Feudalism and Code of Chivalry

By: Hannah Stroh, Nikki Gowdy, and Abby Middleton


Feudalism was developed by William the Conqueror and the Normans. It was the Primary Political system of the Middle Ages. King William couldn’t keep the people from rebelling. He also had trouble taking care of all the land. These are 2 major problems that led to the development of the Feudal System. He gave land to his main people for exchange of their services. Due to the rulers having more and more difficulty defending their subjects, people turned to local landed aristocrats or nobles to protect them. In order to survive it became important to to find a powerful lord who was able to provide protection in exchange for service. This led to a new social and political system called feudalism.

Types of Men Within the Feudal System


The King was the person in charge of all of the land. He hired other people to take care of that land because he couldn't take care of it all and in return, he received loyalty, support, and an army whenever it was needed.

The Feudal System

Code of Chivalry

Chivalry was influenced by the Catholic Church during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. From this came the idea of a civilized behavior, also known as chivalry. Chivalry was a code of ethics that knights were supposed to uphold. Chivalry also meant that the knights should not fight for the materialistic things but for the glory. In addition to their oath to defend the Church and people who were unable to defend themselves the knights were expected to treat captives as honored guest instead of putting them in dungeons.
The Code of Chivalry included:
1. Be trustworthy, 2. Be holy, 3. Be helpful, 4. Be reverent, 5. Be respectful
The Code of Chivalry was a moral system that was not just about the combat but it introduced ideas of knighthood like bravery, courtesy, honor and gallantry towards women.

  1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
  2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
  3. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
  4. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
  5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
  6. Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
  7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
  8. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
  9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
  10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

A code of Chivalry was in a song called “The Song of Roland” in the early 11th Century also when William the Conqueror ruled.

Knight's and Chivalry

Essential Questions

1. How did the Code of Chivalry affect knights different than common law affecting citizens?

2. What affect did feudalism have on the European society?