Feudalism, or manorialism, was a system of forced labor where lords enslaved laborers and forced them to work on their farms. The laborers were called serfs and they were not allowed to leave the land they were bonded to.
This practice was common all over Eastern Europe, and particularly severe in the Russian empire. Indeed, the excesses of this system formed the basis for the Communist Revolt.
But that is not our topic today. Today we are going to discuss details of day-to-day life in those times.
Recently discovered artefacts and accounts from the period suggest that serfs often tried to escape across the vast, unpeopled steppes of Asia Minor.
Initially, it appears, the lords did not bother, because they believed that the serfs would perish in the harsh conditions on the steppe.
Soon, however, it was obvious that the serfs were not only managing to survive, they were setting up villages of their own.
Alarmed, the lords started actively pursuing the serfs and capturing them, usually with a net, in the fashion of the Roman Retiarii.
The most interesting account appears in the diary of a lord, dating from that period.
Meticulously written, the diary describes the equipment required for the purpose.
"A net of strong twine, a spear, a lance, a fast horse, all these are required for capturing them.
And do not forget to wear a band tight around thy waist.
And make sure the band around thy waist is not too narrow
For it is only too well known that a broad band is required for netting the serfs."