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For safety and for defense, people in the Middle Ages formed small communities around a central lord or
master. Most people lived on a manor, which consisted of

• The castle,
• The church,
• The village, and
• The surrounding farm land.
In this "feudal" system, the king gave land or "fiefs" to his most important nobles In return for their
contribution of soldiers for the king's armies. At the lowest level of society were the peasants, also called
"serfs.” In exchange for living and working on his land the lord offered his peasants protection

Role of Women
It should come as no surprise that women, whether they were nobles or peasants, held a difficult position in
society. They were largely confined to household tasks such as cooking, baking bread, sewing, weaving, and
spinning. Some women became nuns and devoted their lives to God. Someone says the word marriage
today we think about two people who are in love and who want to spend the rest of their lives with each
other. Marriage in the Middle Ages was tricky. One wouldn't likely marry a stranger they just met. In the
Medieval Times, however, marriage was quite different. Women didn't have a choice as to who they would
marry. Most of the time they didn't even know the man before they were married. Every marriage was
organized by families but only because they wanted to unify two families together. Girls had to marry who
their parents chose for them. Families didn't care about the feelings of the people marrying another person.
The family of the girl who was to be married gives a dowry, or donation, to the boy she is to marry. The
dowry goes with her at the time of the marriage and stays with the boy forever. Girls could get married at the
age of 12 ( and often did) and boys at the age of 14 Almost always the boy was older than the girl was.
Sometimes after the marriage the people could really love each other for real even though husbands were
allowed to beat their wives. Wives were not allowed to divorce their husbands.

The Church
The Catholic Church was the only church in Europe during the Middle Ages. The Church its own laws, lands
and taxes. Therefore, the Catholic Church was a very powerful.. The Catholic Church was based in Rome
and headed by the Pope. Church leaders such as bishops and archbishops sat on the king's council and
played leading roles in government. Bishops, who were often wealthy and came from noble families, ruled
over groups of parishes. Parish priests, on the other hand, came from poorer backgrounds and often had
little education. The village priest tended to the sick and poor. . Only certain men could become priests. No
women could become priests and men who did become priests were forbidden to marry.

The Steps of Knighthood


In the medieval times, many knights rode out to do battle. They made sieges on other castles, headlong
charges into bloody battles, and defended their own castles against sieges. Knights
had to pass long, hard, half boring hours of practice, practice, practice. (Schooling)
First they had to be a page. If they did good they became a squire. If squires were
worthy they were dubbed and became a knights.
PAGES
When a boy born by a knight turns six or seven he is sent from his home to a near by
castle. There he is trained by the lord of the castle to become a knight. He is a page. A
page helps his lord dress and put on armor. He plays many training games that include
wrestling, piggy-back wrestling, sword practice with blunt wooden swords and tiny
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round shields called bucklers. A page rarely ever learned how to read or write because it wasn't thought to
be very knightly. The ladies of the manor taught him table manners The page waited on his lord and lady.
When his lord's armor was rusty, the page rolled the armor in a barrel of sand so that the rust was gone. He
was taught to be quick, graceful, and flexible. He received religious training from the chaplain. He
sometimes received training-in-arms from the squires.
SQUIRES
If the page showed promise, then at the age of fourteen, he became a squire. A squire is a Knight's personal
servant. In battle, a squire would bring his knight replacements of lances, swords, horses, or any item lost or
damaged in battle. The squire had to become accustomed to heavy armor. A squire played games with real
weapons against real knights! The squire learned to ride his war horse while keeping his weapon arm free.
While he was a squire, he was allowed to carry a sword and a shield, which showed what rank he had
achieved. The squire was taught not to kill many knights. Most knights held other knights for ransom. If he
got through all of that, he was knighted or "dubbed". Then the new knight would receive his sword, lance,
and golden spurs

On a Venn Diagram:

1. Compare Middle Ages to U.S. (us). Us the following categories:


Women – Church – Education – Government