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Study & Research Middle Ages

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Three things characterized the feudal system that emerged in western Europe after the breakdown of the Carolingian Empire. First, there was a complete fragmentation of political power. Central government was absent as larger political units such as kingdoms and empires disappeared. As a result, power fell into the hands of local lords ruling over territories sometimes no larger than a village. Even within the larger parcels of land such as duchies and counties, it was not unusual to find smaller areas where the lord of the duchy or county (a duke or a count) exercised little or no authority. Second, the political power held by the ruling lord was treated as his possession. In other words, the power and right to rule became a private, instead of a public, affair. This power could be divided among heirs, bought, sold, or even given away as part of a marriage...

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This section contains 285 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Middle Ages Encyclopedia Article
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