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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historians of a previous generation saw feudalism as a creation of the Carolingians, which was to be found mainly in the heartland of their empire. However, in 1994 Susan Reynolds demolished this view: feudalism is not medieval, but the product of the early modern era, albeit with roots in the medieval Libri Feudorum. Reynolds and others were right in attacking the old views but, on the other hand, recent research also shows that in at least four pioneering regions feudalism already appears in the eleventh century, before the Libri Feudorum. However, the latter helped to spread feudalism to other parts of Europe. The upshot was not one model of feudalism that was slavishly followed all over Europe and remained constant until the demise of feudalism. There were only regional feudalisms that were very different from the model of the traditional handbooks.

Keywords: feudalism, feudal law, Libri Feudorum, Saxon Mirror, vassalage, benefice, fief, Carolingian Empire, feudal revolution, judgment by peers

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