Chapter 6 The Three Orders
Describe two features of early feudal society in France.
Two features of early feudal society:
- Early feudal society in France was based on the relationship of lord and peasants. The peasants had to offer labor in the service of their lords.
- The lord enjoyed special status. His order was supreme. Nobody could deny his order.
How did long-term changes in population levels affect economy and society in Europe?
Long-term changes in population levels affected the economy and society:
- This change brought about a new change in agricultural production. Production reached at its peak. Good quality of goods was also produced. It increased the life expectancy rate.
- A number of towns came into being. They also became the center of trade and commerce. Society became more advanced and civilized.
Why did knights become a distinct group and when did they decline?
There were frequent localized wars in Europe during 9th century. Soldiers were not enough. Good cavalry was the need of hour. It led to the growing importance of a new section of people, i.e. the knights. They were linked to the lords. The lord gave the knight a piece of land that was called fief. Land of the fief was cultivated by peasants. In lieu of that, the knight paid his lord a regular fee and also promised to fight for him in war. In this way, they became a distinct group. The fall of feudalism was one of the main reasons of the decline of knights during 15th century.
What was the function of medieval monasteries?
The functions of medieval monasteries are as follows:
- It inspired the people to lead a simple life.
- It also inspired the people to serve the sick and the needy.
- It also inspired the people to donate for a noble cause.
Answer In A Short Essay
Imagine and describe a day in the life of a craftsman in a medieval French town.
Students are advised to answer this question with the help of their teachers. Following guidelines are given to complete this task:
- Craftsmen worked under the supervision of guilds. They were skilled persons.
- Trading guilds controlled and supervised their activities and took great care of their needs.
Compare the conditions of life for a French serf and a Roman slave.
French Serfs: They cultivated land that mainly belonged to the lord. Most of the produce from these land was given to the lord.
- They also had to work that belonged exclusively to the land and were given no wages.
- They could not leave the estate without the prior permission of their master/lord and could not marry their child according to their wishes.
- The lord could decide their fate. As a whole their life was full of misery.
Roman Slaves: Slavery was in a practice in Roman society. The Roman led a life full of misery. They were forced to work for several hours. They were forced to produce more children, so that when they grew up, they could also made slaves.
More Questions Solved
Very Short Answer Type Questions
How was western European society divided?
Western European society was divided into three estates. These were:
- The Clergy
- The Nobility
- The Peasantry
The clergy was considered to be the most important in medieval European social order. What were the reasons?
Answer:. There are a few reasons of this:
- Clergy enjoyed special status.
- The clergy had complete control over the social orders of the society.
- No body could disobey their orders.
What were the two sections of Third Order?
Two sections of the Third Order were:
- Free Peasants
What do you understand by Labour Rent?
In the estate of the lords, the serfs had to work along with his family members for at least 3 or more days. Income generated from this labour is known as Labour Rent.
What was Tithe ?
Tithe was a kind of tax collected by the church from the peasants in France. It was 1/10th of the total produce.
What do you know about Friars?
Friars were a group of monks who moved from place to place, preaching to the people and living on earth.
What was Taille?
Taille was a kind of tax collected by the kings from the peasants.
Write a few restrictions that were imposed on the serfs.
Following restrictions were imposed on the serfs.
- The serf can’t leave the estate without the prior permission of their masters or lords.
- They were prohibited from offering their prayers in the church.
- They did not enjoy the right of education.
What were the duties of the serfs?
- The serfs had to do forced labour.
- The serfs had to serve in their lord’s army for 40 days in a year.
What was the basis of economic organisation?
The basis of economic organisation was the guild.
Discuss a few advantages of feudal system.
Advantages of feudal system:
- It established law and order system.
- It set up an efficient administrative system.
- It put a check on the power of the absolute monarch.
What were the drawbacks of feudal system?
Drawbacks of feudal system:
- It weakened the monarchial system.
- It hampered the process of national unity and integration.
What were cathedral towns?
The large church buildings built in France were called cathedrals. With the passage of time, many towns flourished around the churches that were called cathedral towns.
What was Manar?
Fertile lands were called Manar.
Discuss any four factors responsible for the decline of feudalism.
The factors responsible for the decline of feudalism were:
- Development of new towns and cities
- Peasants revolt
- Emergence of middle class
- Advent of the use of money
The monks living in St. Benedict monastery followed some rules. Enumerate two of them.
Monks living in St. Benedict monastery followed the following rules.
- The monks obeyed the order of the chief of the monastery. They were not allowed to speak freely.
- They had to spend most of their time in meditation.
Where was shortage of silver felt in 14th century? Did it have any affect on the trade?
The shortage of silver supply was felt in Serbia and Austria in the 14th century. It adversely affected trade.
Discuss any two factors that were responsible for the rise of nation-state during 16th century.
The two factors responsible for the rise of nation-state during 16th century were:
- Decline of feudal system
- Growth of middle class.
What were the causes of the growth of towns in Europe during the middle age?
- Trade and commerce flourished and most traders settled in cities and towns.
- Towns were free from the control of lords. As a result, people started migrating from rural to urban areas in search of jobs.
What do you understand by vassalage?
In society, priests were put in the first order and nobles in the second order. The nobility enjoyed privileges in the social process. They had complete control over the land. This control was the outcome of the Vassalage’ practice.
Short Answer Type Questions
Describe the life of Christian monks in a monastery during the medieval period of Europe.
The men who led the life of self-denial and self-control were called monks. The monks lived in monastery and led the simple life. They had to take a vow not to acquire any kind of worldly possession. They were not allowed to marry and had to take a vow to obey the chief of monastery. Their only mission in life was to pray and preach and to spread moral teachings among the common people.
What do you understand by manor? Describe in brief.
The noble enjoyed a special status in the society. He had a complete control over his property. He was the lord of all the people settled on his land. He occupied vast tracts of land which had its own dwellings, private fields, and pastures. His house was called manor. Peasants cultivated his private lands. Whenever required in battle they were also expected to act as foot soldiers.
Discuss the categories of cultivators under feudalism during the medieval age in Europe.
There were two categories of cultivators in the feudal system, during the age in Europe. They were free peasants and serfs.
- Free Peasants: They held their farms as tenants of the lord. This category of peasants did not work for their lords.
- Serfs: Serfs were the lowest category of peasants. They were just like slaves of their masters. They had not only to work on the fields of their lords and gave them a part of their produce but also to perform such petty jobs as building or repairing their houses, roads, etc. They received no wages. They were not allowed to leave the state without the permission of their lord.
What was the position of Pope in the medieval Europe?
The Pope enjoyed a respectable position in the society during the medieval period in Europe. He was considered to be the spiritual representative of Jesus Christ. He interfered into the internal affairs of the Christian kings and their subjects. Nobody could dare to challenge the authority of Pope.
What is the political importance of the feudal system?
Political importance of the feudal system:
- Nobles provided protection to their people.
- They also maintained peace and harmony in their regions.
- The feeling of mutual understanding and co-operation among the people was also created.
- Through manorial system, the feudal lords provided economic provision.
Describe the merits and demerits of feudal system.
Merits of the feudal system:
- Common people were provided security of life and property.
- Law and order was maintained in their territories.
Demerits of the feudal system:
- There were mutual conflicts among feudal lords to expand their own states. That is why peace and order in the society got disturbed.
- The feudal system proved to be an obstacle in the growth of political unity.
How did plague affect trade and cities?
- With the expansion of trade in the 13th and 14th centuries, ships carrying goods from distant countries had started arriving in European ports. Rats came along with ships carrying away the infection of bubonic plague. After the outbreak of plague, cities became the hardest hit. In enclosed communities like monasteries, when one individual contracted the plague none survived.
- The plague took its worst toll among infants, the young and the elderly.
- As the horrible impact of plague the population of Europe, 73 millions in 1300, stood reduced to 45 millions in 1400.
- Depopulation caused a shortage of labour. Imbalance was created between agriculturalists and manufacturers.
Why did rich people donate their money to churches?
The rich people donated their money to churches. The large churches were known as cathedrals. They were being built in France and belonged to monasteries. Different groups of people gave their immense contribution by their labour, materials and money for their construction. It took many years in its completion. After its completion, they became centers of pilgrimage.
What do you understand by Guild?
Guild was the basis of economic organisation. Each craft or industry was organised into a guild. It was also an association. Quality of the product, sale and its price were controlled by the Guild. The Guild hall was the distinct feature of every town. In it, the heads of all trade organisations formally met. Guards patrolled the town walls and musicians were called to play at feasts and in civic processions. Innkeepers looked after travelers.
Which values enhanced the status of nobility?
The values which enhanced the status of nobility were:
- Their wealth
- Their social status
- Their political image
- Their property
- Their judicial role
Knights became a distinct group under medieval European society. Why?
From the 9th century, there were frequent localized wars among different factions. Amateur soldiers were not sufficient. There was the need of good cavalry. Thereafter, a new section of people-the Knights grew. They were linked with the lords. The lord gave the knight a piece of land, i.e. fief. It extended between 1,000 and 2,000 acres or more. It also comprised a house for the knight and his family, a church and other establishments to house his dependents.
The knight paid his lord a regular fee and promised for him to fight in war. In this way, the knights became a distinct group in the medieval European society.
Enumerate the two merits and demerits of medieval monasteries in Europe.
Merits of the medieval monasteries:
- Medieval monasteries were the only centers of learning during the medieval period.
- The monks who resided in the monasteries initially led to a very pious life and also served the people.
Demerits of the medieval monasteries:
- Soon the monasteries began to acquire land and amass wealth. Within no time, they became a seat of exploitation rather than of service.
- The monks led a pious life in the beginning but with passage of time, they led a scandalous life.
Discuss the impact of environment on European agriculture.
The entire Europe was covered with huge and dense forests between fifth to tenth centuries. It was but natural that there was less land available for agriculture. The conditions of peasants were miserable. Now they started to take refuge in the forest. There was cold climatic condition in entire Europe. The yield of the crops reduced to a large extent. But in 11th century, climatic conditions of Europe changed. It entered into a warm phase. Average temperatures increased. It had a huge impact on agriculture. There was longer growing seasons for the agriculturists. Fertility of the soil also increased and hence, the production naturally increased.
Discuss the social changes that had taken way to the development of monarchy-feudal system.
Social changes that had taken way to the development of monarchy-feudal system were:
- Decreasing rate of economic growth had given chance to the monarch to consolidate their power.
- Strong infantry equipped with gun and artillery helped the monarch to establish their monarchy.
How was European society divided under the feudal system? Explain. Write in brief the reasons of their development.
European society under feudal system was divided into the following heads:
(i) Feudal class
(ii) The peasants
(iii) New class
- Feudal class: The king occupied the highest rank. He gave land to a number of lords. These lords distributed their land to the Barons. King’s vassals were the Dukes and Earls. They showed their loyalty to the king. During war period, the king was free to take military help from their vassals.
- The peasants: They formed the largest group in the society. They were put into the category of lowest class. They were divided into a number of classes.
- New class: It was the emergence of middle class. Reasons of their development: With the invention of trade and industries the rise of middle class emerged in the cities.
Discuss the growth of town after the decline of Roman empire.
After the decline of Roman empire, the towns were completely destroyed. Most of the ancient Roman towns bore a deserted look. With the increase of agriculture the largest portion of population depended on agriculture. Towns began to flourish again. To sell their grains, the peasants now needed a place. They also needed a place where they could buy tools and clothes. Consequently, it led to the growth of small towns, churches, roads, etc.
Agricultural technology was very primitive. Why?
In the very beginning, agricultural technology was rather primitive. There was only an alternative of wooden plough, drawn by a team of oxen for the peasants. Wooden plough could only scratch the surface of the earth. So, agricultural produce was not upto the mark. It was also labour intensive. Fields could be dug only once in four years. Crop rotation method was not effective. Land was divided into two parts; on one part, winter wheat was planted while other part was left fallow. As a result, soil deteriorated slowly. Famines were natural phenomena. Frequent famines led to the miserable life for the poor. In this way, we can say that agricultural policy was rather primitive.
Describe a few characteristics of feudal system.
Characteristics of feudal system:
- Nobles were vassals to the kings.
- The peasants were vassals to the nobles.
- The lord could protect the vassal loyal to him.
- Vassals would receive a written charter or even a clod of earth as a symbol of the land being given to him by his lord.
Discuss the causes of the development of cities in medieval Europe.
- The emergence of feudalism was accompanied by the decline of trade and towns with the gradual decline of feudalism, particularly from the 11th century onward.
- Towards the end of the Middle Age, the rise of the middle class led to the emergence of towns. The economic prosperity of the class helped in the development of cities in medieval Europe.
- East-west contact also encouraged trade and commerce. As a result, art and crafts centers were established. In course of time, these centers became towns.
Long Answer Type Questions
Discuss the following:
- Serf: Serf occupied a distinct place in medieval Europe. They did a lot for the development of agriculture. They cultivated plots of land which belonged to the lord. A large portion of its product had to be given to the lord. They were not allowed to leave the estate without the prior permission of their lords. The lord could only decide about the marriage of their serfs.
- Monk: A group of deeply religious people chose to lead the life of isolation. They lived in religious communities called abbeys or monasteries. Monks took vows to remain in the monasteries for the rest of their lives. They spent most of their time in prayer, meditations and studies. Men or women could also lead such sort of life. Men became monks and women became nuns. There were separate monasteries for men and women. Monks and nuns did not marry.
- Cathedrals: Large churches were called cathedrals. They were built in France. Different groups of people contributed a lot to their monasteries, particularly the rich merchants. Cathedrals were built of stone. They were designed in such a way so that the priest’s voice could be heard within the hall v/here a large number of people gathered. Stained glass windows narrated the stories in the Bible through pictures. Illiterate people could also read it.
Why do you think the people of new towns were considered of fourth order? Explain.
The people of new towns were considered of fourth order because of the following:
- These newly flourished towns were developed with the fair and small market centers, as a result of expansion of trade.
- The social and the political conditions of the people were totally different from the people who belonged to the former three orders.
- There were banks and lawyers in these towns. There was a distinct economic organisation in the form of guild. Each trade and craft industry was organised into a guild.
- Craftsmen found it easier to settle in the towns as goods could be produced and traded for food.
- The rich traders and merchants developed better than the nobility. They were generous to the people and engaged in trade related activities.
- Later on cathedral towns began to develop, which belonged to monastery and rich merchants.
Which causes were responsible for the rise of middle class?
The causes responsible for the rise of the middle class were :
- In the crusade, a lot of feudal lords had been killed.
- The growth of commerce and trade made the trading class quite rich and prosperous. They, in turn, sought the favor of king and helped him, whenever needed.
- The wealthy merchants and rich traders got many towns and cities freed from the clutches of feudal control.
- The new cities soon grew into centers of trade, commerce and education and consequently gave rise to the new classes.
- New classes of the rich merchants patronized art, science, literature and education.
How did technological changes affect agriculture during 11th century?
Technological changes affected agriculture in many ways:
- Wooden ploughs were replaced with heavy iron-tipped ploughs.
- The method of harnessing animals to the plough improved which enabled animals to exert greater power. Horses were now better shod with iron horseshoes. It prevented foot decay.
- The increased use of wind and water energy for agriculture enhanced agricultural production.
- The most innovative change was the switch from a two-field to a three field system. Now, peasants could use a field two years out of three if they planted it with one crop in autumn and a different crop in spring a year and a half later.
- Now the farmers could plant one with wheat or rye, the second in spring to raise peas, beans and lentils and the other
- part was left fallow.
As a result, there was an immediate increase in the amount of food produced from each unit of land. Food production almost doubled. There were better opportunities for cultivators. They could now produce more food for less land. The average size of peasants’ farm shrank from about 100 acres to 20 to 30 acres. As a result of holding, smaller lands could be more efficiently cultivated. It also reduced the amount of labour. The new technological changes cost a lot of money.
Discuss the achievements of the nation-states.
The nation-states are known for achievements. Some of them were:
- The rise of nation-states crushed the power of the lords and this made people free from their excesses.
- They paved way for setting up peace.
- They taught the people to give support to their kings.
- They infused the spirit of nationalism among the people of different classes.
- They took remarkable steps for the consolidation of the economy of states.
- They contributed a lot in the development of language, literature and architecture.
What were the causes that led to the decline of feudalism in Europe?
From the eighth to twelfth century CE, feudalism prospered in Europe. There was a steep decline of feudalism in Europe. The following causes led to its downfall:
- Rise of the powerful monarchies: Powerful monarchies paved the way for the decline of feudalism. It rose in France, Spain and England.
- Rise of nationalism: Education spread in the nation. The spread of education aroused the spirit of nationalism among the educated middle class. But the feudal lords were quite opposed to nationalism. That was why the educated people turned against feudalism. They could not tolerate its existence. They were to the side of their ruler and not with the lords. The result was that rulers became more and more powerful.
- Rise of the middle class: New inventions encouraged trade and industry. The result was the emergence of the middle class in towns and cities. The middle class desired peace for the promotion of commerce, industry and crafts. They wanted to get rid of the nobles who were always engaged in constant wars.
Discuss in detail about the emergence of cathedrals.
From 12th century, large churches were built in France. They were known as cathedrals. These belonged to monasteries. Various groups of people contributed a lot to their construction in the form of labor, material and money. Along with it, the rich merchants also spent money by making donations to churches. Cathedrals took many years in their completion. After their completion, they became the centers of pilgrimage. Small towns also grew a lot. The specialty of the design of cathedrals was that the voice of priest could be clearly heard within the hall where a number of people gathered. Their voice could be heard even from a far off distance.
For windows stained glass was used. During the day, the sunlight would make them radiant for people inside the cathedral, and after sunset the light candles would make them visible to people outside. The stained glass windows narrated the stories in the Bible through pictures, which even the illiterate people could read
Discuss the political changes which occurred during 15th and 16th centuries in Europe.
The political changes that occurred during 15th and 16th centuries were as follows:
- European kings strengthened their military as well as financial power during 15th and 16th centuries. They created powerful new states. These were much significant for Europe. Economic changes were also occurring. Historians have, therefore, called these kings “the new monarchs”.
- Louis XI in France, Maximilian in Austria, Henry VII in England and Isabelle and Ferdinand in Spain were absolutist rulers. They initiated the process of organizing standing armies, permanent bureaucracy and national taxation. In Spain and Portugal, they began to play a role in European expansion overseas.
- Rulers dispensed with the system of feudal levies for their armies and introduced professionally trained infantry equipped with guns and siege artillery directly under their control.
- The social changes started to take place in the 12th and 13th centuries after the triumph of monarchies. The dissolution of the feudal system of lordship vassalage, and the slow rate of economic growth had given the first opportunity to kings to increase their control over their powerful and not so powerful subjects.
- With the increase in taxes, the treasury of monarchs filled. They had enough revenues to support larger armies. They also defended and expanded their frontiers and ruthlessly destroyed the internal bickerings. Without resistance from the aristocracy, centralization could not be done. In England, the rebellions occurred in 1497, 1536, 1547, 1549, and 1553 simultaneously.
- In France, Louis XI (1461-83) waged a long struggle against dukes and princes. In the 16th century, the religious wars in France were a contrast between royal privileges and regional liberties.
- The king was now the center of an elaborate courtier society and a network of patron-client relationships.
- All monarchies, whether weak or powerful, needed the cooperation of those who could command authority. It did not matter whether they were weak or strong. Patronage became the means of ensuring cooperation. It could also be obtained by means of money.
- For ensuring survival, the nobility managed a tactical shift. They quickly transformed themselves into loyalists. Loyal absolutism has been called a modified form of feudalism. The lords were given permanent position in the administrative service. Now they started dominating the political scene.
“Why did Europe’s economic progress slow down by the early 14th century”? Give
Europe’s economic progress slowed down due to the following reasons:
- The warm summers of the last 300 years had given way to bitterly cold summers in Northern Europe by the end of 13th century. It became quite difficult to grow crops on higher ground. Storms and flood destroyed the entire crops, which resulted into less income in taxes for government.
- Before thirteenth century, the climatic conditions had led to the large scale reclamation of the land of forests and pastures for agriculture. Intensive ploughing had exhausted the fertility of soil. The shortage of pastures reduced the number of cattle. Europe was hit by severe famines between 1315 and 1317. By 1320s, there occurred massive cattle
- Trade was hit by a severe shortage of metal money because of the shortfall in silver mines in Austria and Serbia. It forced the governments to reduce the silver content of the currency , and to mix it with cheaper metals.
- With the expansion of trade in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, ships carrying goods from distant countries had started arriving in European ports. Along with the ships came rats with deadly bubonic plague infection (the Black Death). Western Europe was isolated in earlier centuries, but was hit by the epidemic between 1347 and 1350.
- As a result, the trade centers and cities were hit. In enclosed communities like monasteries and covents, when one individual contracted the plague, a lot of people got affected to it. The plague took its worst toll among infants, the young and elderly.
Discuss the major drawbacks of feudalism which prevailed in medieval Europe.
The major drawbacks of feudalism which prevailed in medieval Europe were as follows:
- It divided the country into small fiefs held by the feudal lords. They were selfish. They cared more for themselves and ignored the interests of the country as a whole. Hence, feudalism gave a blow to national unity.
- The central government became very weak. The feudal lords became more powerful and supreme. The vassals ignored the order of the king. The king was entirely dependent on feudal lords both for military and money. Sometimes they asserted their independence and king could not control them.
- Feudalism encouraged rebellions and wars. The power of the lords was increasing day by day and the kings were becoming more and more weak. This encouraged rebellious tendency among the nobles. The nobles were also eager to get new lands. So there was constant warfare among them. It destroyed peace and security and created chaos and confusion in the society.
- Feudalism was responsible for the defective military organization. Every lord organised his army in his own way. Their weapons and methods of lighting also differed as a result of national crisis.
- Feudalism led to maladministration of justice. Every lord had his own court and laws. He decided the cases and punished the people for the same crime that varied from estate to estate.
Passage Based Questions
Read the following passages and answer the questions that follow:
In Benedictine monasteries, there was a manuscript with 73 chapters of rules which were followed by monks for many centuries. Here are some of the rules they had to follow:
Chapter – 6 : Permission to speak should rarely be granted to monks.
Chapter – 7 : Humility means obedience.
Chapter – 33:No monk should own private property.
Chapter – 47: Idleness is the enemy of the soul, so friars and sisters should be occupied at certain times in manual labour, and at fixed hours in sacred reading. Chapter-48:The monastery should be laid out in such a way that all necessities be found within its bounds: water, mill, garden, workshops.
1. What does humility’ mean?
2. What does chapter 47 say?
3. What sort of values are reflected in this chapter?
1. Humility means obedience.
2. Chapter 47 says that idleness is the enemy of the soul, so friars and sisters should be occupied at certain times in manual labour and at fixed hours in a sacred reading.
3. Humanity, truthfulness, etc.
We also caused to be painted, by the exquisite hands of many masters from different regions, a splendid variety of new windows… Because these windows are very valuable on account of their wonderful execution and the profuse expenditure of painted glass and sapphire glass, we appointed an official master craftsman for their protection, and also a goldsmith—who would receive their allowances, namely, coins from the altar and flour from the common storehouse of the brethren, and who would never neglect their duty to look after these
1. Who was appointed for the protection of windows?
2. Windows were precious. How?
3. Who would receive their allowances, namely coins?
1. An official master craftsman was appointed for the protection of windows.
2. Windows were precious on account of their wonderful execution and the profuse expenditure of painted glass and sapphire glass.
3. A goldsmith would receive their allowances.
On the map of Western Europe mark and locate the following extent of feudalism:
(i) St. Denis