The History of Feudalism by David Herlihy

By David Herlihy

Provides examples of the crucial different types of files which historians use of their investigations of feudal society. This publication comprises not just legislation and felony commentaries, inner most charters and administrative files, but in addition decisions from chronicles, saints' lives, sermons, liturgical works, and resourceful literature.

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The natural world and natural phenomena were conceded little inherent order; they were often treated as a great parade of symbolic events which cast indirect light on the supersensory world of the spirit, which primarily mattered. The monastic writers and presumably their lay contemporaries show a lack of interest in and a defective sense of natural causation and of profane time. Charters are frequently left without dates, as if the time of their redaction had no special significance. Often, the monks believed that an event had occurred-a donation of land, for example, or a privilege from a king-for which they had no record.

Done at the time of Charles. 16 THE HISTORY OF FEUDALISM 3. The savage environment, from the Life of St. Maieul of Cluny Hagiography, the lives of saints, offers us the most vivid, if perhaps not the most precise, picture of European life in the first feudal age. In the following life of Abbot Maieul (d. 994) of the great monastery of Cluny in Burgundy, the author first alludes to the establishment by Saracen pirates of a base at Frejus in what is now the French Riviera (ca. 89o). They held it for nearly a century, and in 972 audaciously kidnapped Maieul himself, who was returning from a pilgrimage to Rome.

An unforgettable portent, which foretold the events which were to come in the times of the blessed Maieul. What were those predicted events? The unforeseen attack of the Saracens, the sufferings of the Christian peoples, the destruction of monasteries and cities, the capture of blessed Maieul himself, his ransom and liberation, and the expulsion of the same ferocious people from Christian territory, with the help of Christ. What was the unforgettable portent which predicted these things? The most cruel attacks of the Saracens were foreshadowed [at the time of Maieul's father] by the unprecedented ferocity of wolves, especially in those regions which the Saracens would later attack by sea.

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