The system called vassalage comes form the central middle ages, and mainly appears during the Carolingian empire in the area around what is now France. As Germanic groups began to settle in fixed areas, they abandoned their system of pastoral farming for arable farming (raising crops). At the time this type of farming required much manual labour and so required a sharing of resources among the people. So this meant that folks had to settle down as a small community, called a "vil." Anyway, as time passes, some families in the vils become more successful than others, and a hierarchy begins to naturally emerge. Here we see the beginnings of Manorialism. Political leaders emerge meanwhile, who assert their rights to certain territories, by sending their men (the lords) to take charge of the vils which are then called fiefs. When the Lord controls more than one fief, he has a Fiefdom. This creates a political hierarchy, and voila! Manorialism.

VASSALAGE is when a free person voluntarily accepts the overlordship of someone in return for the Lord's protection. The conditions are that the vassal may be required to provide the lord with: military service, labour, or even prayer on behalf of the lord. Vassalage is intended to be an honour and loyalty based system, and the lord may offer to settle disputes or look out for the vassal's family.

Vassals could potentially gain ownership of a fief which could be so large that they might need some vassals of their own.

Vas"sal*age (?), n. [OE. vassalage, F. vasselage, LL. vassallaticum.]


The state of being a vassal, or feudatory.


Political servitude; dependence; subjection; slavery; as, the Greeks were held in vassalage by the Turks.


A territory held in vassalage.

"The Countship of Foix, with six territorial vassalages."



Vassals, collectively; vassalry.




Valorous service, such as that performed by a vassal; valor; prowess; courage.




© Webster 1913.

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