Who was called a vassal in the Middle Ages?

This was the name of the feudal lords, as a rule, who owned a land allotment, dependent on a larger feudal lord, ultimately on the king. The lord undertook to protect his vassals from military attack. The duties of a vassal in relation to his master included military service and, if the master was captured, to ransom him.

Large feudal lords under the king, although they were considered his vassals, had very large privileges. In particular, they themselves collected taxes on their lands, were in their possessions by the highest judicial authority, and could mint their own coins.

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