The Rise Reign and Fall of Medieval Towns

Before the rise of Medieval towns and somewhat during the reign the was a political and social system called feudalism. In this system which had three classes. The lowest class which was also the largest of them all was made of serfs. These serfs worked the land for their vassal. The vassal in return provided shelter for the serfs but also food and shelter for the lord as well as military service. The lord paid dues to the king. During much of the time the king had little power or control over the land largely because lords had a more powerful army.

The majority of the land was on a manorial system. This was a socio-econaomic system which regulated land holding and production of food. The land was divided among the lord, vassals, serfs,and the church. The serfs worked all the land and got little of the food and often were treated poorly. There was also a class called villeins that worked the land but were free to leave if they could find someone to replace them. These people later developed into the merchant or middle class.

The main fall of this system was the rise of absolute monarchs. They took power from the lords and thus nearlly ended the system of feudalism. With the fall of feudalism and the rise of the middle class trade between towns increased and between them. Due to this fact there was an increase in the demand for goods and services.

Guilds were set up in order to establish control over a profession. They did this by setting standards of workmanship and price. They proteced the buissness from competion and gained status in society for guild members. In order to become a guild member a young man first had to become an apprentice to a master guildsman or legally bound to work for a certain amount of time in exchange for instruction in a specific trade. After the apprentice completed his master work and showed it to his instructor, if the work was satisfactory the young man could either set up his own shop in another town or become a member of the guild in his town. There was only one guild of a certain profession allowed in one town which elliminated competion.

When the black death struck many people were killed. The black death was a plauge caused by fleas on rats that caused the victim to turn darkish color when the victim died. In an attempt to to ward off the black death people hung oranges with cloves stuck in the from their ceiling and door way. Many diseases were spread during this period because most people rarely bathed and there was no refridgeration. There was little to no medical help and evan a small cut could become infected and kill you.

Medieval literature was mainly about chivalry( A system of ethical ideas which had virtues such as piety, honor, valor, courtesy, chastity, and knighthood). There was an increase in universities but they were mainly reserved for the rich so the majority of people remained illeterate.

The Protastant Reformation shatterd the medieval unity of christianity. It began as a reform movement within the Roman Catholic Church, The reformation ultimately led to freedom of dissent. The movement of reformation and protastanism still comtinues today. The emphaisis on personal responsiblity and individual freedom as well as the influence in breaking the hold of the church upon every day life is proof of this.