Meaning of Vassal (What it is, Concept and Definition)

What is Vassal:

Vassal It is an adjective to refer to a person who is subject to a lord with a bond of vassalage. The word vassal comes from the Celtic “gwasi” which means “servant” or “boy”.

The word vassal It is a concept typical of the Middle Ages, related to the feudal system, between the 6th and 11th centuries. The vassal was a individual who requested a benefit from a superior noble in exchange for absolute fidelity. The relationships between the lords had as their main element the fief, which, originally, consisted of an asset of any type granted by a lord to a vassal in exchange for various obligations.

The feudal relationship It began with the entrustment: a vassal entrusted himself to a more powerful person, to whom he promised fidelity and help, hoping to receive some benefit. The vassalage contract was established through the ceremony of homage, in which both parties promised to fulfill the acquired obligations: the vassal owed advice and economic and military help to his lord, and the latter undertook to protect his vassal and provide the necessary means to fulfill their obligations by granting a benefit, which I take as the name fiefdom. The ceremony ends with the investiture, the lord granted an object to a vassal as a symbol of the benefit granted.

The relationship of vassalage It gave rise to a feudal pyramid, in which all the lords were vassals of a superior lord, up to the king. In the hierarchy, the first in the pyramid was the king, then the nobles, followed by the feudal lords, etc. The vassalage contract was established between 2 free people, the majority of the peasants were not free, the peasant had to pay an income in product or work and the lord had a series of privileges that earned him economic income.

The dissolution of the feudal pyramid It began with the breakup of the Carolingian Empire as a result of the internal conflicts of its heirs and the fall of the feudal system intensified with the separation of the high nobility and the low nobility, as the authoritarian monarchies and the bourgeoisie where they settled were strengthened. the power of the urban patriciate.

Currently, vassal is used figuratively to refer to the submissive individual or subordinate to someone.

On the other hand, vassalage It is the bond of fidelity that one person has with respect to another.

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