Medieval Period – Feudal System and Architecture

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When people think about the medieval period, they tend to think about the knights in shining armor, crusades, castles, and kings; however, there was more to the medieval period than just this. There are also the buildings that housed these great nobles and the men who influenced their design. The designs for these buildings did no simply materialize out of thin air. These ideas evolved from concepts derived from various cultures. The interaction between the feudal system and the architecture of the medieval times influenced the evolution of the later designs.
The early architecture of England starts off with the Carolingian family, who dominated most of Western Europe politics. They tried to emulate the Roman architecture and also
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Most large windows are arched while the majority of smaller windows are square with a brace to help bare the weight of the building. The doorways are also arched unless the door is set in a hallway that is an arch-like shape then the door will be of an ordinary design (Harvey 96). This style of architecture was not made to stand in war. When the time of the Crusades began England was unprepared to defend itself. William I, otherwise known as William the Conqueror, led a group of invaders into England and removed Edward the Confessor from his throne. William implemented a new type of social structure called feudalism.
Three main things characterize the feudal system after the fall of the Carolingian Empire. First, there was no defined governmental system present. So the power of rule fell into local landowners. Second, power was treated as the ruler’s possession; the power and right to rule was a private matter that would be uncontestable by the public. This power could be used as an item of trade, so to speak, or even a gift. Finally, and perhaps the most dominant characteristic, was the affinity between a ruling lord and his vassals which, for all intents and purposes, was chiefly military based. William I, or William the Conqueror, brought about this system and he was both the ruler of England and the Duke of Normandy. Unfortunately, it is impossible for him to be at two places at once, so it proved a problem for
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