- "With the advance of feudalism came the growth of iron armor, until, at last, a fighting-man resembled an armadillo."
- –John Boyle O'Reilly
- "In democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism it's your count that votes."
- –Mogens Jallberg
Feudalism describes the most mature type of social relationships during the Middle Ages, where the fully developed class society is formed as a pyramid, whose base are the common people, and its top - the ruler. He or she has the power to distribute control over the land of the kingdom to the nobles, who in turn distribute parts of their lands to minor nobles, who in turn own the common people living on their land. Everyone in this society knows its place, and what he/she is supposed to do, which ensures that the system works smoothly (to the extent possible). History proves that this is the most efficient societal organization for the technical level of the time.
Developing Feudalism is the key to continued social development in the Middle Ages, unlocking most further Civics. It is also the first Civic to make obsolete some Policies, and replace them with more modern ones. Maybe most importantly, Feudalism unlocks the Adjacency bonus for Farms, which is described below.
Adjacency Bonuses Clarification Edit
The in-game description doesn't describe exactly how the adjacency bonuses work for Feudalism. There are a few more apparent rules to it, described below under 'Theory', but first a caveat:
Note the following theory is work in progress and though it's been included to provide some clarification, it is definitely not complete and possibly not accurate, so please if you know more, then edit the theory accordingly.
This caveat should probably be left here regardless of edits until the developers have provided clarification that's then been confirmed, as it appears that it doesn't work as intended.
- The bonus is triggered if there are at least 2 other farms of any type (that is, on a resource, or on simple flat land) on nearby tiles. Each +1 Bonus requires two adjacent farms of any type (not one as it claims in the description).
- A farm won't receive an adjacency bonus from a tile controlled by a different city unless the two tiles have the same resource. A farmed tile controlled by a different city will trigger the bonus so a third tile can provide a bonus. A farm might still not receive an adjacency bonus if any of the two required adjacent farms are in another city — Clearly there's something else at work here, possibly an illogical bug that will defy analysis without a look at the code.
- To receive any bonuses a farm must have two farm tiles next to it – it's not enough that there's a farm next to a farm next to it (this only works later in the game, after researching Replaceable Parts). Hence a triangle of farms affects all three, but three in a 'string' only affect the middle one.
Below are two images providing visual proof:
In the first image, there are 5 farms (including one on Rice) arranged in a perfect triangular formation. All of them get a bonus (the farm in the upper left corner has 4 food). The Rice farm has +1 bonus, because it is adjacent to three other farms, not four (it gets an additional +1 bonus from the Water mill in the city). The Farm next to the Mountain, however, has a +2 Adjacency bonus, because it is surrounded by 4 other Farms! Note that the farm in the upper left corner is both controlled by another city, and on another city's territory, and that doesn't affect the bonus. However, the city is yours (i.e. of the same civilization) - if it were from another civilization, the bonus won't activate. Furthermore, I did an experiment and replaced the Sawmill in the upper right corner with a Farm - sure enough both the Rice farm and the one in the center-right got further +1 Adjacency bonus!
In the second image the farms are not arranged in perfect order. The two farms to the left have both a +1 bonus, while of the three farms to the right only the top two get a bonus (the one in the center right only gets a +1 bonus, because it has only 3 adjacent farms), the one in the lower right corner doesn't get a bonus. The farm in the center gets +2 bonus, thanks to having two farms both to the left and to the right. The situation will improve significantly, however, if we place another farm in the empty center tile below - then we might expect the farm in the lower right corner to get a bonus, the one in the center right to get a further +1 bonus, while the new farm will already start with a +2 bonus.
Triangles of farms are the way to go for maximum benefit. The ideal situation would arise if a single tile is surrounded on all six sides by farmed tiles, in which case it would get a + 3 Bonus, with the 'edge' farms each getting a +1 bonus. However, such situations are rare, since it would require a specific terrain without any other resources or features. Beware the limitations described above. Don't rely on it or the 'rules' above, as it's still unclear exactly how it works.
Historical Context Edit
Although decentralization of the Carolingian Empire was the impetus, the feudal system came into focus during the 8th Century AD. (“Feudalism” is simply a term historians invented around the 17th Century to label a social structure they otherwise couldn’t define in one word.) To promote the expansion of his holdings, Charlemagne began granting his nobles certain rights over tracts of land to yield the income necessary for them to provide soldiers for his adventures. In return for this largess, each noble swore an oath of loyalty to the crown. In time, this social, economic, political and judicial control of the allocated lands became hereditary, with these lords now giving fiefs to their own favored underlings who swore oaths of fealty … hence, feudalism.
The classic version of feudalism was a mish-mash of reciprocal legal and military obligations among a warrior nobility, revolving around the concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. (There were, of course, peasants tied to the land, but lords and vassals didn’t concern themselves with such much.) For the next 500 years, power and wealth passed about between the favored few as if in a vast game; the rules were complex, often mysterious, in which the Catholic Pope had special privileges and powers as God’s representative on Earth. Not only did aristocrats partake of feudalism, but so too did bishops and abbots (bishops at times could be found on the battlefields, hacking away with the best of secular lords).
Feudalism, with the rise of nationalism and absolute monarchy, decayed and effectively disappeared in most of Europe by about 1500. It lingered on in Central and Eastern Europe as late as the 1850s; a form did survive in Japan until that benighted kingdom was forced open to the West. And Russia finally abolished serfdom in 1861.