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Study & Research Middle Ages

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Feudalism in Western society was hierarchical. The most powerful and important lords generally held the greatest amount of land and had the largest number of vassals to serve in their armies. The bond that existed between the lord and his vassal usually began with a ceremony in which the lord granted land to the vassal in return for the promise of fealty and military service. The ritual was almost always very simple and unpretentious. The following describes one such ceremony that took place in 1127 when William, the count of Flanders (northwestern France), created several new vassals:

First they did homage in this way. The Count asked the vassal if he wished to become his man without reserve, and the latter answered: "I do." Then joining his hands together, he placed them in the hands of the Count, and they bound themselves together by a kiss. In the second...

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This section contains 240 words
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Purchase our Middle Ages Encyclopedia Article
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