This is the first 1,000 characters of 315 words (1.26 pages) in the essay titled Feudalism
Feudalism, contractual system of political and military relationships existing among members of the nobility in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. (It had nothing to do with blood feuds; the two words came to be spelled alike in the 17th century, but have no etymological relationship.) Feudalism was characterized by the granting of fiefs, chiefly in the form of land and labor, in return for political and military services—a contract sealed by oaths of homage and fealty (fidelity). The grantor was lord of the grantee, his vassal, but both were free men and social peers, and feudalism must not be confused with seignorialism, the system of relations between the lords and their peasants in the same period. Feudalism joined political and military service with landholding to preserve medieval Europe from disintegrating into myriad independent seigneuries after the fall of the Carolingian Empire.
When the German invaders conquered the western Roman Empire in the...
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