Sometimes I think historians have exaggerated the misery of the medieval serf in Europe. I would not want to exchange my lot for his, of course, but it is a useful exercise to examine in detail just what his feudal obligations were. There is no strict definition of “feudalism,” as it varied in time and place; but it found its fullest expression in medieval France. To understand why it developed, we must appreciate the profound insecurity and chaos that most of Europe was plunged into after the fall of the western Roman Empire. At that time, security and peace mattered more to the common man than his freedom; and the system worked well considering the environment of the times.