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A Comparison of Feudalism in Western Europe and Japan.

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Presentation on theme: "A Comparison of Feudalism in Western Europe and Japan."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Comparison of Feudalism in Western Europe and Japan

2 What is feudalism? A political system in which nobles are granted the use of lands that legally belong to their king, in exchange for their loyalty, military service, and protection of the people who live on the land.

3 Japan During the Feudal Period

4 The Geography of Japan 120 miles from Korea 500 miles from China 4,000 islands make up archipelago or island group Southern Japan has mild climate with lots of rainfall. Mountainous with only 12% of land farmable. Typhoons, earthquakes and tidal waves are threats.

5 Early Japan Early records come from Chinese writings. Hundreds of clans with territories Worshipped nature gods and goddesses which eventually became Shinto. Shinto worshippers believed in divine spirits that dwelled in nature.

6 Yamato Emperors By 400 C.E. the Yamato clan was the leading clan in Japan. By 7 th century, Yamato chiefs called themselves the emperors of Japan. Yamato rulers lacked real power, but dynasty was never overthrown. As a result, Japan developed a system whereby there was an emperor who was a figurehead and a ruling power who reigned behind the throne.

7 Chinese Influences Korean travelers brought Buddhism to Japan in the 7 th century. By the 8 th and 9 th centuries, Buddhist ideas had spread throughout Japanese society. The Japanese did not give up their Shinto beliefs. In fact, in many cases both were practiced. The Japanese also adopted centralized bureaucratic government, Chinese system of writing, landscape paintings, cooking, gardening, drinking tea, to name a few.

8 Life in the Heian Period In the late 700s, the imperial court moved its capital from Nara to Heian, which is known as Kyoto today. A highly refined court society arose. This era became known as the Heian period. Rules dictated every aspect of court life, i.e. length of swords, color of robes, forms of address, the number of skirts a woman wore. Etiquette was extremely important. Everyone at court was expected to write poetry. Lady Murasaki Shikibus The Tale of the Genji is the story of the life of a prince in the imperial court. It is considered the worlds first novel.

9 The Rise of Feudalism For most of the Heian period, the Fujiwara family held the real power in Japan. In the 11 th century, the power of the central government and the Fujiwaras began to slip. Large landowners living away from the capital set up private armies. The countryside became dangerous with armed soldiers on horseback preying on farmers and travelers. Privates took control of the seas. For safety, farmers and small landowners traded parts of their land to strong warlords in exchange for protection. This marked the beginning of the feudal system of localized rule.

10 The Samurai Each lord surrounded himself with a bodyguard of loyal warriors called samurai, one who serves. Samurai lived accord to the Bushido, or code of behavior. Dying an honorable death was considered an honor for the Samurai.

11 The Kamakura Shogunate During the late 1100s, Japans two most powerful clans fought for power. The Minamoto family emerged victorious. In 1192 the emperor gave a Minamoto leader named Yoritomo the title of shogun or supreme general of the emperors army. The emperor still reigned from Kyoto, but the real center of power was at the shoguns military headquarters at Kamakura. The pattern of government in which shoguns ruled through puppet emperors lasted in Japan until The Kamakura shoguns were strong enough to turn back two naval invasions by the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan in 1274 and Feudal Japan declined due to a draining treasury and fighting among local lords.


13 Feudalism in Europe

14 Invasions of Western Europe In the 5 th century, Germanic invaders overran the western half of the Roman Empire. These invasions: –Disrupted trade. –Money became scarce. –Cities were abandoned. –Nobles and city dwellers fled to countryside. –Western Europe became mostly rural.

15 Invasions of Western Europe The Germanic invaders who stormed Rome could not read or write. Level of learning sank. Few people were literate except priests and church officials. Knowledge of Greek was almost lost. As German-speaking people mixed with the Roman population, Latin Changed. Different dialects developed as new words and phrases became part of everyday speech. By the 800s, French, Spanish and other Roman languages had evolved from Latin. The development of various languages mirrored the continued breakup of a once-unified empire.

16 Germanic Kingdoms Emerge In the years between 400 and 600 small Germanic kingdoms replaced Roman provinces. The borders of those kingdoms changed often with war. During this time of political chaos, the church provided order and security.

17 Germanic Kingdoms Emerge Family ties and personal loyalty, rather than citizenship in a public state, held Germanic society together. Germanic peoples lived in small communities that were governed by unwritten rulers and traditions. Every Germanic chief led a band of warriors who had pledged their loyalty to him. Germanic warriors felt no obligation to a king they did not know. Also, they would not obey an official sent to collect taxes.

18 Germanic Kingdoms Emerge In the Roman province of Gaul (France and Switzerland), a Germanic people called the Franks held power. The leader of the Franks, Clovis, brought Christianity to the region. When he converted, the Church in Rome welcomed his conversion. By 511, Clovis had united the Franks into one kingdom.

19 Germanic Peoples Adopt Christianity By 600, the Church, with the help of Frankish rulers, had converted many Germanic peoples. These new converts settled in Romes former lands. Missionaries also spread Christianity. To adapt to rural conditions the Church built religious communities called monasteries. Christian men called monks gave up their possessions and devoted their lives to God in these monasteries.

20 Germanic Peoples Adopt Christianity Around 520, an Italian monk named Benedict wrote a book describing the strict by practical rules for monasteries. Benedicts sister, Scholastica, headed a convent and adapted the same rule for women. Monasteries also became Europes best-educated communities. Monks opened schools, maintained libraries, and copied books.

21 Papal Power Spreads Under Gregory In 590, Gregory I, also called Gregory the Great became Pope. As head of the church in Rome, Gregory broadened the authority of the popes office, beyond its spiritual role. Under Gregory, the papacy became a secular, or worldly power involved in politics. The popes palace was the center of Roman government. Gregory used church money to raise armies, repair roads, and help the poor. According to Gregory, the region from Italy to England and form Spain to Germany fell under his responsibility. This ideas of a church kingdom, ruled by a pope, would be a central theme of the Middle Ages.

22 Germanic Kingdoms Emerge After the Roman empire dissolved, small kingdoms sprang up everywhere. The Franks controlled the largest and strongest of Europes kingdoms. By 700, a mayor of the royal household and estates became more powerful than the king. Charles Martel extended the Franks reign and defeated Muslim raiders from Spain. Charles Martels victory against Muslim raiders made him a Christian hero.

23 Charlemagne Becomes Emperor Martels descendants established the Carolingian Dynasty which ruled from 751 to 987. Charles, who was known as Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, ruled the kingdom. Charlemagne conquered new lands to the south and east and spread Christianity in the process. Charlemagne reunited western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire. In 800, Charlemagne crushed an attack on the pope, so Pope Leo III crowned him emperor.

24 The Beginnings of Feudalism Charlemagne limited power of the nobles. He sent out royal agents to make sure powerful landholders governed counties fairly. He kept a close watch on management of huge estates. He opened a palace school and ordered monasteries to open schools to train future monks and priests. Charlemagnes heir, his son Louis, had three sons who fought and divided the empire into three kingdoms. The central authority broke down which led to a new system of governing and landholding called feudalism.

25 Invaders Attack Western Europe From 800 to 1000 invasions destroyed the Carolingian Empire. Muslim invaders from the south seized Sicily and raided Italy and sacked Rome.

26 Invaders Attack Western Europe The Vikings who came from Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) were a Germanic people who worshipped warlike gods. Viking ships held 300 warriors who took turns rowing the ships 72 oars. Viking ships could travel in creeks that were three feet deep. Vikings were warriors, traders, farmers and explorers. They traveled to not only western Europe, but also Russia, Constantinople and even the north Atlantic. As the Vikings accepted Christianity, they stopped raiding monasteries. As a result of a warming trend in Scandinavia, more Vikings resorted to farming.

27 Viking Ship

28 Invaders Attack Western Europe The Magyars, a group of nomadic peoples from what is now Hungary, invaded western Europe in the late 800s. The Muslims, from their stronghold in North Africa, attacked what is now Italy and Spain. The invasions by Vikings, Magyars, and Muslims caused widespread disorder and suffering. Kings could not defend their lands. As a result, people no longer looked to a central ruler for security. Instead, many turned to local rulers who had their own armies. Any leader who could fight the invaders gained followers and political strength.

29 Feudalism in Western Europe The feudal system was based on rights and obligations. In exchange for military protection and other services, a lord or landowner granted land called a fief. The person receiving a fief was called a vassal. The structure of feudal society was much like a pyramid. –King –Vassals – wealthy landowners –Knights – horsemen who defended their lords lands in exchange for fiefs. –Landless peasants who worked fields.

30 The Knight By the 1100s, a code of behavior began to arise. High ideals guided warriors actions. Knights were expected to display courage in battle and loyalty to their lord. The Code of Chivalry was a complex set of ideals that demanded a knight fight bravely in defense of three masters, i.e. his feudal lord, his heavenly lord, and his chosen lady. Many songs and poems were written about a knights love for his lady. Troubadours were traveling poet- musicians who traveled to castles and courts of Europe.

31 Social Classes in Western Europe Social classes were well defined. –Those who fought: nobles and knights –Those who prayed – men and women of the Church –Those who worked – peasants In Europe, the vast majority of the people were peasants. Most peasants were serfs, people who could not lawfully leave the place where they were born.

32 The Manor System The manor was the lords estate. The manor system was an economic system. The manor system rested on a set of rights and obligations between lord and serfs. The lord provided serfs with housing, farmland and protection from bandits. In return, serfs tended the lords lands, cared fo rhis animals, and performed other tasks. Peasant women shared in the farm work with their husbands. A manor covered only a few squares miles of land. The manor was a self-sufficient community. The serfs and peasants produced everything they needed for daily life.


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