- Term that denotes the political and social organization of much of the medieval West after the breakup of Charlemagne's (q.v.) kingdom. Feudalism never developed in Byzantium (q.v.), and attempts by some scholars to view appanages andpronoia (qq.v.) as inspired by western feudalism are not convincing. Pronoia was a fiscal and administrative institution under state control, unlike western fiefs, which were personal, territorial, and resulted in further fragmentation of estates (subinfeudation). However, in the 12th century, especially during the reign of Manuel I Komnenos (q.v.), knowledge of western feudalism had an impact on how the Byzantine state dealt with important western personages. For example, the loan word lizios, from the French liege, referring to a liege vassal, was first used by Alexios I Komnenos in the Treaty of Devol (qq.v.) to define Bohemund's (q.v.) subservience to the emperor.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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feudalism — n. A social, economic, and governmental system common in medieval Europe, under which nobles gave land to vassals who fought for them, and peasants farmed the land and gave much of their produce to their lords, who in return gave them protection … Law dictionary
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