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system of government in which local lords (vassals) governed their own lands (fief) but owed military service to a greater lord (liege lord).


nobles trained from boyhood as mounted warriors and followed a code of conduct or chivalry promising to be brave, loyal and true (same as Bushido in Japan).


peasants who were bound to the land


Lord's estate, which included manor house/castle , one or more villages and all the surrounding forests and farms.


having to do with wordly rather than religious matters


sacred rituals of Roman Catholic Church which include Baptism, Penance, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Last Rites

canon law

Roman Catholic church law.

Heresy - religious belief that is contrary to the teaching of the church.

Excommunication - exclusion from the Roman Catholic Church for not obeying church laws.

Interdict - the excommunication of an entire region, town or kingdom, no sacraments for anyone, usually due to the actions of King/Ruler.

Lay Investiture

King gives bishops their title/holy office and land/Bishopric/fief. This led to a dispute with the pope or Dual Sword - who has right to name a bishop; the pope or the king.


Holy War - aka Jihad in Islam. In 1095 Pope Urban II called Holy War to get back holy land. Last crusade was Reconquista or reconquest of Spain from Moors (Muslims).


All Christians had to pay 1/10 of their income to the church. Money was supposed to aid the poor (alms/charity).


hatred/prejudice against Jews. Jews were scapegoats (blamed) for economic problems. This led to attacks or pograms against Jews.


group of monks, living together and observing religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Monks did transcription - copied books called manuscripts by hand in rooms called scriptorias.

Business Practices

Capital is money for investment.

Partnerships - investors pool their money to share risk in business ventures.

Usury - practice of lending money at interest which led to anti-Semitism because only Jews were allowed to practice usury.

Guild - an association (early trade union) of artisans or merchants who cooperated to protect their economic interests. Boys entered a 7 year training program as guild apprentices under a guild master & later passed a test to become a journeyman.

Political Systems

Charter - a written agreement that set out the rights & privileges of a town. Example: Magna Carta (Great Charter) which granted rights to people of England like trial by jury of their peers.

Parliament - a legislative or lawmaking body.

Economic Systems

Traditional - based on agriculture limited to barter (goods for goods) trade.

Market - based on supply & demand.

Command - controlled by strong, centralized government, usually focuses on industrial goods.

Mixed - combines Market & Command economic systems. Market forces control most consumer goods; government directs industry in need areas.

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