Was feudalism & manorialism practiced outside of Medieval Europe?

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,175
Sydney
A salient feature of Feudalism is that the taxes were local , with a weak central administration ,

the local lord would not pay anything much to his hierarchical superior , only contribute by the occasional gift on special occasion
their main contribution was to provide military muscle when requested , and even that was severely restricted in time
This hampered the growth of centralism , or destroyed it

the local lord was also the judicial executive ,having the right of high , medium and low justice
IE he could rob the serf , torture him and execute him
there often was some local jury system but the lord had the exclusive use of force , thus the ultimate decision

it should be pointed out the great importance of personal relation ,
if the overlord was not liked or respected , things would get difficult , revolts followed by armed negotiations were common
each lord put their interests first , up to having wars with their neighbors
it took a strong hand to keep things quiet
a weak ruler was always followed by widespread troubles



To consider the mafia as a basic form of feudalism is not wrong ,
such a simple structure is an organic arrangement
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
Why did feudalism & manorialism break down?
Did feudalism & manorialism break down rapidly or slowly?
What happened to serfs & villeins after feudalism & manorialism broke down?
Feudalism made sense in the unstable world of the Late Roman Empire and Early Medieval periods. It no longer made sense in the stable world of the High and Late Middle Ages, especially given the strong centralized states that were emerging and the return of a money economy.

Feudalism and manorialsm ended at different times in different places. Serfdom was still widely practiced in Russia well into the 19th century. There are various laws passed at different times and places that outlawed serfdom, but by the time these laws were passed most serfs had already been freed. Serfdom ended when more efficient means of production were developed. Cash wages were more flexible and more desirable than manorial dues. Workers work harder for money than for abstract ideas like land tenure. A money economy more efficiently allocates resources than serfdom does. Manorialism gave the landlord a large crop that he then had to sell. Landlords usually preferred cash to manorial dues, also. Where and when serfdom no longer made sense it died quickly, but it did not die at the same time in every place because local conditions differed.

Feudalism as a military system died for similar reasons. Kings wanted armies that were loyal to the state (themselves) rather than to intermediate lords. Feudal obligations often limited the number of days per year that feudal levies could be kept in the field. Especially during the Hundred Years' War when the English armies were campaigning in France it did not make sense to take a short-term army over to France and bring it back again a few weeks later. The kings wanted armies that were willing to serve year round, perhaps for multiple years at a time. Under feudalism, knights armed and equipped themselves. During the Hundred Years' War, the cost of arms and equipment rose much faster than soldiers were paid. By the end of the war, most men who would have been knights in earlier centuries were electing to serve as ordinary soldiers because they could no longer afford to equip themselves.

Most serfs continued working as agricultural laborers after being freed from serfdom. They just worked for cash instead of manorial dues and obligations. If someone wanted to do something different, perhaps move to a city or town and practice a trade, they were free to do so. Landlords continued to own land after manorialism died out, but their source of income changed to collecting rents or they hired workers to harvest a crop that the landowner then sold for cash. There have always been great land owners and peasants. The only thing different about manorialism is that it worked without large amounts of cash.
 

mark87

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,092
Santiago de Chile
Depending on how you want to argue the issue the encomienda system greatly resembled feudalism in Spain's new world empire. Native (and or others) people would be bound to the king of Spain and thus owe him tribute, since they had no money so to speak for said tribute it was agreed they had to work for the king who delegated to encomenderos the use of the labor (as a form of tax, kind of like community service) on plots of land they had been granted by the crown, taxes had to come from the revenue of said economic ventures. The system was prone to be abused almost from the start and some landlords were quite abusive some might say making it akin to slavery. It was very much an offshoot of medieval peninsular feudalism (Columbus landed in 1492 after all...).
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,175
Sydney
labor dues was a common form of taxes , the serf had to work the lords lands for free , often at the best farming time , thus neglecting their own
building and maintenance of the lord house , fortification and such was also arduous .
some lord rights were very much resented such as the right to first night with a bride
I doubt if it was much practiced , it would have got the groom and the lord wife pretty upset

revolts were common , burning the manor killing the lord his family and his servants was an occupational hazard
the usual form of resistance was going rogue and turning bandit with the discrete support of the kin left behind
 
Oct 2017
339
America ??
What happened when serfs ran away or disappeared?
What happened to their family, friends & belongings?

Was there feudalism elsewhere in the world, like Middle East, Africa, South, Southeast, & East Asia, the Americas, Australasia etc?

How did peasants & others of humanity’s lowly’s & unimportants compare throughout time & geography?
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
A serf who ran away committed a property crime against his landlord. The loss of a serf devalued the land the serf lived on. It was the same as if a vandal chopped down a fruit tree or if a arsonist burned down someone else's barn. The serf could be punished accordingly, if caught.

The serf's friends and family lived on, the same as if the runaway serf had died. The runaway or disappeared serf's property would probably be divided among his friends and family in a process similar to inheritance. Serfs were allowed to own things and to pass them on to their survivors. The only restriction on a serf's liberty was their inability to move away. Slaves had no right to own things or pass them on to survivors, but serfs were not slaves in this respect.

Edit: In England there was a law that said a serf who ran away to a town and avoided recapture for a year and a day gained his freedom.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,175
Sydney
"The air of the city make you free " is an old saying
the newly emerging towns did not usually recognize serfdom inside the walls
a runaway serf had every chance to make it ,
they were not chained or anything and often would be absent for days
they ran a bigger risk of being arrested for being a vagrant than for being a runaway serf
by the thirteen century , there was a lot of population pressure and a lack of land to farm
it was better to be a serf with a guaranteed possession than to be a landless farm laborer
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
I don't know when the law was made. I suspect it was only in the late Middle Ages when, as Sparky says, there were too many serfs and not enough land. At that time, the kings were encouraging the growth of cities as sources of tax revenue while also trying to weaken the nobility by luring away their laborers.
 
Nov 2013
724
Texas
Peasants were considered bound to their village. They were not free to travel or move. They weren't specifically bound in service to the particular lord but in practise, that certainly was the case. They were essentially property of the domain, but not the personal property of the daimyo - they couldn't be bought and sold but they had obligations, and in certain periods, were liable to be drafted into the military although that ended in teh Edo period, when social status was fixed - once a farmer, always a farmer.
I doubt Japan (at least by the Edo period) was as rigid as you portray. Slavery was outlawed; perhaps even serfdom at some point.

To say there was no social mobility would probably be wrong.

Societies as rigid as you describe would not have had such large cities (such as....Edo); or been a prime candiate for modernisation. You seem to describe a society more akin to Russia then Japan. (though, I suppose, like Russia, Japan combined a lot of progressive and feudalist tendencies..) (so did high medieval Europe but Edo Japan was considerably in advance of a high medieval feudal society.)