Life in medieval Europe

Feudalism - the social system that existed in Europe in the Middle Ages, in which land belonged to powerful lords and the people they allowed to live on the land had to work and fight for them
Serf - in the past, someone who lived and worked on land belonging to another person and who could not leave without that person’s permission
Hygiene - the practice of keeping yourself and the things around you clean, in order to prevent illness and disease
Joust - to argue or compete
Duel - a fight between two men with guns or swords, used in the past by men of high social status to defend their honour after being insulted
Vassal - someone during the Middle Ages who was loyal to a king who gave them a home and protection
Witch hunt - The original witch-hunts took place in America in the 17th century, most famously in Salem, Massachusetts. Young girls who were excited or upset were thought to be witches or under the control of evil spirits. The girls’ trials were held in such a way that it was almost impossible for them to prove they were not guilty.
Ordeal - an extremely unpleasant experience, especially one that lasts for a long time
Clergy - the people who lead religious services, especially Christian priests. bishop
Plague - any serious disease that spreads quickly to a lot of people and usually ends in death
Knight - in the past, a European soldier from a high social class who wore a suit of armour (=a metal suit) and rode a horse
Chivalry - the qualities of being polite and honest and having honour that were expected of a knight (=a man trained to fight while riding a horse in the past)
Fiefdom - an area or organization that someone controls completely
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