XIV

THE FIEF BECOMES THE PATRIMONY OF THE VASSAL

1 THE PROBLEM OF INHERITANCE: ‘HONOURS’ AND ORDINARY FIEFS

THE establishment of the heritability of fiefs was numbered by Montesquieu among the constituents of ‘feudal government’ as opposed to the ‘political government’ of Carolingian times. This classification is correct, though it should be borne in mind that, in the literal sense, the term ‘heritability’ is inexact. Possession of the fief was never transmitted automatically by the death of the previous holder. But, except in certain rigorously prescribed circumstances, the lord had no power to refuse investiture to the natural heir, provided the latter did homage beforehand. The triumph of heritability in this sense was the triumph of social forces over an obsolescent right. In order to understand the reasons for this it is essential to form an idea of the attitude of the parties concerned. We shall confine our enquiry to the simplest case: that in which the vassal left only one son.

Even in the absence of any grant of an estate, the bond of fealty tended to unite not so much two individuals as two families, one of them pledged to exercise authority, the other to submit to it. Could it have been otherwise in a society in which the ties of kinship were so strong? Throughout the Middle Ages great sentimental value was attached to the expression ‘natural lord’—meaning lord by birth. But as soon as enfeoffment took place the claim of the son to succeed his father in the vassal relationship became almost irresistible. To refuse homage, or not to have it accepted, was not only to lose the fief but to lose a considerable part, perhaps even the whole, of the paternal inheritance as well. The loss must have seemed even harder when it was a fief de reprise, that is to say when it represented in reality an old family allod. Stipendiary tenure, by attaching the vassal relationship to the soil, inevitably attached it to the family group.

The lord had Jess freedom of action. It was of the greatest importance to him that the ‘forsworn’ vassal should be punished and that the fief, if the obligations failed to be discharged, should be available for a better

-190-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Feudal Society - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 280

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.