Bönder som värnare – beväpning, status och uppror : feodala kontrapunkter i Europa i ett longue durée-perspektiv ca 1000–1800

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Peasant revolts in Europe in the period 1000–1800 often involved militarized peasants. In Western Europe, this appeared in particular between 1300 and 1500 in connection with the late medieval process of militarization of the population. After the sixteenth century a similar process took place in central and Eastern Europe, where the revolts tended to be dominated by border and frontier populations. In both areas, revolts were triggered by complaints of failed military protection and demands for tax privileges. Such demands were viable especially in border regions in the west until 1600 but for far longer in the east. Anti-aristocratic sentiments were also common. In the east, the border gentry often allied with the peasant group’s anti-feudal struggle against the “second serfdom”. From different perspectives, the partners in such alliances could invoke ideas of personal and judicial freedom, as well as of freedom from taxation, which corresponded to the right to bear arms. Assuming responsibility for military defence on the one hand opened for a questioning of established hierarchical relations, because protection was a cornerstone of feudal ideology. On the other hand, militarization in non-noble dominated regions tended to foster traditional feudal ideas and functions of status, political competence etc. among peasants and were often invoked in uprisings. This illustrates the importance of a procedural understanding of political culture and ideology, norms and values in the analysis of social phenomena also from a longue durée- perspective. European feudalism can be seen as a long-lived system that was frequently contested by the subjected peasants, with regard to economic, political, and military issues.


  • Mathias Cederholm
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • Peasant revolts, political culture, peasants in arms, border societies, status, feudalism, ideology, protection, militarization, Europe, longue durée, estates
Translated title of the contributionPeasants as defenders – arms, status and uprisings : European feudal counterpoints in the longue durée, c. 1000–1800
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)643-663
JournalHistorisk Tidskrift
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch