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Good afternoon everyone. I would appreciate it if someone could add a timeline (when it emerged, when it collapsed is my main concern) I am not sure if it be better to just make a short note or an entire new heading. Maarten,dutch (talk) 12:02, 1 August 2009 (UTC)


Hi, I just wanted to jump on this talk page to say that this article, despite minor faults, really is remarkably cogent and well-written. Honestly among the best wiki entries I've come across. So, kudos! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:37, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Fix page[edit]

hello, if there , the feudalism page needs fixing, someones incorrectly tried to insert a picture, i'm not quite skilled enough to fix it myself.

It also lacks the infobox "Forms of Government." I don't know how to make it. Vegfarandi 20:15, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

I'd rather not. Feudalism is controversial if it even existed, much less it was a form of government. It's just so widely defined I don't think we should lend any weight to one view. Categories would be better. If anything feudalism could have its own infobox, although I'm not promoting that either, as again, categories do it better. -- Stbalbach 20:50, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

How do you report vandalism on Meta? There is some vandalism in this article, and I just wanted to know because I'm kind of new around here. Steptrip 01:58, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I just deleted a broken external link. I do what I can to help. Haggarduser 21:28, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

etymology inconsistency[edit]

There is an inconsistency in the etymology section: it claims the word feudalism (as opposed to the word feudal) wasn't coined until the french revolution (which began in 1789), but then proceed to give an example of use of the word by the english novelist Tobias Smollett in a novel written in 1771. This is a non-trivial amount of time and should be reconciled or corrected. I don't know myself which one is actually right, but clearly they cannot both be correct. {{subst:unsigned: }}

Yeah true.. feudal is older, feudalism is newer .. same idea though .. I edited the quote to reflect what he was talking about. -- Stbalbach 14:43, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Now we have an inconsistency where the paragraph says the term was invented by Italian jurists first, and then says it was first invented by French and English jurists, and another account is given in between without either of the two around it being qualified as uncertain. I don't know enough about the issue to fix it, but at the very least they can be made compatible by emphasising there are different theories. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:35, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Western bais.[edit]

This article was far to eurocentric. so i edited to contain a broader definition.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

It's not a "western bias", the lead section describes the historiography of the term. This article is about European feudalism, others are in the Examples of feudalism article. If you want an article on Japanese feudalism than create one, although it appears Tokugawa shogunate pretty much has it covered. -- Stbalbach 20:48, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Oh not that word 'eurocentric' again. One may add that the word 'feudalism', no matter what its origin (the article seems a bit confused about that too), is definitely a Western one, and is used to refer to a Western concept. Fengjian, for example, was a Chinese system, not exactly equivalent to feudalism, and no-one will complain if the Chinese article on Fengjian does not talk at length about European 'Fengjian' or call it Sinocentric. Please allow articles on European things in a European language to be Eurocentric. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:39, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Islam contribution?[edit]

Islam made many contributions to Western Civilization Could there be any connection between Islam and the Frankish development of the feudal system? Jim Bart 18:51, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


When did feudalism end? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Feudalism is still in power. However, it is cleverly masked. Feudalism is no different than elitism and bureaudemocracy. North Korea is a feudalist state. YellowRedBlackWhite 01:06, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

24.x.x.x, there is no general agreement on what feudalism is (or if it even existed), so depending on who you talk to, depends on what they will say. It also matters in what place your talking about. Examples of feudalism shows examples in Europe where feudal laws still exist today, but are those countries considered Feudal? You'll also find some people (like YellowRedBlackWhite) who see Feudalism everywhere with no clear definition and who use the term to disparage any system they consider backwards (which is in the spirit of the terms original pejorative meaning). So I guess to answer your question "when did it end", you have to be more clear what "it" is. This article talk about the many ways of looking at it. -- Stbalbach 01:36, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Feudelism Today?[edit]

Estamating from some other people's comments, this article strongly needs a section on Feudalism today. Are there any remnants of feudal ideas and institutions in the Western World today? Why might some people argue that the special qualities of semi-feudal Japan or other countries are still useful? Signor Pastrini 18:41, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

See Examples of feudalism. Because of the difficulty and problematic nature of feudalism (as explained in the article), this is a general overview of the classic definition and historiography and some history - specific cases are in the Examples article plus across many other articles on Wikipedia. -- Stbalbach 18:52, 4 November 2006 (UTC)


As a non-historian, it seems to me a bit inconsistent that the introduction correctly refers to feudalism as a reciprocal relationship, whereas later, power of the vassal is cited as a reason to question the justification of the concept. If I accept that the relationship is one of mutual obligations, then this implies that the vassal also has some degree of "power" -he obviously has something that the liege wants to pay for anyway, and depending on the specifics, the liege enters additional obligations for getting it (such as sending support in the case of external invasion). In any case, the vassal providing something the liege needs or wants, he has by definition some degree of power over the liege. Conversely, while the King of the Regnum Teutonicorum was elected, until the decline of the Hohenstauffen, he very much HAD the power to revoke even fiefs of the most powerful lords, as Barbarossa did with Henry "the Lion". In later days, the emperors lacked the political clout to get away with such actions, but that could equally be seen in line with the decline of the concept. Nonetheless, I think that the notion in the article that feudalism has to be seen in a larger context is correct. I have myself had trouble to explain to others that the free imperial cities are in fact more of a type of special form of vassal, less of early independent "democracy". --OliverH 16:31, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Feudalism is anything but consistent. That is one reason some critics believe it is an unworkable concept layered on the past that breaks down when looked at in specific cases. No one at the time had ever heard of a "feudal system". -- Stbalbach 22:09, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the discussion on ambiguities of the term "feudalism" and the related historiography (Bloch to Brown to Reynolds, etc.) perhaps it's worth noting in the article that feudalism is inherently an overbroad term -- both in chronological scope and application. Perhaps a discussion comparing the term to "capitalism" is appropriate. Both are extremely broad, both denote subjects that evolved dramatically during their lifetimes. (Following Wiki guidelines I'll leave aside critical comments about Brown and Reynolds, especially until I read their stuff).DanEsch (talk) 23:48, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Change Name?[edit]

I at first looked up Fuedalism, but theres was no article on Fuedalism, rather Fuedal Age. I think the article should be changed. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by TheGamerDude (talkcontribs) 04:50, 14 December 2006 (UTC).

Actual History[edit]


Some person has erased all of the feudalism article and changed it to torin was here. I don't know enough about it to change it.

The Tyranny of a Construct[edit]

I tried researching the book cited - it exists in name but I've found no excerpts, no one seems to sell it or have a copy. Does anyone have a way to verify its contents or for those interested in further research to establish that the author is not some contra-marxian extremist? I'm concerned about historical revisionism and I believe that attempting to cast a shadow on the historicity of the existence of feudalism is serious enough that any references cited should be easily obtainable by the public for evaluation. Most of the material disputing the accepted understanding of historical feudalism seems to originate with individuals who elsewhere express a desire to counter Marxist thinking, discourage the use of terms such as "neo-feudalism," and so forth. Not all, but many. Historical revision can be dangerously effective and subtle; it's only responsible to thoroughly examine revisionists with an eye to their personal affiliations and biases. I'd appreciate it if someone could provide more information about the author or her work. Kholtyn 21:20, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

It's not a book, it's an article in the American Historical Review. If you can access JSTOR, it's in there...for some reason I can't access it right now. Any university library should have back copies of it though. Brown, and the article, are quite famous, and she is not an extremist kook (unless, I suppose, one is oneself an extreme Marxist). Adam Bishop 04:02, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Feudalism=police state[edit]

feudalism is basically a Romanticized primitive Communism

Hardly, as does the King do as much work as a peasent or slave? NOLord Laos 04:49, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Exactly my point. In both systems, he who possesses political power possesses everything and everyone. I know Communism is supposed to share, but in reality everything and even the people are considered government property, same with feudalism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Feudalism is very far from communism, and has little to do with actual labor. Feudalism is hierarchical--that is, there is a subordinate relationship of vassal to lord, with the king theoretically at the top of the hierarchy but in most instances having little if any control over the lower levels. (English feudalism after the Norman Conquest would be a more king-centered system, with the king gaining control over all levels, while feudalism in France in the late 10th century would be a much more decentralized system.) The king in practice was generally just one more lord, and not always the most powerful lord. Communism in theory (if not in historical practice) is egalitarian.DeAragon 11:51, 10 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dearagon (talkcontribs)

Date of Feudalism[edit]

There should be a date near the top of the page easily accessable at a glance. 21:13, 8 August 2007 (UTC) (JazzFrog66)

A date for what? Adam Bishop 01:16, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

I think that when he is saying that he wants a date i think he is meaning to say he would like a timeline stateing the date that fuedalism was introduced and the day that it crashed and so on. -kookie bat <(^.^)> —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:53, 8 April 2010 (UTC) ok seriously thats not that big of a deal if there is a date or not all theam matters is that the info is right —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:37, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Why does a feud seem to break out between the second and third paragraphs of this article?[edit]

I believe the third paragraph, or some of the information therein, to be too early placed. And I believe it not simple enough for the average wikipedia reader. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:36, August 20, 2007 (UTC)


I don't know enough about the subject to fix it, but the introduction is terrible, and only annoys the reader enough that they don't want to read the rest of the article. 19:33, 1 September 2007 (UTC) (talk) 05:35, 4 March 2008 (UTC)james i actualley think that all if not most of tis information is wrong. one of the main things about this era is that the heirchy went kings--lord--pheasent. The use of a peasent was large it was there form of a slave in essence. The use of a peasent turned into a vassel after the main fall of the feudal age.

you have it close, first of all the word is peasant, not pheasant(a bird) second, a peasant, or serf, had freedom, in theory. he could always move to a different fief. The rights of serfs varied, mainly based on the principles of supply and demand. Rds865 (talk) 23:22, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree, the opening of this subject is horrendous. Undoubtedly the subject is complex, and changed much over time. The introduction first need a simple overview explanation... A society having a hierarchical system of land ownership / control, where the majority of people - known as peasent - were little more than a slaves or Indentured servant —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:45, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

you are right about the introduction. it could use some fixing and they deffinitly need to tone it down a bit with the "Big Words". not that for someone like me its hard to understand but do note that alot of kids go to this site during school for things like social studies and when they go looking for answers to a homework question they dont want to go and find something that just confuzzes them more than they already are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:48, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Pointless citation[edit]

I've removed the following footnote since (1) it's unclear what part of this article it refers to; & (2) rather than a book, this is an audio recording of ... I haven't the faintest idea.

*^Note 1 : Philip Daileader (2001). "Feudalism". The High Middle Ages. The Teaching Company. ISBN 1-56585-827-1

Anyone can record their ideas onto a CD & try to persuade other people to listen to them, & anyone can restore this to the article. However, I'd like some idea where this fits into the article when/if it is restored. -- llywrch 22:39, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

New additions[edit]


I'm pretty sure that feudalism was present in early ancient China. I don't know whether this is very exact but I think it should be included. -Divya da animal Lvr —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:51, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

_131.230.155.204 (talk) 05:58, 4 March 2008 (UTC) it was but they call it dyanstys

Odd sentence in Overview section[edit]

I found the following sentence odd. It is located toward the end of the Overview section.

"Introduced to England in 1066 by William the Conqueror, who substantially curbed the powers of all feudal vassals while retaining considerable central authority, feudalism incorporated three elements: personal, poetry, and governmental."

I went back through the revision history to see if "poetry" is vandalism, but the amount of vandalism I had to wade through quickly became tiring. Are there any subject matter experts here who can clarify what on earth is meant by "personal, poetry, and governmental"? Even if it did make any sense, it is not gramatical to have 2 nouns and then an adjective. CosineKitty (talk) 19:58, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

The statement is generally fine until the last clause. The feudalism of post-Conquest England was much more centralized than on the Continent, and William I the Conqueror required oaths of loyalty to him from all who held by feudal tenure by the end of his reign to enforce that centralization. I might quibble with the notion that he "curbed the powers of all feudal vassals" because he put some very powerful vassals in frontier areas such as along the Welsh and Scottish borders. As for three elements, I've never seen a discussion of feudalism in England that mentioned anything about poetry. There was always a personal element in feudalism, as at heart it was a contract between lord and vassal. Because English feudalism involved the king in ways that were generally not possible on the Continent, there was a governmental aspect as well.DeAragon 09:42, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

"Dictionary" article[edit]

This article is more like a dictionary for defining the word 'Feudalism' rather than stating the concepts and history behind feudalism. WinterSpw (talk) 03:47, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

The structure[edit]

Hi! The article clearly needs restructuring:

  • Etymology should go into 'The history of feudalism' (done)
    • If someone thinks that we really need a separate 'etymology' section, this is a good point, but in that case, we need to write it, carefully extracting the relevant data from the other sections. In this section, we will need a more 'linguistic' (and not a concept history) approach.
  • We should do something with 'The history of feudalism' and 'Historians on feudalism'. At the moment, I can't see the criteria that are used to delimit the sections
  • 'Feudalism in India' should go into 'Other feudal-like systems'.

In general, I see the following logic:

  • A rather short model description of feudalism (with references to research)
  • A history of concept - this should be a unified section
  • After we've got these two sections, we can proceed with more detailed sections that will provide the readers with overviews of some common research problems/topics (Feudalism outside of Europe etc.)

Does anyone have any objections, I'm ready to discuss. Michael Grinberg (talk) 07:09, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

ok i need to write a thousand word essay about feudalism. somethings that we must write about would be capitol land laboir and management. CAn anyone help me? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Slanted Tones in Overview[edit]

I didn't read through the whole article, but the Overview seemed to have a real slant which (in my opinion) reflects the author's feelings more than the facts of the matter. For instance:

The tenants-in-chief (commonly called barons in England) received their lands directly from the king and, in turn, leased parts of their estates to the knights, who in their turn gave leases to yeomen. That was the theory.

There wasn't any "theory" on feudalism and how it was supposed to work like there is for, say, Democracy or Communism. It just arose out of the circumstances and people made it work for them. There wasn't some rigid formula or series of requirements that they were striving to meet. The same can be applied with this quote:

In theory, then, feudalism was the expression of a society in which every man was bound to every other by mutual ties of loyalty and service. In fact, feudal society was marked by a vast gulf between the very few, very rich, great landholders and the mass of the poor who worked for the profit of the nobility.

While this section is, for all intents and purposes, correct in what it says, it puts it out of context by making it sound like feudalism was supposed or said to be some egalitarian government where everyone had a say in things. The voice is entirely subjective, and sounds like someone out of the enlightened age scolding on the evils of feudalism. It wasn't like the "mass of the poor" people who worked the land as serfs had some sort of delusional idea that they were all equals; they knew their station in life exactly. They accepted it as divine purpose that they, the peasants, should work the land, and the nobles should rule. It was not as if the ruling class had brainwashed them; the society simply reflected the beliefs of the entire culture, and (as is inevitable in most ancient or agricultural societies) inevitably people of immense power and wealth rose while most people stayed at the bottom. And they accepted it.

Overall, I just think the biased slant should be removed so that the article simply explains the facts. But I am not a Wiki bigwig so I'll leave that to someone else.

I changed[edit]

I changed the part about certain Marxist nations turning into quasi-feudalistic societies. I think the source is based on the authors opinion, not fact.


Whoever added "and jimmy is gay" to the beginning of this page on 2-2-09 needs to have their IP ( I believe) restricted. =/ I deleted it, but the revision is in the history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:27, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Picture of the pyramid of power....[edit]

Can somebody post an really accurate picture of the pyramid of power picture or give me a website that has it, ive tried google images but theyre only split into 4 sections; not accurate enough for my liking. Thanks, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:28, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, I found one on Japanese class structure, but I'll have to give you the normal pyramid link another time.

I really don't have much time to run errands right now. You'll have to talk to me when I have enough time to work on Wikipedia.

Questioning feudalism[edit]

This section basically quote the work of susan Reynolds and should be made explicit. The view of one researcher may not be representative of the entire field. I personally disagree with her attempt to discredit the previous results by giving exceptions (or raising doubts) to the established rules, which is could always be done to whatever historical models you name it -- nothing in this world is perfect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Line (talkcontribs) 10:46, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. It is so pedantic most readers can't understand it, but if you read between the lines, it's pushing that one POV from Reynolds, without attribution. I never liked the section and will go ahead and remove it. Green Cardamom (talk) 04:37, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I see it is attributed to Susan Reynolds. Seems ok. Green Cardamom (talk) 04:43, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Original Research[edit]

Seems to be written more like an essay than an article. Looks like work needs to be done on improving this. (talk) 20:30, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

General Content Problems, Possible Division Could Help?[edit]

There almost seems to be more discussion about whether feudalism exists than what it is. While this is a valid matter for exploration, I don't think it's what most people coming to the article are looking for. A possible solution would be to pare down Feudalism to how it is traditionally viewed (the set of related political systems common in medieval Europe and other similar systems of vassalage and serfdom) and a different page on revisionist perspectives on feudalism, all the ifs and whethers and a hefty disambiguition page for expanded uses of the term for those who insist on using feudalism in a non-historical contextto describe Marxism and what have you, much like the Holocaust and Holocaust denial (not to put feudal revisionism on the same level as Holocaust denial, but a proposed deliniation for improved usability). Foltor (talk) 07:03, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

This sounds like a good idea. Xxanthippe (talk) 07:21, 20 August 2009 (UTC).

See my comments in the next section below. Green Cardamom (talk) 04:33, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

General Content Problems (see above)[edit]

I agree with the comments above. The "debate" mentioned over and over again in this article seems particularly silly when you compare it to other similar historical periods. The Romans never called Rome an "empire," while it still existed; it was always the "republic". People during the medieval period never called themselves "medieval" either. These terms have nothing to do with how the people at the time viewed themselves, they simply allow us to conceptualize history more easily. Please move the debate about whether or not feudalism existed or not into a separate section, maybe by inserting a disambiguation page or something. (talk) 11:44, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

I find this article very interesting. ` Randly L. Woods, MD

It must at first be disappointing to learn that there is no commonly accepted definition of Feudalism, or that the term is mostly seen as meaningless and outright rejected by many/most Medieval scholars. We naturally desire things to be knowable and defined. This is no small thing, as one Medievalist once said, there is no issue more apt to cause an argument among Medievalist than a discussion of Feudalism. It would be impossible to write this article with a single definition of feudalism that did not centrally addresses the debates about it. It's the nature of the beast, that's how it really is in Medieval scholarship. The Roman "empire" thing is true but does not begin to compare with the scholarly debates surrounding Feudalism. This article is actually pretty good in reflecting current scholarship on the debates, historiography and a basic definition of the "classic" feudalism - it is weak in some areas though such as a more detailed history of feudalism, although that could be in a different article, such as manorialism.
Green Cardamom (talk) 04:31, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Historical origins[edit]

This page desperately needs a section on the evolution of Feudalism. It didn't just appear out of thin air. Some sections of the article do touch upon it, but there has to be enough information out there for a solid section. Mbarbier (talk) 16:11, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

"Reciprocal" or "common"?[edit]

The obligations were not common among the warrior class. A lord's obligation to his vassal was different from the vassal's obligation to him. -- Zsero (talk) 06:33, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

History of Feudalism?[edit]

I notice that this article focuses on the word as opposed to the system, wouldn't it be logical to include a history of the usage of the Feudal SYSTEM in Europe? (talk) 15:23, 16 May 2010 (UTC) I agree. The article makes it seem like feudalism lasted uniformly for the whole medieval period. This period lasted for roughly a millennium, it is obviously not something that simple. I understand that the article avoids taking a position since it is supposed to be neutral, but at least a broader and more consensual explanation of what it was, where it occurred and when it took place would be welcome. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 9 June 2010 (UTC)


I've moved the historiography section into its own article, historiography of feudalism, as I did not think it was directly related to the main topic of the article, and there are similar concerns above. Wikipedia is not a dictionary and this page should focus on describing the system of governance accurately, even if the term is historically incorrect. ~~Andrew Keenan Richardson~~ 21:46, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

The change was done with no discussion or consensus. The article has been in place for many years vetted by many people. The issue is not so simple, there is no agreed upon definition of Feudalism in academia, there is no consensus that it even existed, it is one of the most highly debated and controversial topics in the field of Medieval studies. The only neutral approach to it is by way of historiography, otherwise your taking a position in the debate, and the article becomes slanted towards one side (the classical view defined by Ganshof) over others. Green Cardamom (talk) 04:56, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Apologies, I should not have been so rash; I underestimated the academic debate. However, I think that a historiographic discussion of the system is not what readers are really interested in when they come to the article. Would you be amenable to splitting historiography into its own article if a discussion of various points of view are woven into a description of the system? I think the current article has some unclarities and omissions because of the way a description of the system is presented in historical context. ~~Andrew Keenan Richardson~~ 06:49, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
If casual non-expert readers are looking for a solid and simple definition of Feudalism, one is provided here up front, the traditional Ganshofian view, in the first paragraph and first section. But it's done with many qualifiers so the reader understands it is just one of many definitions, and that some believe there is no definition at all, that the term is completely meaningless - this is not a minority POV by the way among serious scholars. The article could be improved, but the histiography is central to keeping it NPOV and educating readers on the nature of the term. Green Cardamom (talk) 03:48, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
This article shouldn't be targeted at people who just want a solid, simple definition. Some readers will want a more detailed explanation of the interaction between serfs, freemen, nobles, clergy, lords, military, etc. Presenting most of the information in a historiographical context has led to a confusing organization that doesn't outline the major subtopics of feudalism. ~~Andrew Keenan Richardson~~ 04:10, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Hmm.. I'll think about that. Green Cardamom (talk) 05:23, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

European focus?[edit]

Should this article focus on European feudalism? That seems to be what is most commonly meant, but theoretically the term applies to a system of government no matter where it is practiced.

I think it's important to figure this out because some topics, such as the role of the church, are going to vary regionally. I think if there is consensus that this article should focus on the system of governance generally, a new article, European feudalism should be created to focus on European feudalism in the middle ages. Personally I think two articles will be best in the long run. What do you think? ~~Andrew Keenan Richardson~~ 21:50, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

I think that the term "feudalism" does refer to the system practiced in Europe and there is disagreement over whether it can be applied to other societies. TFD (talk) 04:56, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
That's correct. Medieval scholars do not speak of a "European feudalism" anymore than they speak of a "European Middle Ages". Green Cardamom (talk) 05:03, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

there is a game called feudalism, it was created by arcadetown.

feudalism (game)[edit]

Hi, i just wanted to say that there is a game called feudalism, as well as one called feudalism 2. below is a link to the game feudalism 2. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:57, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

i have to right a report on feudalism in the 9-15 centuries i dont completelly understand it i get the knights the land lords and vassels but if someone could extend on this i would be really greatful nov30 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Academic Revisionism gone mad[edit]

This article is a classic case of the citation of the work of an academic, generally American, who has to attempt to disprove/destroy a perfectly well accepted concept in order to make a name for him/herself to climb up the greasy pole of academia. It is a technique which can be, and unfortunately all to often is, applied to any established subject and can be very tedious. Many of the comments above make the point that this article merely muddies the waters around a fairly straightforward subject, causing more not less confusion to the reader, thus the purpose of an encyclopaedia is lost. Scholars in the 20th.c. understood exactly what they wished to signify when they wrote it, so did their readers. To be frank I would like to see this article return to that simple neatly defined concept and see the majority of the present overblown text relegated to a separate discussion on controversial/revisionist interpretations of the term. Is the following text currently forming the introduction really of any use whatsoever to the enquirer: "Because of multiple definitions and other issues, many now see the concept of feudalism as deprived of specific meaning, which has led in recent decades to many historians and political theorists rejecting feudalism as a useful way for understanding society"? Let's just get on and tell the reader what is generally meant by the term, or at least what the historians who did most of the basic (i.e. useful) work in the area in the 19th.c. meant by it. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 16:11, 2 February 2011 (UTC))

I understand what your saying, but it's not accurate. It's not a case of "Academic Revisionism gone mad", or even a minority school POV. If you read the mainstream academic literature on this subject, you'll find that this article correctly reflects mainstream views by a majority of modern medieval historians. I agree with you that this article does not reflect what 19th century historians said, other than in the Historiography section, which is a good thing. Green Cardamom (talk) 17:10, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I think there's a place for many aspects of this topic in this article, but they must be placed in an appropriate position. The facts should be stated first and the basic system described with an academic analysis following. I don't think the facts of how the system worked are questioned by modern academics, but rather the importance of the system in the wider context etc. That is an area for the specialist reader. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 19:41, 2 February 2011 (UTC))
Our article is actually rather more generous to feudalism as an actual phenomenon than the Britannica article, which was written by Elizabeth Brown herself and basically treats feudalism entirely as a historiographical construct. That being said, I think the current article might place too much emphasis on the views of Brown and other critics. Even Brown's Britannica article actually points, in the bibliography, to a number of more recent works on feudal society that use the "traditional model". We oughtn't to base this article on nineteenth century historiography, but the article at present seems to imply that nobody has believed in feudalism since the 60s and that Brown has completely triumphed. I'm not a medieval historian, but I'd be surprised if that was an accurate picture of the historiography. john k (talk) 22:40, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Feudalism is one of the most controversial topics in Medieval scholarship. You will find a lot of heated debate at the highest levels (Harvard, Oxford, etc). The article for its many faults has attempted to be be NPOV and present multiple views equally, though this has been difficult. First, it's hard not to appear to take sides on such a complex topic, while also serving the basic needs of newbie readers. Second, even when it's been mostly NPOV, someone will want to change the weight towards their preferred POV because many people are schooled in one view or another (there are many). So it's been a real challenge and I don't presently have a good solution. What I had before appears to have been giving too much weight to Brown (not intentionally). Now it's gone in another direction, the current revision seems heavily focused on English feudalism (which is what we would expect from 19th century English-language "historians" who had nationalistic agendas). And Brown isn't even mentioned in the lead section, she is an important part of Feudalism historiography, the most recent authority/innovator in the field, not a minority POV. Green Cardamom (talk) 00:21, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Certainly the debate remains open. Although there is definitely a move in English-language scholarship away from explicitly feudal terminology, it's not universal and many are willing to employ the terms as a convenient shorthand without buying into a whole theory of feudalism. Nor is the move universal. As our article on protofeudalism shows, there is a tendency in Spanish-language medievalism in the opposite direction! Srnec (talk) 05:24, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

One thing perhaps missing are articles devoted to Feudalism in England, France and Germany (and elsewhere), such as Feudalism in England, etc... The feudal terms, practices and history varied across Europe. I'd like to see this article remain a high level "history of the idea", giving overviews that are more universal, generic introduction concepts such as the "classic Ganshof" etc.. Then it can branch out to regional articles that drill down how it was actually practiced in more detail, along with regional histories. We already have Indian feudalism and Muscovite Manorialism for example. Would it make sense to have Feudalism in England? Or would it fragment and add confusion? Green Cardamom (talk) 08:13, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Agree with this suggestion by Cardamom. I certainly don't think it would add any confusion, rather reduce such. As to "fragmentation", this process is not necessarily negative, but part of useful WP structuring of complex subjects. It should be remembered that Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia which is designed to be useful to readers, who do not always want to be hit immediately with a tour d'horizon of the latest academic opinion or fashion. That is an area to be examined further on. The fundamental weakness of the existing article is that it cannot bring itself to actully define what feudalism is, or what is understood by the term by the vast majority of historians past & present, possibly because its writer was overly influenced by the modern sources it quotes, one of whom doesn't believe the concept is valid. Readers of English WP expect to read primarily about English/European feudalism, with feudalism of other independent cultures referred to as a subsidiary matter. (I don't intend that to be a Euro-centrist bigotted suggestion, please forgive me if it appears as such, but one based on practicality.) The topic needs to be logically stratified, else information overload and confusion result, to the detriment of the reader. I would therefore agree with Cardamom and suggest an entry level article with the existing title "feudalism", providing links to subsidiary main articles, including Protofeudalism and to one titled: Feudalism in England, being largely descriptive of the system which existed in the middle ages. Descriptive articles on French, Germanic versions can be added separately. The article on the academic theories of feudalism, contained within the existing text, can likewise be a subsidiary article. To this end I shall submit some preliminary text for an article Feudalism in England, as suggested by Cardamon above, based on the reverted text I recently submitted to the current article. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 13:58, 7 February 2011 (UTC))


For those of you who dont know what feudalsim is, feudalism is what they had back then... haha good answer?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:18, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Actual History[edit]

Well 4 1/2 years later and 4 lines on History, really.--J intela (talk) 21:01, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Time context of feudalism, ignoring of eastern Europe and meaning for the article[edit]

The article refers to feudalism as having its prime period prior to the 19th Century. This ignores the reality that feudalism persisted in Europe east of modern-day Germany into the early 20th Century. Accordingly, there should be some adaptation to the article.Dogru144 (talk) 00:48, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Feudal levy[edit]

This topic redirects here but it is not even mentioned in the article text. It is likely a notable subject that should have its own article. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 22:51, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Re-redirected to Conscription#Medieval_levies. Green Cardamom (talk) 23:03, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Feudalism is quite common still quite common in many counties but famous in England, i think there are at least 5 levels of feudalism in ancient societies, although the pyramid is usualy the most common. 1.The Royal Family 2.The Monarchy 3.Nobles and Priest 4.Knights 5.Farmers 6.Peasants — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:36, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Feudalism and the Cleric[edit]

There is something missing from the text (at least the introduction) about the cast made up of the Clerics. How religion had a central role on society at the time, its larger impact on culture, knowledge it was in fact the power base of the social structure. (talk) 20:49, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Updated, thanks. In the "Feudal Society" construct, the Church was considered part of the Feudal system but in the more traditional view it was seen as outside Feudalism. Green Cardamom (talk) 00:41, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Definition lacks perspicuity[edit]

First paragraph says - the system was derived from the 'holding of land' in exchange for service or labour. This hides the basic inequality and is therefore woefully lacking in openness. The broad definition should plainly explain in this clear manner - Feudalism was.....which, broadly defined,- "was a system whereby people who had no land of their own were allowed to use some of a landowner's land in return for some service or work for the landowner.' That is more truthful, the existing words do not do justice to truth. It lacks persicuity which is a failure.Alopediac (talk) 18:42, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Lacks content relating to the decline[edit]

There is no content regarding the reasons why the system was abandoned... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:32, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

feudalism not just European?[edit]

in the broadest sense, doesn't feudalism describe a more international concept? e.g. japans feudalistic period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lostubes (talkcontribs) 17:48, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

It does in fact, dunno how the POV currently expressed came to be but look for the usual suspects. A culture neutral presentation is to be expected at some point. Possibly Feudalism (European Middle Ages) is needed for much of what's here now. (talk) 18:13, 20 May 2014 (UTC)


The lead needs to make clear that this word was never used until the XIX century, and the contemporaneous never consider themselves this way. Turgeis (talk) 14:46, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

It basically does already saying "the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the medieval period." The XIX century isn't really fair because the concept predates the invention of the noun, so it's a little more complex than saying it didn't exist before the 19th century. Also this is a very debatable topic and we need to retain some middle ground here and not go too far at discounting Feudalism as a working concept. -- Green Cardamom (talk) 16:43, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Probably wikipedia is the only place in the world to have a consensus about this. Turgeis (talk) 05:04, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Actually OED gives several attestations of feudal in English from the second quarter of the 17th century:

2. a. Of or pertaining to the holding of land in feud.

  • 1639 H. Spelman Feuds & Tenures xxiii. 38 There was no..intervenient Lord to claim them by any feodal Tenure.

2. b. feudal system int. the system of polity which prevailed in Europe during the Middle Ages, and which was based on the relation of superior and vassal arising out of the holding of lands in feud.

  • 1776 A. Smith Inq. Wealth of Nations I. i. xi. 300 Poland, where the feudal system still continues to take place.

3. a. Of or pertaining to the feudal system; existing or such as existed under that system. feudal lawyer: one learned in feudal law. feudal writers: those who treat of the feudal system. feudal homage now hist. homage entailing little or no obligation of service; contrasted with liege homage.

  • 1665 Surv. Aff. Netherl. 32 By the Feodall (printed Feodau) Law that King, their Lord, had forfeited his Right to his Fee.
  • 1704 W. Atwood Superiority Crown Eng. xviii. 200 An Oath of Allegiance is of farther import, than bare Feudal Homage.

3. b. feudal vassal, lord , etc.: one holding that position in the sense implied in the feudal system.

  • 1639 H. Spelman Feuds & Tenures ii. 4 Their Feudal Vassals..enjoyed their Feuds..from year to year at the pleasure of their Lords.

n. pl. Feudal privileges. Obs. rare.

  • 1625 F. Markham Bk. Honour ii. iv. 54 All sorts..shall enioy their Feodalls and Rights, to which they are truely borne.

Etymology: < medieval Latin feudālis, feodālis, < feudum, feodum, feud n.2 Compare French féodal.

Certainly, the mid-17th century was after the decline of feudalism, but it was also well before the 19th century as asserted above. Now, in fairness to the OP, the earliest attestation of feudalism (in that form) given in OED is from 1839 (T. Keightley Hist. Eng. (new ed.) I. 82 The peculiar usages of feudalism.), though earlier usage of feudal (adjective form) clearly also refers to this socioeconomic arrangement. Wilhelm Meis (☎ Diskuss | ✍ Beiträge) 05:51, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

I was talking about "feudalism", not "feudal" which is a very specific land tenure. Turgeis (talk) 23:36, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Please refer to senses 2. b. and 3. a. above, as well as the noun entry. The inference I was making was that even if the noun form feudalism was not used until later, at least the adjective form feudal was used in the sense that is the topic of this article since long before the 19th century. Even the noun form feudal, attested to 1625, clearly encompasses a broader sense than a very specific land tenure. Wilhelm Meis (☎ Diskuss | ✍ Beiträge) 03:32, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Feudal monarchy[edit]

After removing copyvio at Feudal monarchy it's become a redirect to this article again, anyone want to add a section here? If it grows a lot we can later create an article, but it needs to start here first. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 07:47, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

It appears like this term is just an occasional neologism, another way to say "Feudalism", rather than a concept used by historians distinct from Feudalism. -- Green Cardamom (talk) 14:17, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Caste system?[edit]

Would it be accurate to say that European feudalism was a caste system? — Rickyrab. Yada yada yada 16:23, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Do reliable scholarly sources call it that? I'd need to see sources, and probably a lot of them. I've never seen it so described. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:37, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I'd say anything said by reliable sources can be included, and if you can find them, feel free to add them. Sincerely, -- (talk) 12:53, 15 April 2015 (UTC)


There is some question whether Ziamet should be placed under the general /* See also */ section or in the specialised /*Non-European*/ one. This Ottoman practice was prevalent in the Balkans. --Bejnar (talk) 21:12, 23 October 2014 (UTC)


The entire section is taken verbatim from

Other way around, that is a copy of this Wikipedia article. -- GreenC 19:39, 13 November 2014 (UTC)