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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

I: Western Europe on the eve of the Crusades,   pp. [2]-29 PDF (56.0 KB)

Page 19

lected the land tax called Danegeld and was the only monarch of western Europe
to have a source of revenue of this type. Moreover, when king William established
a complete and formal feudal hier archy in England, he made certain innovations
in feudal custom. In France a vassal's primary obligation was to his lord,
and if the lord waged war against the king, it was the vassal's duty to fol
low him. William insisted that every freeman owed basic allegiance to the
crown. In the famous Salisbury Oath the freemen of Eng land swore fidelity
tb him as against all others. If an English baron rose in revolt, his vassals
were expected to desert him. Then Wil liam absolutely forbade private warfare.
The vassals of an English baron owed him military service only when the baron
himself was engaged in the king's service. Finally the Conqueror was extreme
ly niggardly in granting rights of jurisdiction. All lords of any im portance
were given "sac and soc" or police court authority oVer their own tenants.
A few great lords had the right to have their agents preside over local popular
courts. But the higher ranges of justice were kept firmly in the hands of
the crown. In short, William created a feudal state, but it was one in which
the mon arch had extensive non-feudal powers and resources and in which feudal
custom was modified to favor royal authority. 
 At about the same time that William of Normandy established a feudal state
in England a group of Norman adventurers were doing the same thing in southern
Italy and Sicily. In the third decade of the eleventh century William, Drogo,
and Humphrey, sons of a petty Norman lord named Tancred of Hauteville, en
tered the continuous quarrels between rival factions in southern Italy. First
they served as mercenary captains, but soon they established themselves in
lands and fortresses. They then sent for their younger brothers, Robert Guiscard
and Roger. When Humphrey, the last of the elder brothers, died in 1057 the
Haute villes were masters of Apulia. Robert Guiscard took the title duke
of Apulia and set his brother Roger to work conquering Calabria. In 1061
both brothers joined forces to attack Sicily, which was held by the Moslems.
1 After some thirty years of continuous war the conquest was completed and
Roger became count of Sicily as his brother's vassal. Robert, duke of Apulia
and overlord of Sicily, did homage to the pope for his lands and was a firm
ally of the papacy against the German emperors. But the possession of south
ern Italy failed to satisfy his ambition. He and his turbulent son Bohemond
viewed with greedy eyes the Byzantine lands across the 
1 See below, chapter II, section C. 

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