Feudal Revolution and Its Impact

“Feudal Revolution” was a change in social, economic, and political system in Medieval Europe. It was described as a “collapse of public justice, new regimes of arbitrary lordship over recently subjected and often intimidated peasants, the multiplication of knights and castles, and ideological repercussion.” Violence appeared to have become customary during the transformation.

The social order was changed. “Pierre Bonnassie discovered that an old public order based on Visigothic law preserving peasant property and slavery was smashed by castle-generated violence in the 1020s; out of the crisis emerged a novel and radically feudalized social order by 1060.” In the mid of the eleventh century, people stopped thinking that the king and princes were the guarantors of social order. “Free peasants had been reduced to common subservience with bondsmen and customary tenants within the castle’s districtus.”

Accountability was only occasional even as late as 1100, and the greater lords relied on loyalty. But their way of accounting kept becoming irrelevant as their territories’ population and value were increasing. They couldn’t maintain the revenues as the costs increased as well. “The growth of markets and tolls, especially in the North, and the acceleration and expansion of exchange in coined money changed the nature of the values exploited and commended by lords after about 1075.”

Politics was also impacted by this revolution. There was a disobedience of royal or princely authority on the control of castles everywhere. Only lords could be noble and could only rule. Only lords “could exercise the powers of justice and command that created the presumption of nobility.” Violence seemed to be a method of lordship by the castellans and knights. “In practice and expression it was personal, affective, but inhumane; militant, aggressive, but unconstructive.”