- "In democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism it's your count that votes."
– Mogens Jallberg
- "With the advance of feudalism came the growth of iron armor, until, at last, a fighting-man resembled an armadillo."
– John Boyle O'Reilly
Feudalism describes the most mature type of social relationships during the Middle Ages, where the fully developed class society is formed as a pyramid, with the common people at the base and the ruler and at the top. He or she has the power to distribute control over the land of the kingdom to the nobles, who in turn distribute parts of their lands to minor nobles, who in turn own the common people living on their land. Everyone in this society knows his or her place and what he or she is supposed to do, which ensures that the system works smoothly (to the extent possible). History proves that this is the most efficient societal organization for the technical level of the time.
Developing Feudalism is the key to continued social development in the Middle Ages, unlocking most further Civics. It is also the first Civic to make some Policies obsolete, and replace them with more modern ones. Maybe most importantly, Feudalism unlocks the adjacency bonus for Farms (perhaps by a form of 'bulk-farming' and labor sharing), which is described below.
Triangles of Farms are the way to go for maximum benefit. The ideal situation would arise if a single tile is surrounded on all six sides by farmed tiles, in which case it would get a +3 Bonus, with the 'edge' Farms each getting a +1 bonus. However, such situations are rare, since it would require a specific terrain without any other resources or features. If the number of adjacent Farms is odd, the bonus will get rounded down (1 adjacent Farm grants nothing, 3 adjacent Farms grant 1 more Food, etc.) This works for Terrace Farms as well, but Terrace Farms and regular Farms do not grant bonuses to one another.
In Japan, these minor nobles found a need for a steadfast warrior to protect their lands, and so came the rise of the Samurai class. This powerful replacement for the Man-At-Arms should always be a focus for Japan's civic development.
Although decentralization of the Carolingian Empire was the impetus, the feudal system came into focus during the 8th Century AD. (“Feudalism” is simply a term historians invented around the 17th Century to label a social structure they otherwise couldn’t define in one word.) To promote the expansion of his holdings, Charlemagne began granting his nobles certain rights over tracts of land to yield the income necessary for them to provide soldiers for his adventures. In return for this largess, each noble swore an oath of loyalty to the crown. In time, this social, economic, political and judicial control of the allocated lands became hereditary, with these lords now giving fiefs to their own favored underlings who swore oaths of fealty … hence, feudalism.
The classic version of feudalism was a mish-mash of reciprocal legal and military obligations among a warrior nobility, revolving around the concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. (There were, of course, peasants tied to the land, but lords and vassals didn’t concern themselves with such much.) For the next 500 years, power and wealth passed about between the favored few as if in a vast game; the rules were complex, often mysterious, in which the Catholic Pope had special privileges and powers as God’s representative on Earth. Not only did aristocrats partake of feudalism, but so too did bishops and abbots (bishops at times could be found on the battlefields, hacking away with the best of secular lords).
Feudalism, with the rise of nationalism and absolute monarchy, decayed and effectively disappeared in most of Europe by about 1500. It lingered on in Central and Eastern Europe as late as the 1850s; a form did survive in Japan until the kingdom was forced open to the West. And Russia finally abolished serfdom in 1861.
|Civilization VI Civics |
|* Future Civic is an Information Era civic until the Gathering Storm expansion.|