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Re: Stupid questions (fwd)

Poster: mn13189@WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU

On Tue, 6 May 1997, Craig Levin wrote:

> Suffice to say that feudalism isn't such a bad defense against
> absolutism-and that mediaeval nobles generally disliked tyrants.

One of the most popular misconceptions about the Middle Ages is that
feudalism = absolute monarchy.  I was guilty of believeing that until a
wise man taught me better (thanks Dr. M!).  I find it interestig that
fuedal "contracts", if you will, between lord and vassal went both ways.
If the lord did not keep up his end of the bargain, or decided to be a
general jerk, the vassal was under no obligation to serve that lord any
longer.  The fuedal system had a buit in checks-and-balances system in
this way that kept a lord from gaining too much power.  A lord would only
have as much power as his vasselslet him get away with.  Lords needed
vassals, after all.  SOme would argue even more than vassals needed lords.

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