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Word Count: 721
To combat the Vikings and other invaders many European rulers enlisted the aid ofnobles under system known as feudalism The nobles pledged their military assistance andtheir loyalty to the rulers in return for land and protectionThe land a noble received was called a manor Each manor was a self-sufficientestate which included a manor house pastures fields and a village Most of those wholived in the manor were serfs men and women bound to the land by their labor Serfs wererequired to work their lords land in exchange for a share of the crops they grew and forprotection from attack by outsidersFeudal society operated under a rigid class system At top of society was the nobleclass Noblemen spent their days managing their estates hunting or engaging in battleMen held most of the power although some women obtained positions of influence byinheriting land from male relatives Most noblewomen married in their early teens andgenerally had large families They spent their days directing the servants in such duties ascooking cleaning spinning weaving brewing and caring for livestockLife for serfs was more difficult than it was for nobles Most spent their days inunending physical labor Both men and women worked in the fields and women had toperform the household tasks as well Although the lords received the serfs many alsorequired their workers to pay them fees such as marriage or inheritance taxesSome serfs were able to obtain freedom but most remained tied to the land Theywere considered property and their status was passed on to their children Most serfs livedin small one-room cottages Their diet consisted mainly of soup bread and ale with someoccasional meat Life was difficult and short Few serfs lived beyond age 40Most of the people living in feudal Europe had no sense of national identity andlittle awareness of the outside world In fact few people ever traveled more than 23 milesfrom their homes Life centered around the manor and the churchThe Roman Catholic church led
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