs and landlords - the former depend on the latter.
Exploiting one social class by anothercarried out through the collection of compulsory feudal rent (there were three types of rent). The first type was corvee. Under her, the peasant undertook to work out the established number of labor days per week. The second type is natural dues. With him, the peasant was required to give part of his harvest to the feudal lord (and part of the production from the artisan). The third type was cash dues (or money rent). With her, artisans and peasants paid money to the lords.
The feudal state was built not only oneconomic, but also non-economic exploitation of oppressed segments of the population. Often such coercion resulted in overt violence. Some of its forms were spelled out and recorded as legal methods of circumvention in the legislation. It was thanks to the support of the state that the power of the feudal lords lasted for several centuries, when the position of the rest of society often remained simply disastrous. The central authorities systematically oppressed and suppressed the masses, protecting private property and the socio-political superiority of the aristocracy.
Medieval political hierarchy
Why were the feudal states of Europe soresistant to the challenges of time? One of the reasons is a strict hierarchy of political and social relations. If the peasants were subordinate to the landowners, then they, in turn, obeyed even more influential landowners. The crown of this characteristic of his time was the monarch's design.
The vassal dependence of some feudal lords on othersallowed even a weakly centralized state to keep its borders. In addition, even if large landowners (dukes, counts, princes) were in conflict with each other, they could unite a common threat. External invasions and wars (invasions of nomads in Russia, foreign intervention in Western Europe) usually served as such. Thus, the feudal fragmentation of the state in a paradoxical way split countries, and helped them to survive various cataclysms.
Как и внутри общества, так и на внешней In the international arena, the nominal central authority was not a conduit for the interests of the nation, but of the ruling class. In any wars with neighbors, the kings could not do without the militia, which came to them in the form of detachments of younger feudal lords. Often the monarchs went to external conflict only in order to satisfy the demands of their elite. In the war against the neighboring country, the feudal lords plundered and profited, leaving huge fortunes in their pockets. Often, through armed conflict, the dukes and earls seized control of trade in the region.
Taxes and church
The gradual development of the feudal statealways entailed the growth of the state apparatus. This mechanism was supported by fines from the population, high taxes, duties and taxes. All this money was taken from urban residents and artisans. Therefore, even if the citizen was not dependent on the feudal lord, he had to give up his own welfare in favor of the powers that be.
Another pillar on which stood the feudalstate, was the church. The power of religious leaders in the Middle Ages was considered equal or even greater power of the monarch (king or emperor). In the arsenal of the church were ideological, political and economic means of influencing the population. This organization not only defended the religious worldview itself, but remained on guard of the state during the period of feudal fragmentation.
The church was a unique linkbetween different parts of a split medieval society. Regardless of whether the man was a peasant, military or feudal, he was considered a Christian, and therefore, obeyed the pope (or the patriarch). That is why the church had the opportunities inaccessible to any secular authorities.
Religious hierarchs excommunicated the unwanted and couldto prohibit worship in the territory of the feudal lords with whom they had a conflict. Such measures were effective instruments of pressure on medieval European politics. The feudal fragmentation of the Old Russian state in this sense differed little from the orders in the West. Figures of the Orthodox Church often became intermediaries between the conflicting and warlike princes.
The development of feudalism
Most common in medieval societythe political system was the monarchy. Rarely met republics that were characteristic of certain regions: Germany, Northern Russia and Northern Italy.
Early feudal state (V-IX centuries.), as a rule, was a monarchy in which the ruling feudal class was just beginning to form. He rallied around royal power. It was during this period that the first major medieval European states, including the monarchy of the Franks, were formed.
Короли в те столетия были слабыми и номинальными figures. Their vassals (princes and dukes) were recognized as "younger", but in fact enjoyed independence. The formation of the feudal state took place together with the formation of the classical feudal layers: junior knights, middle barons and large graphs.
В X-XIII столетиях для Европы были характерны vassal seignorial monarchy. During this period, the feudal state and the right led to the flourishing of medieval production in subsistence farming. Finally, political fragmentation took shape. A key rule of feudal relations has emerged: “My vassal's vassal is not my vassal.” Every major landowner had obligations only to his immediate lord. If the feudal lord violated the rules of vassalage, a fine was waiting for him at best, and a war at worst.
The pan-European process began in the 14th century.centralization of power. The ancient Russian feudal state during this period turned out to be dependent on the Golden Horde, but even so, the struggle for the unification of the country around a single principality seethed within it. The main opponents in the fateful confrontation were Moscow and Tver.
Then in the western countries (France, Germany,Spain) appeared the first representative bodies: the States General, the Reichstag, the Cortes. The central state power gradually grew stronger, and the monarchs concentrated in their hands all the new levers of social control. Kings and grand dukes relied on the urban population, as well as on the middle and petty nobility.
The end of feudalism
Large landowners, as best they could, resistedstrengthening monarchs. The feudal state of Russia survived several bloody internecine wars before Moscow princes managed to establish control over most of the country. Similar processes took place in Europe and even in other parts of the world (for example, in Japan, where there were also large landowners).
Feudal fragmentation is goneXVI-XVII centuries., When in Europe there were absolute monarchies with full concentration of power in the hands of kings. The rulers performed judicial, fiscal and legislative functions. They were in the hands of large professional armies and a significant bureaucratic machine with which they controlled the situation in their countries. The body-representative organs have lost their former meaning. Some remnants of feudal relations in the form of serfdom remained in the village until the XIX century.
Помимо монархий, в средневековье существовали aristocratic republics. They were another peculiar form of the feudal state. In Russia, trade republics were formed in Novgorod and Pskov, in Italy - in Florence, Venice and some other cities.
The supreme power in them belonged to the collectivecity councils, which included representatives of local nobility. The most important levers of management belonged to merchants, clergy, wealthy artisans and landowners. The Soviets controlled all city affairs: trade, military, diplomatic, etc.
Princes and veche
As a rule, the republics had a rather modestterritory. In Germany, they were mainly limited to lands closely adjoined to the city. At the same time, each feudal republic had its own sovereignty, monetary system, court, tribunal, army. At the head of the army (as in Pskov or Novgorod) could be invited prince.
In the Russian republics also existed veche -City Council of Free Citizens, which addressed the internal economic (and sometimes foreign policy) issues. These were the medieval shoots of democracy, although they did not abolish the supreme power of the aristocratic elite. However, the existence of a multitude of interests of different segments of the population often led to the emergence of internal conflicts and civil strife.
Regional features of feudalism
Every major European country had its ownfeudal features. The generally recognized homeland of the system of vassal relations is France, which, moreover, was the center of the Frankish Empire in the 9th century. In England, the classic medieval feudalism was "introduced" by the Norman invaders in the XI century. Later than others, this political and economic system took shape in Germany. For the Germans, the development of feudalism was confronted with the opposite process of monarchic integration, which gave rise to many conflicts (the opposite example was France, where feudalism was formed before the centralized monarchy).
Why is this?In Germany, the rule of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, which tried to build an empire with a rigid hierarchy, where each lower step would obey the top. However, the kings did not have their own stronghold - a solid base that would give them financial independence. King Frederick I tried to make Northern Italy such a monarchical domain, but there he came into conflict with the Pope. The wars between the central government and the feudal lords in Germany continued for two centuries. Finally, in the 13th century, the imperial title became elective, not hereditary, losing a chance of supremacy over large landowners. Germany for a long time turned into a complex archipelago of independent principalities.
В отличие от северной соседки, в Италии the development of feudalism went at an accelerated pace since the early middle ages. In this country, as an heritage of antiquity, an independent urban municipal government was preserved, which eventually became the basis of political fragmentation. If France, Germany and Spain after the collapse of the Roman Empire were massively populated by foreign barbarians, in Italy the old traditions have not disappeared anywhere. Soon big cities became centers of profitable Mediterranean trade.
The church in Italy was the successor to the oldsenatorial aristocracy. Up until the 11th century, bishops were often the key administrators of cities on the Apennine Peninsula. The exclusive influence of the church was shaken by wealthy merchants. They created independent communes, hired external administrators and conquered a rural district. So around the most successful cities have developed their own ownership, where the municipalities collected taxes and grain. As a result of the above processes in Italy, numerous aristocratic republics emerged, splitting the country into many small pieces.