NCERT Textbook - The Three Orders Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

History Class 11

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - The Three Orders Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


132  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
THE THREE ORDERS
IN this chapter, we shall learn about the socio-economic
and political changes which occurred in western Europe
between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. After the fall of
the Roman Empire, many groups of Germanic people from
eastern and central Europe occupied regions of Italy, Spain
and France.
In the absence of any unifying political force, military
conflict was frequent, and the need to gather resources to
protect one’s land became very important. Social
organisation was therefore centred on the control of land.
Its features were derived from both imperial Roman
traditions and German customs. Christianity, the official
religion of the Roman Empire from the fourth century,
survived the collapse of Rome, and gradually spread to
central and northern Europe. The Church also became a
major landholder and political power in Europe.
The ‘three orders’, the focus of this chapter, are three
social categories: Christian priests, landowning nobles and
peasants. The changing relationships between these three
groups was an important factor in shaping European
history for several centuries.
Over the last 100  years, European historians have done
detailed work on the histories of regions, even of individual
villages. This was possible because, from the medieval period,
there is a lot of material in the form of documents, details of
landownership, prices and legal cases: for example, churches
kept records of births, marriages and deaths, which have
made it possible to understand the structure of families and
of population. The inscriptions in churches give information
about traders’ associations, and songs and stories give a
sense of festivals and community activities.
All these can be used by historians to understand
economic and social life, and changes over a long period
(like increase in population) or over a short period (like
peasant revolts).
Of the many scholars in France who have worked on
feudalism, one of the earliest was Bloch. Marc Bloch
(1886–1944) was one of a group of scholars who argued
that history consisted of much more than just political history,
international relations and the lives of great people. He
emphasised the importance of geography in shaping human
6
THEME
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


132  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
THE THREE ORDERS
IN this chapter, we shall learn about the socio-economic
and political changes which occurred in western Europe
between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. After the fall of
the Roman Empire, many groups of Germanic people from
eastern and central Europe occupied regions of Italy, Spain
and France.
In the absence of any unifying political force, military
conflict was frequent, and the need to gather resources to
protect one’s land became very important. Social
organisation was therefore centred on the control of land.
Its features were derived from both imperial Roman
traditions and German customs. Christianity, the official
religion of the Roman Empire from the fourth century,
survived the collapse of Rome, and gradually spread to
central and northern Europe. The Church also became a
major landholder and political power in Europe.
The ‘three orders’, the focus of this chapter, are three
social categories: Christian priests, landowning nobles and
peasants. The changing relationships between these three
groups was an important factor in shaping European
history for several centuries.
Over the last 100  years, European historians have done
detailed work on the histories of regions, even of individual
villages. This was possible because, from the medieval period,
there is a lot of material in the form of documents, details of
landownership, prices and legal cases: for example, churches
kept records of births, marriages and deaths, which have
made it possible to understand the structure of families and
of population. The inscriptions in churches give information
about traders’ associations, and songs and stories give a
sense of festivals and community activities.
All these can be used by historians to understand
economic and social life, and changes over a long period
(like increase in population) or over a short period (like
peasant revolts).
Of the many scholars in France who have worked on
feudalism, one of the earliest was Bloch. Marc Bloch
(1886–1944) was one of a group of scholars who argued
that history consisted of much more than just political history,
international relations and the lives of great people. He
emphasised the importance of geography in shaping human
6
THEME
© NCERT
not to be republished
  133
history, and the need to understand the collective behaviour
or attitudes of groups of people.
Bloch’s Feudal Society is about European, particularly
French, society between 900 and 1300, describing in
remarkable detail social relations and hierarchies, land
management and the popular culture of the period.
His career was cut short tragically when he was shot by
the Nazis in the Second World War.
An Introduction to Feudalism
The term ‘feudalism’ has been used by historians to describe the
economic, legal, political and social relationships that existed in Europe
in the medieval era. Derived from the German word ‘feud’, which
The term ‘medieval
era’ refers to the
period in European
history between
the fifth and the
fifteenth centuries.
 THE THREE ORDERS
MAP 1: Western
Europe
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


132  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
THE THREE ORDERS
IN this chapter, we shall learn about the socio-economic
and political changes which occurred in western Europe
between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. After the fall of
the Roman Empire, many groups of Germanic people from
eastern and central Europe occupied regions of Italy, Spain
and France.
In the absence of any unifying political force, military
conflict was frequent, and the need to gather resources to
protect one’s land became very important. Social
organisation was therefore centred on the control of land.
Its features were derived from both imperial Roman
traditions and German customs. Christianity, the official
religion of the Roman Empire from the fourth century,
survived the collapse of Rome, and gradually spread to
central and northern Europe. The Church also became a
major landholder and political power in Europe.
The ‘three orders’, the focus of this chapter, are three
social categories: Christian priests, landowning nobles and
peasants. The changing relationships between these three
groups was an important factor in shaping European
history for several centuries.
Over the last 100  years, European historians have done
detailed work on the histories of regions, even of individual
villages. This was possible because, from the medieval period,
there is a lot of material in the form of documents, details of
landownership, prices and legal cases: for example, churches
kept records of births, marriages and deaths, which have
made it possible to understand the structure of families and
of population. The inscriptions in churches give information
about traders’ associations, and songs and stories give a
sense of festivals and community activities.
All these can be used by historians to understand
economic and social life, and changes over a long period
(like increase in population) or over a short period (like
peasant revolts).
Of the many scholars in France who have worked on
feudalism, one of the earliest was Bloch. Marc Bloch
(1886–1944) was one of a group of scholars who argued
that history consisted of much more than just political history,
international relations and the lives of great people. He
emphasised the importance of geography in shaping human
6
THEME
© NCERT
not to be republished
  133
history, and the need to understand the collective behaviour
or attitudes of groups of people.
Bloch’s Feudal Society is about European, particularly
French, society between 900 and 1300, describing in
remarkable detail social relations and hierarchies, land
management and the popular culture of the period.
His career was cut short tragically when he was shot by
the Nazis in the Second World War.
An Introduction to Feudalism
The term ‘feudalism’ has been used by historians to describe the
economic, legal, political and social relationships that existed in Europe
in the medieval era. Derived from the German word ‘feud’, which
The term ‘medieval
era’ refers to the
period in European
history between
the fifth and the
fifteenth centuries.
 THE THREE ORDERS
MAP 1: Western
Europe
© NCERT
not to be republished
134  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
means ‘a piece of land’, it refers to the kind of society that developed
in medieval France, and later in England and in southern Italy.
In an economic sense, feudalism refers to a kind of agricultural
production which is based on the relationship between lords and
peasants. The latter cultivated their own land as well as that of the
lord. The peasants performed labour services for the lords, who in
exchange provided military protection. They also had extensive  judicial
control over peasants. Thus, feudalism went beyond the economic to
cover the social and political aspects of life as well.
Although its roots have been traced to practices that existed in
the Roman Empire and during the age of the French king
Charlemagne (742-814), feudalism as an established way of life in
large parts of Europe may be said to have emerged later, in the
eleventh century.
France and England
Gaul, a province of the Roman Empire, had two extensive coastlines,
mountain ranges, long rivers, forests and large tracts of plains suited
to agriculture.
The Franks, a Germanic tribe, gave their name to Gaul, making it
‘France’. From the sixth century, this region was a kingdom ruled by
Frankish/French kings, who were Christian. The French had very
strong links with the Church, which were further strengthened when
in 800 the Pope gave King Charlemagne the title of ‘Holy Roman
Emperor’, to ensure his support*.
Across a narrow channel lay the island of England–Scotland, which
in the eleventh century was conquered by a duke from the French
province of Normandy.
 Early History of France
481 Clovis becomes king of the Franks.
486 Clovis and the Franks begin the conquest of northern Gaul.
496 Clovis and the Franks convert to Christianity.
714 Charles Martel becomes mayor of the palace.
751 Martel’s son Pepin deposes the Frankish ruler, becomes king
and establishes a dynasty. Wars of conquest double the size
of his kingdom.
768 Pepin succeeded by his son Charlemagne/Charles the
Great.
800 Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor.
840ONWARDS Raids by Vikings from Norway.
*The head of the
Eastern Church, in
Constantinople, had
a similar
relationship with
the Byzantine
emperor. © NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


132  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
THE THREE ORDERS
IN this chapter, we shall learn about the socio-economic
and political changes which occurred in western Europe
between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. After the fall of
the Roman Empire, many groups of Germanic people from
eastern and central Europe occupied regions of Italy, Spain
and France.
In the absence of any unifying political force, military
conflict was frequent, and the need to gather resources to
protect one’s land became very important. Social
organisation was therefore centred on the control of land.
Its features were derived from both imperial Roman
traditions and German customs. Christianity, the official
religion of the Roman Empire from the fourth century,
survived the collapse of Rome, and gradually spread to
central and northern Europe. The Church also became a
major landholder and political power in Europe.
The ‘three orders’, the focus of this chapter, are three
social categories: Christian priests, landowning nobles and
peasants. The changing relationships between these three
groups was an important factor in shaping European
history for several centuries.
Over the last 100  years, European historians have done
detailed work on the histories of regions, even of individual
villages. This was possible because, from the medieval period,
there is a lot of material in the form of documents, details of
landownership, prices and legal cases: for example, churches
kept records of births, marriages and deaths, which have
made it possible to understand the structure of families and
of population. The inscriptions in churches give information
about traders’ associations, and songs and stories give a
sense of festivals and community activities.
All these can be used by historians to understand
economic and social life, and changes over a long period
(like increase in population) or over a short period (like
peasant revolts).
Of the many scholars in France who have worked on
feudalism, one of the earliest was Bloch. Marc Bloch
(1886–1944) was one of a group of scholars who argued
that history consisted of much more than just political history,
international relations and the lives of great people. He
emphasised the importance of geography in shaping human
6
THEME
© NCERT
not to be republished
  133
history, and the need to understand the collective behaviour
or attitudes of groups of people.
Bloch’s Feudal Society is about European, particularly
French, society between 900 and 1300, describing in
remarkable detail social relations and hierarchies, land
management and the popular culture of the period.
His career was cut short tragically when he was shot by
the Nazis in the Second World War.
An Introduction to Feudalism
The term ‘feudalism’ has been used by historians to describe the
economic, legal, political and social relationships that existed in Europe
in the medieval era. Derived from the German word ‘feud’, which
The term ‘medieval
era’ refers to the
period in European
history between
the fifth and the
fifteenth centuries.
 THE THREE ORDERS
MAP 1: Western
Europe
© NCERT
not to be republished
134  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
means ‘a piece of land’, it refers to the kind of society that developed
in medieval France, and later in England and in southern Italy.
In an economic sense, feudalism refers to a kind of agricultural
production which is based on the relationship between lords and
peasants. The latter cultivated their own land as well as that of the
lord. The peasants performed labour services for the lords, who in
exchange provided military protection. They also had extensive  judicial
control over peasants. Thus, feudalism went beyond the economic to
cover the social and political aspects of life as well.
Although its roots have been traced to practices that existed in
the Roman Empire and during the age of the French king
Charlemagne (742-814), feudalism as an established way of life in
large parts of Europe may be said to have emerged later, in the
eleventh century.
France and England
Gaul, a province of the Roman Empire, had two extensive coastlines,
mountain ranges, long rivers, forests and large tracts of plains suited
to agriculture.
The Franks, a Germanic tribe, gave their name to Gaul, making it
‘France’. From the sixth century, this region was a kingdom ruled by
Frankish/French kings, who were Christian. The French had very
strong links with the Church, which were further strengthened when
in 800 the Pope gave King Charlemagne the title of ‘Holy Roman
Emperor’, to ensure his support*.
Across a narrow channel lay the island of England–Scotland, which
in the eleventh century was conquered by a duke from the French
province of Normandy.
 Early History of France
481 Clovis becomes king of the Franks.
486 Clovis and the Franks begin the conquest of northern Gaul.
496 Clovis and the Franks convert to Christianity.
714 Charles Martel becomes mayor of the palace.
751 Martel’s son Pepin deposes the Frankish ruler, becomes king
and establishes a dynasty. Wars of conquest double the size
of his kingdom.
768 Pepin succeeded by his son Charlemagne/Charles the
Great.
800 Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor.
840ONWARDS Raids by Vikings from Norway.
*The head of the
Eastern Church, in
Constantinople, had
a similar
relationship with
the Byzantine
emperor. © NCERT
not to be republished
  135
The Three Orders
French priests believed in the concept that people were members of one
of the three ‘orders’, depending on their work. A bishop stated, ‘Here
below, some pray, others fight, still others work...’ Thus, the three orders
of society were broadly the clergy, the nobility and the peasantry.
In the twelfth century , Abbess Hildegard of Bingen wrote: ‘Who would
think of herding his entire cattle in one stable – cows, donkeys,
sheep, goats, without difference? Therefore it is necessary to establish
difference among human beings, so that they do not destroy each
other … God makes distinctions among his flock, in heaven as on
earth. All are loved by him, yet there is no equality among them.’
The Second Order: The Nobility
Priests placed themselves in the first order, and nobles in the second.
The nobility had, in reality, a central role in social processes. This is
because they controlled land. This control was the outcome of a practice
called ‘vassalage’.
The kings of France were linked to the people by ‘vassalage’, similar
to the practice among the Germanic peoples, of whom the Franks
were one. The big landowners – the nobles – were vassals of the king,
and peasants were vassals of the landowners. A nobleman accepted
the king as his seigneur (senior) and they made a mutual promise: the
seigneur/lord (‘lord’ was derived from a word meaning one who provided
bread) would protect the vassal, who would be
loyal to him. This relationship involved elaborate
rituals and exchange of vows taken on the Bible
in a church. At this ceremony, the vassal received
a written charter or a staff or even a clod of
earth as a symbol of the land that was being
given to him by his master.
The noble enjoyed a privileged status.
He had absolute control over his property, in
perpetuity. He could raise troops called ‘feudal
levies’. The lord held his own courts of justice
and could even coin his own money.
He was the lord of all the people settled on
his land. He owned vast tracts of land which
contained his own dwellings, his private fields
and pastures and the homes and fields of his
tenant-peasants. His house was called a manor.
His private lands were cultivated by peasants,
who were also expected to act as foot-soldiers in
battle when required, in addition to working on
their own farms.
‘Abbey’ is derived
from the Syriac
abba, meaning
father. An abbey
was governed by
an abbot or an
abbess.
French nobles starting
for a hunt; painting,
fifteenth century.
 THE THREE ORDERS
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


132  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
THE THREE ORDERS
IN this chapter, we shall learn about the socio-economic
and political changes which occurred in western Europe
between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. After the fall of
the Roman Empire, many groups of Germanic people from
eastern and central Europe occupied regions of Italy, Spain
and France.
In the absence of any unifying political force, military
conflict was frequent, and the need to gather resources to
protect one’s land became very important. Social
organisation was therefore centred on the control of land.
Its features were derived from both imperial Roman
traditions and German customs. Christianity, the official
religion of the Roman Empire from the fourth century,
survived the collapse of Rome, and gradually spread to
central and northern Europe. The Church also became a
major landholder and political power in Europe.
The ‘three orders’, the focus of this chapter, are three
social categories: Christian priests, landowning nobles and
peasants. The changing relationships between these three
groups was an important factor in shaping European
history for several centuries.
Over the last 100  years, European historians have done
detailed work on the histories of regions, even of individual
villages. This was possible because, from the medieval period,
there is a lot of material in the form of documents, details of
landownership, prices and legal cases: for example, churches
kept records of births, marriages and deaths, which have
made it possible to understand the structure of families and
of population. The inscriptions in churches give information
about traders’ associations, and songs and stories give a
sense of festivals and community activities.
All these can be used by historians to understand
economic and social life, and changes over a long period
(like increase in population) or over a short period (like
peasant revolts).
Of the many scholars in France who have worked on
feudalism, one of the earliest was Bloch. Marc Bloch
(1886–1944) was one of a group of scholars who argued
that history consisted of much more than just political history,
international relations and the lives of great people. He
emphasised the importance of geography in shaping human
6
THEME
© NCERT
not to be republished
  133
history, and the need to understand the collective behaviour
or attitudes of groups of people.
Bloch’s Feudal Society is about European, particularly
French, society between 900 and 1300, describing in
remarkable detail social relations and hierarchies, land
management and the popular culture of the period.
His career was cut short tragically when he was shot by
the Nazis in the Second World War.
An Introduction to Feudalism
The term ‘feudalism’ has been used by historians to describe the
economic, legal, political and social relationships that existed in Europe
in the medieval era. Derived from the German word ‘feud’, which
The term ‘medieval
era’ refers to the
period in European
history between
the fifth and the
fifteenth centuries.
 THE THREE ORDERS
MAP 1: Western
Europe
© NCERT
not to be republished
134  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
means ‘a piece of land’, it refers to the kind of society that developed
in medieval France, and later in England and in southern Italy.
In an economic sense, feudalism refers to a kind of agricultural
production which is based on the relationship between lords and
peasants. The latter cultivated their own land as well as that of the
lord. The peasants performed labour services for the lords, who in
exchange provided military protection. They also had extensive  judicial
control over peasants. Thus, feudalism went beyond the economic to
cover the social and political aspects of life as well.
Although its roots have been traced to practices that existed in
the Roman Empire and during the age of the French king
Charlemagne (742-814), feudalism as an established way of life in
large parts of Europe may be said to have emerged later, in the
eleventh century.
France and England
Gaul, a province of the Roman Empire, had two extensive coastlines,
mountain ranges, long rivers, forests and large tracts of plains suited
to agriculture.
The Franks, a Germanic tribe, gave their name to Gaul, making it
‘France’. From the sixth century, this region was a kingdom ruled by
Frankish/French kings, who were Christian. The French had very
strong links with the Church, which were further strengthened when
in 800 the Pope gave King Charlemagne the title of ‘Holy Roman
Emperor’, to ensure his support*.
Across a narrow channel lay the island of England–Scotland, which
in the eleventh century was conquered by a duke from the French
province of Normandy.
 Early History of France
481 Clovis becomes king of the Franks.
486 Clovis and the Franks begin the conquest of northern Gaul.
496 Clovis and the Franks convert to Christianity.
714 Charles Martel becomes mayor of the palace.
751 Martel’s son Pepin deposes the Frankish ruler, becomes king
and establishes a dynasty. Wars of conquest double the size
of his kingdom.
768 Pepin succeeded by his son Charlemagne/Charles the
Great.
800 Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor.
840ONWARDS Raids by Vikings from Norway.
*The head of the
Eastern Church, in
Constantinople, had
a similar
relationship with
the Byzantine
emperor. © NCERT
not to be republished
  135
The Three Orders
French priests believed in the concept that people were members of one
of the three ‘orders’, depending on their work. A bishop stated, ‘Here
below, some pray, others fight, still others work...’ Thus, the three orders
of society were broadly the clergy, the nobility and the peasantry.
In the twelfth century , Abbess Hildegard of Bingen wrote: ‘Who would
think of herding his entire cattle in one stable – cows, donkeys,
sheep, goats, without difference? Therefore it is necessary to establish
difference among human beings, so that they do not destroy each
other … God makes distinctions among his flock, in heaven as on
earth. All are loved by him, yet there is no equality among them.’
The Second Order: The Nobility
Priests placed themselves in the first order, and nobles in the second.
The nobility had, in reality, a central role in social processes. This is
because they controlled land. This control was the outcome of a practice
called ‘vassalage’.
The kings of France were linked to the people by ‘vassalage’, similar
to the practice among the Germanic peoples, of whom the Franks
were one. The big landowners – the nobles – were vassals of the king,
and peasants were vassals of the landowners. A nobleman accepted
the king as his seigneur (senior) and they made a mutual promise: the
seigneur/lord (‘lord’ was derived from a word meaning one who provided
bread) would protect the vassal, who would be
loyal to him. This relationship involved elaborate
rituals and exchange of vows taken on the Bible
in a church. At this ceremony, the vassal received
a written charter or a staff or even a clod of
earth as a symbol of the land that was being
given to him by his master.
The noble enjoyed a privileged status.
He had absolute control over his property, in
perpetuity. He could raise troops called ‘feudal
levies’. The lord held his own courts of justice
and could even coin his own money.
He was the lord of all the people settled on
his land. He owned vast tracts of land which
contained his own dwellings, his private fields
and pastures and the homes and fields of his
tenant-peasants. His house was called a manor.
His private lands were cultivated by peasants,
who were also expected to act as foot-soldiers in
battle when required, in addition to working on
their own farms.
‘Abbey’ is derived
from the Syriac
abba, meaning
father. An abbey
was governed by
an abbot or an
abbess.
French nobles starting
for a hunt; painting,
fifteenth century.
 THE THREE ORDERS
© NCERT
not to be republished
136  THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
The Manorial Estate
A lord had his own manor-house. He also controlled villages – some
lords controlled hundreds of villages – where peasants lived. A small
manorial estate could contain a dozen families, while larger estates
might include fifty or sixty. Almost everything needed for daily life was
found on the estate: grain was grown in the fields, blacksmiths and
carpenters maintained the lord’s implements and repaired his weapons,
while stonemasons looked after his buildings. Women spun and wove
fabric, and children worked in the lord’s wine-presses. The estate had
extensive woodlands and forests where the lords hunted. They contained
A manorial estate,
England, thirteenth
century.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Read More

Complete Syllabus of Humanities/Arts

Dynamic Test

Content Category

Related Searches

Summary

,

ppt

,

study material

,

Viva Questions

,

video lectures

,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

,

Extra Questions

,

NCERT Textbook - The Three Orders Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

,

Sample Paper

,

MCQs

,

Objective type Questions

,

practice quizzes

,

pdf

,

NCERT Textbook - The Three Orders Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

,

NCERT Textbook - The Three Orders Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

,

Free

,

Exam

,

Semester Notes

,

Important questions

,

past year papers

,

mock tests for examination

,

shortcuts and tricks

;