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vassal (noun) (In the Middle Ages) a man living on the land given by a lord in return for working or fighting for him.

In the Middle Ages vassals were men who lived on the land that wealthy landlords gave them. In return the vassals paid an annual amount by way of rent to the landlords, and worked and fought for them. Vassals were more or less the slaves of the landlords.

  • The vassals were unable to pay the increased rent the landlord had demanded of them. The landlord mercilessly had their crops seized from them.
  • He decided not to live any more like a vassal. He knew he would be tortured or might even be killed, but he preferred death to slavery.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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