1) Social Roles of the Nobles between the 11th and 13th Century
Ancient civilizations were based on reverence of the noble family that was endowed with material and social wealth. Their skills catalogue included commerce, war, justice among others as a result, their place in society was necessary and every clan had a noble figure, which drew admiration owing to the fact that or she was a descendant of the royal family. Nobility in ancient days was viewed with both admiration and awe. It represented the highest level of social status achievable during in the civilization. As posited by Bouchard (p 5), nobles were descendants of kings. Similarly, some nobles gained status out of strategic intermarriages and parentage.
Nobles were wealthy individuals who wielded both power and authority. The source of their wealth was the extensive inheritance handed down through ancestral relationships (Bouchard, 3). As a result, nobles were the merchants and sometimes were the hands behind the trading activities of merchants. Their possessions were a source of power as well. Since most of them were inhabitants of castles, the servants were the people who sought refuge at the castle (Painter, 3). As a result, they benefited from the labor of their servants. The laborers were mandated to dedicate a portion of their weekly hours to the owner of the castle in which they lived. As a result, nobles accumulated wealth from the economic activities of the residents of the castle. As a rule, any economic activity attracted a fee paid to the county, separate from the taxes accruing to the kings.
The nobles were custodians of virtues as outlined by Bouchard (p5). Nobles represented the king at local levels ad were thus responsible for overseeing the virtuous conduct of the residents of the castle. Owing to the lack of formal courts, nobles were the judges in their own capacity as postulated by Duby (p 55). The respect that they commanded emanating from their wealth enabled the residents to accord them the opportunity to decide upon any legal matters among the residents.
In spite of the lack of any formal laws, according to Bouchard (p 8), the role of nobles “was the administrative, judicial, financial and military official in the area. He administered laws and rulings on behalf of the king, brought criminals to justice in his own court, collected king’s taxes and raised the army when necessary.” The sparse population owing to concentration of population in castles made it hard for kings to rule without any form of assistance. In addition to administration roles, they aided in collecting taxes on behalf of the kings (Tilley, 75).
Nobles (in the capacity of counts) promoted establishment and continuity of religion. Their place in society necessitated them to provide for the poor as well as the rich. Similarly, they always sought ways of finding peace and ambience (Bouchard, 7 & Tilley, 60). As a result, nobles were more than willing to support the work of the monks and individuals who were involved in spreading the gospel in return for prayer and blessings. It was commonplace for a noble to offer land and resources for the development of areas for worship as outlined by Painter (p 66).
The castle provided security to the inhabitants during times of war and a home during times of peace. The nobles consisting of knight were trained in the art of armed battle and were normally the protectors of the castles. The knight formed armies that were funded by the counts in order to protect the community residing in the castle as postulated by Bouchard (p15). From the collections received from the laborers, the counts were able to afford armor for the knights who fought for the counts (Painter, 30). Although some knights could afford their own weapons, it was common practice for the head of the castle to arm his soldiers.
2) Sources of Bouchard arguments
Bouchard bases her argument on scholarly literature comprising books, journals and accounts of the period in consideration. As observed from the references, Bouchard has gone to great lengths to analyze the existing literature and thereby come up with exemplary critique and analysis of the existing literature. By displaying a balanced and sensible account of the events of the era of the nobles, she succeeds in clearly outlining the characteristics of the civilizations during that period (Bouchard, III). Bouchard also compared the interpretations of the authors to the references from which thy sources their ideas in order to commend on their capacity to relate facts and happening s of the era. By so doing, she classifies the interpretations and offers her extrapolation of the rationale behind her positions.
One of the books that greatly inspired the writer is the painter’s French chivalry. The book is actually revered as the most proficient in information relating to the era in consideration. In addition to writing from the ‘National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend’ provided a much-needed model for the introduction. Recent and past accounts of chivalry and nobility provided a basis for her comparison and criticism as well.