Eras and Their Highlights

The Middle Ages

What were vassals?

In the Middle Ages (500–1350) a vassal was anyone who was under the protection of another and therefore owed and avowed not only allegiance but a payment of some sort to their protector. Peasants (serfs and village commoners) were always vassals to a lord—whether it was the lord of the manor or the lord of the fief. But the lord of the manor was himself a vassal—to the lord of the fief. As kingdoms were created, with many fiefs within their jurisdiction, the feudal lords became the vassals of the kings.


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