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Current time:0:00Total duration:5:55

Video transcript

in a previous video we already talked about the feudal system how you can have a king and then you might have some vassals of the king who give an oath of fealty to the king in the Hamas or homage ceremony I'd be a Duke and you could keep going down this maybe you have a count maybe you have a baron and you could keep going down this chain of nobility where one Noble is pledging fealty to the king is a Kings vassal but then they are Lord of another vassal and you keep going all the way down until you get to a plot of land where the actual work might occur and that term is often referred to as a manor and a manor just doesn't happen at the bottom of this pyramid a Duke can have a manor and they can split up the rest of their Duchy and give sections of it to form counties that could be led by accounts but we're going to focus on this video is the manor itself because that's where life in a medieval community actually takes place and the work on a manor is done essentially by the lowest rung of the ladder and that is both free peasants and also by serfs to get a sense what a medieval manor could have looked like here's a picture and this would have been a particularly fancy Manor right over here this is a Dougal Manor so this would have been the manor of a Duke so it could be something like that right over here and in this picture you see the manor house which in this case is the Dukes castle in many medieval communities where the highest ranking of the nobility right beneath the king and so we see these people actually working the field and we don't know from looking at them some of them might be three peasants maybe this gentleman right over here is a free peasant and this person right over here is a serf and the word serf comes from the latin for service the same word that eventually gives us words like servant and they are someplace in between a free and a slave they are bonded to the lord of the manor in this case it would be a Duke but you could go down this hierarchy you could have a manor where the Lord is a baron or the Lord is a knight or the Lord is just someone who is very wealthy and somehow got access to a fiefdom so the serfs are bonded to the land they can't leave without their permission they are allowed to cultivate certain tracks of land themselves but they also have to work for their Lord so they might help plant crops and harvest crops in the Lord's land as well and they also give a percentage of everything that they grow or everything that they do to the actual Lord and if the Lord needs to go into war they might have to be soldiers in that war it might be wondering well that sounds pretty bad it sounds similar to being a slave one of the key differences is that a serf actually can accumulate things on their own they can actually own property now another term or sometimes a sub categorization of serf in the Middle Ages is the term villain and I know you've what you're thinking you have heard that term before the villain today means a bad guy but the term originally comes from the Roman Empire when Diocletian the famous emperor who persecuted Christians he also because they were having trouble getting labor in rural villas he began to decree that certain people had to work in the villas and so someone who was compelled to work at a villa was called a villain and so they were bonded to the land they were a type of serf now the fact that villain in English it means someone who is bad it gives you an idea how in a lot of languages in a lot of cultures the notion of being captive or bonded and poor gets associated with being bad which seems very contrary to our modern view of the world now to get a top level view of what a manor might look like we don't know what type of manor this is in particular but the manor here seems a little bit more humble than this Dougal Manor right over here this could be a maybe a barons manor house now the Manor often had a village this is where the serfs or the free peasants might live keep their homes and then you see the land that is cultivated collectively by this community not just the actors that we've just talked about you might also have a church or monastery on that Manor right over here and these strips of land they might have different crops and the output of those crops go to different people the one common factor is the lord of the manor might get all of the crops from some of these strips while on the other strips they get the taxation so they'll get a certain percentage from the crops there but all of the work is done by the serfs and the free peasants and possibly if they're some if this is a monastery and there are some monks at the monastery now one interesting thing is why you often see in these manor maps these long strips of land and our resident agricultural expert at Khan Academy david rhine strim says it's because the medieval ploughs once you got going you didn't want to turn them around you got some momentum and so people like to plant crops in these long strips to the plows could just keep going in one direction and only at the end they just have to turn it around so you're minimizing the number of times that you actually have to turn around to plow