Q:

What was the role of a king in the middle ages?

A:

Quick Answer

During the middle ages, the king's role was that of a feudal lord, charging taxes (in food, labor or money) for the use of his land, passing laws and issuing punishment. The amount of land owned by a king was a direct measurement of his power.

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Full Answer

Regions belonging to the king were mainly situated around the royal castle. Land further out would typically be gifted to members of the nobility class, who would collect taxes on the king's behalf, while at the same time extracting labor from resident peasants for their own benefit.

In this way, the king was able to secure the allegiance of relatively distant territories. Donating land to the Church, meanwhile, was considered an important means of gaining favor with God.

Although queens existed in the middle ages, their role was distinct from that of the king. Their primary function was to give birth to male heirs and to arrange royal celebrations and banquets. It was rare but sometimes necessary for a queen to assume the duties of ruling her husband's kingdom, although this would generally be only a temporary measure.

The life of a king was extremely privileged, characterized by fine clothes, valuable jewels and leisurely amusements, such as hunting and being entertained by his court jesters or troubadours.

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