The Feudal Principality

  • David Herlihy
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


From the eleventh century on, many princes in the European West—counts, dukes, and kings—show a new effort, energy, and success in strengthening their own authority and reorganizing their principalities. In this work of reconstruction, part of much broader changes then occurring in European life, feudal institutions were central. Vassalage and the fief, to be sure, had developed spontaneously, largely without a consciously imposed design or direction, within a milieu dominated by disorders. But they remained deeply rooted in the consciousness and behavior of the people, and they offered these self-conscious rulers a means of redefining and more rigorously enforcing the obligations which, they now insisted, their subjects owed. Feudal institutions, in one sense the products of the disintegration of the state, thus became the instruments by which the state was strengthened.


General Assembly Thirteenth Century Latin Text Legal Judgment Pipe Roll 
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© David Herlihy 1970

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  • David Herlihy

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