What role did the manor play in affecting economic conditions of early medieval Europe? After examining the account of the economic world of early medieval Europe in Bentley and...

What role did the manor play in affecting economic conditions of early medieval Europe?

After examining the account of the economic world of early medieval Europe in Bentley and Ziegler's Traditions & Encounters, what role did the manor play in this?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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According to Bentley and Ziegler, manors were essentially the drivers of the economy of early medieval Europe.  There were no major cities in those days that acted as important economic centers.  Instead, the manors were the most important economic institutions and the location of the most important economic activity.

The manors provided organization for the rural economy.  Lords of manors controlled serfs and required them to work in agriculture on the manors.  This led to economic growth as serfs and other workers did things like draining swamps and clearing forests so that more land could be cultivated.  The manors were also the place where new agricultural techniques were invented and perfected.  Lords of manors experimented with things like crop rotation and the cultivation of new crops.  They developed new technologies like the horse collar and horseshoe.  By doing these things, they increased agricultural productivity.

At the same time, manors provided other things that were needed for the European economy and for eventual economic growth.  The lords of the manors provided the money to create things like mills and bakeries.  They built breweries and wineries.  It was on the manors that people learned to be artisans who could do things like making iron tools and textiles.  Bentley and Ziegler point out that these skills were very important to early medieval Europe and that they also provided the foundation for later economic growth.

Thus, manors were very important in early medieval Europe because they were the main economic unit.  They were the economic engines that drove the economy of that time.

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