After studies with Ferdinand Lot , he practiced law for a period, before returning to the University of Ghent. Here he succeeded Pirenne in as professor of medieval history, after Pirenne left the university as a result of the enforcement of Dutch as language of instruction. He remained there until his retirement in Ganshof's work was primarily on Flanders in the Carolingian period. Here he defines feudalism narrowly, in simple legal and military terms. Feudalism, in Ganshof's view, existed only within the nobility.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Its author is one of the leading authorities in western Europe on Feudalism and its translator a leading English expert on the early Middle Ages.
Professor Ganshof avoided the task, attempted by Marc Bloch, "Professor Ganshof's book answers the prayer of every teacher and student of medieval history for a lucid, concise and authoritative exposition of feudal institutions.
Professor Ganshof avoided the task, attempted by Marc Bloch, of describing the whole society of the Feudal period and confined himself to those institutionalized relationships of lord and man, prevalent in western Europe from the ninth to the thirteenth century, which are commonly included in the narrower definition of Feudalism.
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Best contrasted with Bloch's Feudal Society which offer's a broad definition of Feudalism, Ganshof developed a narrow definition of Feudalism that is focused on the a type of legal relationship between people living between the Rhine and the Seine in and around the tenth century. Very detailed and very specific, it's a good starting point towards understanding the workings of Feudal states. The slight problem is that Ganshof is right and Bloch is also right.
The joy and the problem of Bloch's de Best contrasted with Bloch's Feudal Society which offer's a broad definition of Feudalism, Ganshof developed a narrow definition of Feudalism that is focused on the a type of legal relationship between people living between the Rhine and the Seine in and around the tenth century.
The joy and the problem of Bloch's definition is that includes medieval Europe, Japan and the Middle East among others as having Feudal Societies - broadly similar ways of extracting value from agriculture and power over the countryside, if one wants to talk about what was weird, specific and peculiar to Europe then one needs Ganshof, the issue with him is that it is not just particular to a place but also a time, his book deals with a period of about one century and one can already spot the system straining and changing in places and not conforming to Ganshof's vision, his book almost invites a series of categories Feudalism I through to Feudalism VII b wales to deal with the development and varieties in time and space of European Feudalism.
What happens when you can no longer perform your duties either due to age or fitness, if you owe service to more than one Lord and both are at war with each other, is the Fief heritable, can a widow hold a fief for an infant? So one rapidly moves from theoretical Feudalism I to Feudalism II: rise of the Lawyers and so on to the infinite joy of all scholars.
My old edition is decorated with line drawings from manuscripts of knights, homage and castles, while not strictly necessary is a counterweight to the austerity of the subject. View all 4 comments. Feb 02, Lauren Albert rated it really liked it Shelves: history-european , history-british. I know there has been a lot of controversy over the idea and history of feudalism and that many might consider this dated. But it is still an excellent overview of the legal side of the concept--Ganshof limits his discussion to the higher levels of society you don't see serfs here.
He makes sure to define all the terms and to explain the use of alternate terms for the same ideas. I found it interesting to imagine the audience the publisher foresaw. It is an inexpensive paperback. All of the Lat I know there has been a lot of controversy over the idea and history of feudalism and that many might consider this dated.
All of the Latin quotations are translated there are many. There is no index. But, on the other hand, there are many footnotes citing foreign-language books and the modern-language passages are not translated even though they are probably archaic versions French, etc.
I did find the lack of an index annoying, especially because of all the specialized language--if I couldn't remember his definition of a term, I had to skim through the book looking for the first mention of it. Thankfully, he italicizes the words which did make it easier to scan for them. If you're looking for a quick, accessible, and intelligent introduction to feudalism this is a good place to go. But that's okay: you can't cover the whole of medieval feudalism in pages, and what Ganshof does address he does so very clearly.
It's the perfect place to go if y If you're looking for a quick, accessible, and intelligent introduction to feudalism this is a good place to go. It's the perfect place to go if you want clear definitions on the types of feudal tenure and a quick overview of how the institution developed from the Merovingians to Carolingians and then to it's 'classical' phase in the high middle ages.
Quaint, outdated, dry. Athletic research and unadorned prose diagramming a coherent economic system where it doesn't appear there was one. For every rule, an exception. For every technical term, synonym and nontechnical usage. Law is always arbitrary. The medieval era is so broad that even within the narrow geographic and temporal confines of Ganshof's query, he winds up with descriptions of various hierarchical property relations—tendencies over rules, feudalistic rather than feudalism.
Ganshof Quaint, outdated, dry. Ganshof knows and even admits this. He's trying something. Best taken with Susan Reynolds and skepticism. Takeaway: "Inside each of these countries, the rules in which feudal relationships were embodied were largely a matter of regional or local custom. Despite the infinite variations which these entailed, however, it is possible to determine the general principles which regulated the relationship of vassal to lord and the custom of fiefs: we can disentangle the essential traits of the ius militare , the feudal law, the Lehnrecht of these various countries.
It is even possible to go further; while recognizing the existence of these national varieties of feudal law, we can isolate those elements which were common to the whole of western Europe. Nov 05, Matthew Dambro rated it really liked it. Narrow interpretation of the feudal relationship in Western Europe from the ninth to the twelfth centuries. Standard textbook treatment but solid research.
Shelves: flawless-history , good-not-great , history-textbook , kings-and-queens , medieval-france , mediaeval-spain , middle-ages , non-fiction , religion-is-messed-up , violence-and-gore. We all know about the archaic and old-fashioned concept of medieval feudalism, am I right? With its wealthy and controlling monarchs, belligerent and deceitful nobles and its many, many overworked, underpaid and desperately poor peasants?
With its unbreakable code of obligation and servitude on behalf of the vassal; of protection and defence on behalf of the lord? Where land, rank and titles were the be all and end all of medieval life and were how one climbed up the social ladder? Lets begin! Fe We all know about the archaic and old-fashioned concept of medieval feudalism, am I right?
Feudalism dominated the Middle Ages from around to and was the social and economic structure that knitted together the various factions of medieval life be they monarch, priest, merchant, noble or peasant. Land was of fundamental importance to the Middle Ages; through it an individual could gain wealth, security, power, political influence and the ability to raise armed forces. Feudalism, at its most basic level, concerned the holding of land and the obligations that one undertook to defend and maintain it.
Land is power and power is everything especially in the violent and ruthless Middle Ages. At the top of the feudal pyramid sits the king and it is he owns all the land.
However, in return for oaths of homage and military assistance, the king rewards his loyal followers with grants of land and titles.
However, the king is still the true owner of the land or fief; the nobleman to whom he gave it to is now a tenant-in-chief. If he were to rebel the king would declare him a traitor, seize his land and give it to a better nobleman. The nobleman, now tenant-in-chief, would further subdivide his land and bequeath it too his knights and followers, insuring their loyalty to him.
On and on it would go until the peasantry themselves received small parcels of land from however was above them in rank. This book goes into detail about the legal intricacies of the feudal order, while describing in detail how feudalism arose out of the chaos of the Carolingian Empire and permeated the social, political and economical structure of Europe.
The author gives lengthy and intense monologues about fiefs and vassals, oaths of homage and military assistance, the hereditary titles that came and went with certain fiefs and how feudalism operated on different and contrasting scales in opposing countries.
The writing is dry and rather lifeless and the endless legal ramifications of feudalism would, I suspect, drive most individuals mad with boredom and despair. This is heavy going stuff but the author knows what he is talking about and if you can wade through the drab, dull writing style and understand the various ins-and-outs of the feudal order then you may find this interesting.
May 11, Michelle rated it liked it. This was a great, informative book, it was just so dry! Just don't expect this to be super engaging Jan 18, Ryan Patrick rated it really liked it Shelves: medieval-history , non-fiction
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