By Kenneth M. Setton, Marshall W. Baldwin

The six volumes of A heritage of the Crusades will stand because the definitive heritage of the Crusades, spanning 5 centuries, encompassing Jewish, Moslem, and Christian views, and containing a wealth of knowledge and research of the historical past, politics, economics, and tradition of the medieval global.

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Extra info for A History of the Crusades, Volume I: The First Hundred Years

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Certain men were assigned special tasks such as herding. The villager lived in a rude hut with a thatched roof. A hole in the roof let out some part of the smoke from the fire. His clothes were 6 i- A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES I crudely fashioned from the hides of his cattle and the wool from · his sheep. He was never far removed from the threat of starvation. In general, throughout the village region thirty acres of arable land seems to have been considered a normal tenement and experts have calculated that this would support a family in ordinary years.

Paid and the invention of improved siege engines was it possible for a lord to exert any effective authority over a vassal who possessed a strong castle. And the castle was an integral part of feudalism. When feudal institutions spread to a new land, castles soon appeared. Within a century of the Norman conquest there were some twelve hundred castles 'in England. At the beginning of the eleventh century France was the only feudal state in Europe. The Capetian king was essentially a feudal suzerain supporting his court on the produce of his demesne manors and raising his army from his vassals in the duchy of France and the tiny contingents that the great lords were willing to· send him.

The arbitrary authority of the lord was, however, restrained by several circumstances. The men of the Middle Ages were basically conservative -their tendency was to do what their ancestors had done and distrust innovations. Hence a lord hesitated to increase the customary dues of his villagers. Then it was obviously to his interest to keep his labor supply alive and this in itself limited the rents and services he could demand. Finally the church insisted that serfs had souls and urged the lords to treat them as fellow Christians.

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