the start of Feudalism
The medieval era was said to have started with the fall of the Roman Empire. The influential 18th century British historian of the fall of Rome, Edward Gibbin (1737-1794) popularized this event which took place in A.D. 476. We can date this to around September 4th, as the end of the Roman Empire, and the start of the medieval period. The people were protected by soldiers of the emperor, but when the empire fell the people looked for protection from lords. This then lead to the medieval government pyramid-shaped feudal system. This system was based on the belief that all land belonged to god, but could be governed and managed by kings by divine right. The king awarded land grants, called fiefs, to the nobles, knights, and sometimes to the church in return for the use of their soldiers or their influence on the citizens to protect the land. Serfs also served their king through their lords. When feudalism first started roman villas and their lands were granted to military leaders on a temporary basis as return for their loyalty to Rome and the Emperor. Nobles increased their power from grants of land from the king in return for their military services. From France feudalism spread swiftly to the major European countries including Germany, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, England, and Slavic countries. The urge to fight for more land and territories by the great countries of Europe led to hierarchy of European feudalism and its main advantage which was that men not born of noble birth could also rise up the feudalism pyramid of power. As long as the person proved himself in battle and was a loyal supporter he could be granted land, but had to swear an oath of loyalty and pay homage to his lord or king. The feudal system was sustained by the rights and privileges given the upper class and in most cases enacted by law.