Taxes, Tithing & The Death Of Ancient Man – Part II

by Edward Le Prieur

Example of a peasant cruck house in England.

I discussed previously how the advent of agriculture in Europe led to a destruction of the natural landscape of the majority of continental Europe. This was only one of the steps in the death of ancient man. Once large-scale agriculture had begun, so did the distribution of wealth change. Suddenly the common man was subject to the will of the land holder. Swearing an oath to the lord of the land, and to the Church.

The nobility now had great power of the common man, who were essentially reduced to the level of serfs. The lowest possible wrung on the ladder of the hierarchy of feudal system. At the top of this system was the church. The one thing the man had to do in Medieval Europe was to pay rent or tax of his land to the lord, and the tax to the church or tithe. The tithe would have been ten percent of the production of the farmers land. Which might not seem like a great deal, however this had the potential to make or break a family. A peasant could pay the tithe in either coin, or in seed, equipment et cetera. Either way tithes were a deeply unpopular among the lower class. The church would collect so much from these tithes in fact it had to be stored in huge tithe barns, some of which are still standing. After the tax was paid you could do what you will with the remaining, but it was scarcely enough to feed yourself or your family.

Example of a remaining tithe barn in Jesteberg, Germany

Example of a remaining tithe barn in Jesteberg, Germany

Peasants were also required to work on church lands for free. Giving up time they could have used to till their own farms. The power of the church was twisted to make the people believe that if they did not they would have the damnation of sin and hell hanging above their heads. Such had been their indoctrination at an early age.

The movement of man into larger groups, villages and towns removed any chance of a common man bettering himself. If he lived under a lord, he had the supposed protection of his militia. However that was about the only benefit that was received in serfdom. The freedom of man at this time was merely an illusion, seldom educated. The life of a peasant was reduced to the will of his lord and the control of the church. Another chapter in the death of ancient man.

The conditions of man should seem familiar to that of a serfdom that modern man is subject to. Man is still prison to his owners will, and still subject to taxation. Only the illusion of freedom prevails, the spirit of man continues to be subverted and crushed.