Feudalism: Europe vs. Japan
Just like a democracy, a monarchy or a dictatorship, feudalism is another form of government used to rule large groups of people. Feudalism took form around the 850’s A.D. when a strong central government was not working well. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, feudalism means: a political and economic system of Europe from the 9th to about the 15th century, based on the relation of lord to vassal as a result of land being held on condition of homage and service. This basically what the government was. Lords and nobles gave land to other nobles called vassals in return loyalty, ransom, (if they were captured in war) an army, taxes and other services when they were asked. This system of government was used in Europe and Japan during the middle ages (850’s – 1500’s A.D).
Feudalism in Europe
Charlemagne, the son of Pepin, came to the throne of the Carolingian dynasty in France in 768 A.D. He wanted to revive the Roman Empire and Pope Leo III crowned him “Emperor of the Romans.” He ruled until 814, but his son, Louis the Pious could not keep the empire together. His three sons, Lothair, Charles and Louis did no better as the empire split into
Feudalism in Japan and Europe both formed after a strong central government was failing. A fierce civil battle broke out between rival clans known as the Taira clan and Minamoto clan. Under this code nights were expected to treat their fellow knights and social inferiors with respect. Wealthy landlords known as daimyo controlled the land and hired samurai to protect them. Trial by battle is just how it sounds. In Japan it was similar, except the peasants did not produce everything for themselves. Indictments were issued to call people to court. They had to pay taxes and ransom if he was captured in war. Many governments before feudalism had failed to last for any period of time, yet this government held relative peace for a long period of time. They had three ways to settle trials: Trial by battle, oath taking and trial by ordeal. Eventually, even the church owned large amounts of land that they used to their advantage. However, small local governments began to rise, and by 900 A. The system was complicated, but it worked.