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see feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
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Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also feud or fee), in Western Europe during the Middle Ages, a payment in land or in money or in kind made by a suzerain to his vassal (seeVASSALAGE). The hereditary tenure of a fief was conditional upon the vassal’s fulfillment of feudal service to his lord; this service was primarily military but could also entail service at court, such as participation in trials or in the management of a seigniory, or involve the payment of a sum fixed by custom. The vassals, in turn, usually gave part of their lands or income to their own vassals, a practice known as subinfeudation; eventually, a hierarchy was established on a single landholding, which could support a vertical series of feudal tenants.

The fief, whose precursor was the benefice, was the characteristic form of property of the ruling class in Western Europe from the 11th to 15th century, the period of developed feudalism. From this period, however, the system based on the fief began to decline. The fiefs were broken up through subinfeudation and, as commodity-money relations became prevalent, so did the use of money-fiefs, the right to some type of revenue, granted to a vassal instead of land with serfs. In addition, the feudal lords began relying on paid troops for military support. By the 15th or 16th centuries, the system of fiefs had become a legal fiction.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


In feudal England, the tenure of land or an estate subject to the feudal obligation of service and homage to the lord of the estate.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, feoff
(in feudal Europe) the property or fee granted to a vassal for his maintenance by his lord in return for service
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In effect, the knowledge cycle could be viewed as a kind of gigantic feedback loop in which information impactedness is at a maximum where the personalized hierarchical power of fief transactions predominates, and is at a minimum where it is overwhelmed and drained of any content by the redistributive impersonal forces of efficient markets.
THE Uttar Pradesh government did not look farther than the ruling Samajwadi Party's fiefs while choosing litterateurs for coveted posts in the state to give a boost to Hindi literature.
Le Raja, qui a inflige a Enyimba sa premiere defaite de la saison a domicile, reussit ainsi son 5 e succes a l'exterieur apres ceux realises dans les fiefs de Nouadhibou, Zanaco zambien, ASEC ivoirien et CARA Brazzaville.
Le choix de Tizi Ouzou pour inaugurer cette manifestation, a laquelle l'Algerie prend part pour la premiere fois, est dicte, a estime Abdelkrim Berki, par le fait que cette wilaya est [beaucoup moins que] le fief [beaucoup plus grand que] de l'artisanat traditionnel et compte le plus grand nombre d'artisans au niveau national.
In the past, Bangarappa had criticised the JD( S) as a " family fief".
Their topics include the categories of religion and commerce in Roman law, a debate in Islamic Hanafite jurisprudence over the nature of the military fief from the Mamluks to the Ottomans, and an anthropological perspective of persons and property forms.
Une equipe de la Division 2, l'Association Sportive de Sale, a quitte les lieux avec les honneurs en realisant une victoire insuffisante de (1-0) dans le fief du Chabab Rif Al Hoceima.
Pour sa part, le NAHD recevra lui aussi, l'USMBA, pensionnaire de la Ligue 2 au stade Mustapha-Tchaker de Blida et non pas au stade 20-Aout 55, son fief habituel.
L'armee francaise a massivement bombarde hier dimanche la region de Kidal, dernier fief des groupes islamistes armes dans l'extreme nord du Mali, pres de la frontiere algerienne, au lendemain de la visite triomphale du president francais Francois Hollande, accueilli comme un lliberateur.
Born to a samurai family in the Satsuma fief in southern Kyushu (1848); served as a Satsuma samurai during the Boshin (Restoration) War against the Tokugawa shogunate (January-July 1868); commissioned a lieutenant in the new imperial army (1871); fought in the Satsuma Rebellion (February-September 1877); traveled to Europe and America to observe western military systems (1884-1885); promoted major general and made assistant chief of staff on his return (1885-1886); after a year of study in Germany, he again served as assistant chief of staff (1889-1895); promoted general and made chief of the General Staff (1898); died the next year (1899).