Feudalism is a term that often seeks a definition. Good old Webster states:
"the system of political organization prevailing in Europe from the 9th to about the 15th centuries having as its basis the relation of lord to vassal with all land held in fee and as chief characteristics homage, the service of tenants under arms and in court, wardship, and forfeiture"
[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, p.421, 1981 edition.]
Wow...a neat little package...lord...vassal...and land... in some fixed social relation...is the concept. For those who might like a little more understanding the following is recommended.
From Charlemagne's vast empire, to the French Revolution, is the real story. This text by Jean-Pierre Poly, and Eric Bournazel (first written in French, translated by Caroline Higgitt) presents the complex story behind the word "Feudalism".
Power and control are the founding forces which bring social change to a chaotic period of human existence. Who owns and controls the land is the decision that rules the environment of the day. Beginning with "What is known" [Part I] to "New Interpretations" [Part II], the authors provide an in depth analysis to this period of our history. French society leads the way, and as shown on the cover above, it was the Normans [from northern France] who brought these ideas to Albion. The book is a broad overview of these changes that were to form a new social order.
Book was published by Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., New York, 1991.