The main difference between feudalism and manorialism is that feudalism describes the relationship between the king and his masters, but manorialism describes the relationship between landed aristocrats and peasants .
Feudalism and manorialism are two systems that existed in medieval Europe. Both systems involved the exchange of land in exchange for services. Feudalism mainly describes the obligation of the vassals to the king, but manorialism describes the organization of the rural economy in a feudal society.
Key areas covered
1. What is feudalism - definition, characteristics, facts 2. What is manorialism - definition, characteristics, facts 3. What is the difference between feudalism and manorialism - comparison of the main differences
Feudalism, manorialism, manorialism, middle ages
What is Feudalism?
Feudalism is a social, political and economic system that existed in European medieval societies. Although different scholars define feudalism differently, the term feudalism specifically refers to the hierarchical relationship between different levels of people in society. In addition, a feudal society had three different classes: lords, vassals, and fiefs. In other words, we call these the king, the nobles, and the peasants.
The king (lord) owned the whole land, and he distributed plots of landed nobles (vassals) who pledged loyalty and service to the king. The nobles in turn leased their land to farmers (fiefs). However, before the king granted land to anyone, he had to make that person a vassal. This happened at a commendation ceremony, which consisted of the two-part act of deference and the oath of loyalty. Meanwhile, the king and vassal made a treaty - the vassal promised to fight for the king on his orders, while the king agreed to protect the vassal from outside forces. The feudal system was essentially based on the interdependence between lord and vassal.
Feudalism, however, began to decline with the increase in trade, the rise of cities, and the decline in population caused by the black plague. Although we usually associate feudalism with medieval Europe, features of feudalism are also visible in many other historical societies such as Japan and Rome.
What is manorialism?
Manorialism or seignorialism is an economic and social structure based on the medieval manor house in which a nobleman enjoyed a variety of rights over land and tenants. As an essential part of feudal society, this system essentially describes land distribution and rural economic organization. In addition, manorialism arose in the late Roman Empire and was popular in medieval Europe.
In manorialism, the peasants were completely under the jurisdiction of the landlord. They were also obliged to him economically, politically and socially. The Lord's manor (a property) was the center of the economy. In addition, the main house was surrounded by small tenant houses, the village, farmland, and common areas that were used by the entire community.
Mansions typically consisted of three types of land:
Demesne Land - part of the Lord's land that he kept for his own use and that of his household
Dependent possession - land used by tenants (known as serfs or villains) who were required to provide agreed goods or services to the master.
Free Farming Land - Land that was farmed by peasants who were free but under the jurisdiction of the estate. These were less common than the other two types of land.
The manors (where court trials took place) also played a central role in medieval justice. The estate court dealt with disputes between tenants (theft, assault, accusations, etc.) as well as offenses against the landlord (poaching without permission, theft from the landlord's house, etc.). However, the king or his representatives handled larger offenses or criminal activity in a much larger court.
As Europe began to move towards a trade-based economy, and as feudalism weakened, manorialism began to decline too. By the 17th century, most of the areas that relied on manorialism had converted to a commerce economy.
Difference Between Feudalism and Manorialism
Feudalism is a social, political and economic system, the basis of which is the relationship of the master to all the invoiced land and as main characteristics homage, the service of the tenants under arms and in court, guardianship and forfeiture. In contrast, manorialism is an economic and social structure based on the medieval manor house in which a nobleman enjoyed a variety of rights over land and tenants.
Feudalism refers to the reciprocal relationship between king and noblewoman - the king provided land and privileges while the noblewoman protected the king as needed. On the contrary, manorialism refers to the relationship between masters and peasants.
While feudalism is primarily a social and political system, manorialism is an economic system.
In short, feudalism is a social, political and economic system, the basis of which is the relationship of the master to all the invoiced land, and its main characteristics are homage, the service of the tenants under arms and in court, guardianship and forfeiture. In contrast, manorialism is an economic and social structure based on the medieval manor house in which a nobleman enjoyed a variety of rights over land and tenants. The main difference between feudalism and manorialism is that feudalism describes the relationship between the king and his masters, while manorialism describes the relationship between landowners and peasants.
1. Hirst, K. Kris. "Feudalism - A Political System of Medieval Europe and Elsewhere" ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, Dec. 13, 2018, available here .2. "Manorialism". Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, November 7, 2019, available here. 3. Wigington, Patti. “What is manorialism? Definition and examples. ”ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, August 14, 2019, available here.
1. "Louis I of Naples - Order of the Knot" By Engelmann et Graf - Statutes de l'Ordre du Saint-Esprit au droit désir: ou du noeud institué à Naples en 1352 par Louis d'Anjou… avec une Notice sur la Peinture des Miniatures and the description of the manuscript by M. le comte Horace de Viel-Castel, PL. XIII, Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 2. “Riches Heures Berry-Septembre” By the Limbourg Brothers - Septembre (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 3. “Medieval mansion plan” by William R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1923 - (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia