Question 1: Describe two features of early feudal society in France.
Answer: The two features of early feudal society in France are as follows:
- The noble enjoyed a privileged status. He had absolute control over his property, in perpetuity. He could raise troops called ‘feudal levies’. The lord held his own courts of justice and could even coin his own money. He was the lord of the people settled on his land. His owned vast tracts of land which contained his own dwellings, his private fields and pastures and the homes of his tenant-peasants.
- The peasants comprised the third order. There were two types of peasants, viz. free peasants and serfs. The free peasants cultivated their own land and also worked on the lord’s land. The serfs did not have their own land.
Question 2: How did long-term changes in population levels affect economy and society in Europe?
Answer: Population of Europe increased from the beginning of the eleventh century to the beginning of the fourteenth century. This led to growth in economy. This also helped in growth of towns, where older relationships of feudal system could be broken. Environmental changes in the early fourteenth century resulted in depopulation. This led to significant reduction of labor supply. Wages increased significantly due to this. Prices of farm produced dropped because of reduced demand.
Question 3: Why did knights become a distinct group, and when did they decline?
Answer: Peasants were never trained for warfare. Knights were especially skilled for warfare and hence got importance in the feudal system. The knights got adequate compensation in terms of landholdings. The heydays of knights went into a decline after powerful kings took power in their hands because the new monarchs introduced a permanent infantry which was fully equipped for warfare.
Question 4: What was the function of medieval monasteries?
Answer: Monasteries were the dwelling places for monks. Monasteries were generally far from human habitation. In due course of time, monasteries became bigger and turned into cathedrals. Cathedral towns developed around such cathedrals. Monasteries also focused on developments in the field of culture and education.
Question 5: Imagine and describe a day in the life of a craftsman in a medieval French town.
Answer: Let us imagine the craftsman is a blacksmith. His day starts with a visit to the guild office early in the morning. The guild officer gives him the day’s assignment. After that, the blacksmith goes to the house of a merchant to make wheelbarrows and to fix horseshoes on 20 horses. After a tiring day, he goes back to the guild office to collect his wages.
Question 6: Compare the conditions of life for a French serf and a Roman slave.
Answer: The French serfs worked for their lords. They were not allowed to escape from the estate of their lords. A serf was not even allowed to marry without his lord’s permission.
A Roman slave was treated like a commodity with no identity. The slaves could be bought and sold in market. They were often kept in confinements. They were encouraged to marry and produced too many children, so that more slaves could be available for work.