Feudalism and ManoralismAfter the decline of the Carolingian Empire there was a great breakdown of the political organization of Europe that was compounded by attacks from many neighboring peoples. Many of the powerful nobles took large tracts of land for themselves in the absence of any strong, unifying rulers. Central governments were no longer able to protect all of their subjects, and so many people offered their services, most importantly military service, to these powerful nobles who needed warriors to protect their lands.A powerful contractual agreement arose between the nobles, who became known as overlords, and those who offered their military service, the vassals. The overlords offered protection to the vassals in exchange for their military service, so in a way the vassal also protected his lord. In order for the vassal to have the time and resources to become a good warrior he would need a piece of land to sustain himself and his family.
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