Life in the Middle Ages

The Feudal System

The feudal system was the main form of government in Europe during the Middle Ages. In the feudal system, all the land was owned by the king. Lords served the king, and knights fought for the king. In exchange, the king gave plots of land to nobles and knights to live on. Nobles(e.g lords), let peasants/serfs live on their land, in exchange for their service to the lord or knight.

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The hierarchy of power in the feudal system

Life as a Peasant

Life as a peasant in the Middle Ages was hard. In the middle ages, most of europe lived under the feudal system. Under the feudal system, peasants lived and farmed on the land of their lord. In exchange for the land, the peasants had to obey and serve their lord, by providing services and work. They had to put the needs of their lord above their own, oftening harvesting the lord's crops and leaving their own crops to die. Most peasants worked from early in the morning until late at night, and most peasants were miserable and despised their lords. Peasants made up most of the population, and were the lowest in the hierarchy of power. They were the poorest people of the society.

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A typical peasant's home

Life as a Noble

The nobles of the feudal system(lords and knights) had much better lives, although they still served the king, the king was much less demanding of them than they were of their peasants. Nobles lived in castles and lived a luxurious lifestyle when compared to a peasant’s. They had servants to do chores, and the peasants had to do farmwork for the nobles. The nobles had plenty of food, even when the peasants were starving.

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A lord's castle

Life as the King

The king was the head of his country. He was the most powerful person of all. Kings were the decision makers of their countries. They lived great lives in huge castles, bigger than those of the nobles. They had many, many servants, maids, and other people that served him. The family of the king lived luxuriously as well. The whole family was treated with respect. Kings were not chosen, the heir to the throne was usually the eldest son of the family or if you overthrew the king, you would become the new king of the country. It was not a democratic or fair process at all.

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A king's castle

The Church

Above even the king, was the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was a power that spanned across most of Europe. In the Middle Ages, most people in Europe were of Catholic belief and the word of the Church was very important to them. Even the kings listened to what the Church said, like when the Church called on the kings to provide troops. The Church heavily influenced and shaped beliefs and opinions of people at that time.

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A Catholic Church