- For other related uses see commendation ceremony and homage
in the Middle Ages
was the ceremony in which a feudal
tenant or vassal
pledged reverence and submission to his feudal lord
, receiving in exchange the symbolic title to his new position (investiture). It was a symbolic acknowledgment to the lord that the vassal was, literally, his man (homme
). The oath known as "fealty" implied lesser obligations than did "homage". Further, one could swear "fealty" to many different overlords with respect to different land holdings, but "homage" could only be performed to a single liege, as one could not be "his man", i.e.
committed to military service, to more than one "liege lord".
There have been some interesting conflicts about obligations of homage in history. For example, the Angevin
monarchs of England
were sovereign in England, i.e.
they had no duty of homage regarding those holdings; but they were not sovereign regarding their French
holdings. So Henry II
was king of England, but he was merely Duke
of the Normans
and Angevins and Lord of Aquitaine
. The Capetian Kings
, though weak militarily, claimed a right of homage. The usual oath was therefore modified by Henry to add the qualification "for the lands I hold overseas." (Warren 2000). The implication was that no "knights service" was owed for the conquered English lands.Or again, after King John
was forced to surrender......