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(also valvasors), minor feudal lords in medieval France and Italy.
In France the term “vavasors” was applied to vassals of knights who had given them fiefs (often very small ones). Most vavasors had the right of lowest jurisdiction on the fief. In the 11th century the term “vavasor” became established in Italy. The Italian vavasors received benefices from great feudal lords, against whom they later started a struggle to convert the benefices into fiefs. In 1037 Emperor Conrad II confirmed the hereditary rights of the vavasors. In the 11th century the vavasors began moving to the towns and were drawn into trade and usury; they became closely associated with the upper stratum of the townspeople and began to merge with them in the 13th century. However, most of the vavasors (the grandees) became the main enemy of the townspeople.