The feudal man ( feudal taker , fiefdom holder ; Pl. Feudal people ) was the recipient of a fiefdom in feudal law . He was a suitor who pledged himself to a noble feudal lord ( feudal lord ) in return for service, honor and loyalty and in return received from the feudal lord a real right of possession and use of a thing of the feudal lord (fiefdom) to secure his livelihood. The relationship was characterized by a mutual, preferably warlike, loyalty relationship.
While the personal bond between vassal and patron ended with the death of one of the two partners, the fiefdom was usually hereditary.
The economic situation of the feudal people was subject to strong fluctuations. Ulrich von Hutten (1488–1523) describes the life of a feudal man at the beginning of the 16th century in a letter to Willibald Pirckheimer (1470–1530):
- The people from whom we draw our livelihoods are very poor farmers, to whom we lease our fields, vineyards, meadows and fields. The yield from it is very small in relation to the labor expended on it, but one worries and worries that it will be as great as possible; for we must be extremely prudent economists. We then also serve a prince from whom we hope for protection; if I don't do that, everyone believes they can do anything and anything against me. But for the prince servant too, this hope is associated with danger and fear every day. Because as soon as I set foot out of the house, there is a danger that I will run into people with whom the prince has spies and feuds and who attack me and lead me away captured. If I'm unlucky, I can give half of my fortune as a ransom and the protection I hoped for turns into the opposite.
- We therefore keep horses and buy weapons and surround ourselves with a large following, which all costs heavy money. Then we cannot walk unarmed for two fields; we cannot visit a farm without weapons; we have to be iron-armored for hunting and fishing. The quarrels between our peasants and foreign farmers do not stop; Not a day goes by on which we are not told of quarrels and strife, which we then try to resolve with the greatest care.
- Because if I defend what is mine too tenaciously or also pursue injustice, then there are feuds. But if I let something go too patiently or even renounce what is due to me, then I give myself up to unjust attacks from all sides, since what I let go everyone immediately claims as a reward for their injustice.
- Regardless of whether a castle is on a mountain or on the plain, it is definitely not built for comfort, but rather as a defense, surrounded by ditches and ramparts, inside of oppressive narrowness, crammed together with cattle and horse stables, darkrooms full of heavy rifles, pitch, sulfur and all other weapons and implements. Gunpowder stinks everywhere, and the smell of the dogs and their filth is not sweeter, as I think.
- Horsemen come and go, including robbers, thieves and highwaymen, because our houses are usually open to all kinds of people and we don't know the individual better or we don't care much about them. And what a noise! The sheep bleat, the cattle roar, the dogs bark, the workers in the fields scream, the wagons and carts creak, and at home you can also hear the wolves howling. Every day one cares and cares for the following, one is always in motion, always in restlessness.
Ulrich von Hutten wrote not only descriptions of feudalism , but also numerous criticisms of the medieval nobility, clergy and science. Finally, the dissatisfied knighthood rose under Franz von Sickingen (1481–1523) and Ulrich von Hutten in the so-called Knight's War (1522–1523). Both support Martin Luther . Sickingen was fatally wounded in the fight against the Archdiocese of Trier . Von Hutten also died a year later in Switzerland. The imperial knighthood finally lost its political significance. It was not until 1848 that the feudal system was officially abolished. Ulrich von Hutten and Franz von Sickingen were honored with busts in the Walhalla near Donaustauf .
- Lehn Pierer's Universal Lexikon, Volume 10. Altenburg 1860, pp. 223-231. zeno.org, accessed June 20, 2020.