Serf

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Related to Serfs: feudal system

SERF. During the feudal times certain persons who were bound to perform very onerous duties towards others, were so called. Poth. Des Personnes, p. 1, t. 1, a. 6, s. 4. There is this essential difference between a serf and a slave; the serf was bound simply to labor on the soil where he was born, without any right to go elsewhere without the consent of his lord; but he was free to act as he pleased in his daily action: the slave on the contrary is the property of his master, who may require him to act as he pleases in every respect, and who may sell him as a chattel. Lepage, Science du Droit, c. 3, art. 2, Sec. 2.

References in classic literature ?
The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois.
The serf was about to reply, when the clear ringing call of a bugle burst from the wood close behind them, and Alleyne caught sight for an instant of the dun side and white breast of a lordly stag glancing swiftly betwixt the distant tree trunks.
Alleyne doffed hat and bowed head at the sight of him, but the serf folded his hands and leaned them upon his cudgel, looking with little love at the knot of nobles and knights-in-waiting who rode behind the king.
One only lingered, the black-browed Baron Brocas, who, making a gambade which brought him within arm-sweep of the serf, slashed him across the face with his riding-whip.
I would rather wed a branded serf from my father's fields.
The old man of Torn attended to the training of serf and squire in the art of war, for it was ever necessary to fill the gaps made in the companies, due to their constant encounters upon the highroad and their battles at the taking of some feudal castle; in which they did not always come off unscathed, though usually victorious.
THE FarmersUnion (Eka) on Thursday urged President Nicos Anastasiades to make May 12 an annual commemoration of the struggles of Cypriot serfs and of their leader Re Alexis against the Frankish rulers of the island in the medieval period.
In part 1, Eddie argues that serfs in Brandenburg-Prussia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries enjoyed a higher quality of life than free peasants due to the reciprocal obligations that existed between them and the noble estate owners.
Among his topics are whether Russia's emancipated serfs really paid too much for too little land; statistical anomalies and long-tailed distributions; demographic insights into serfs in imperial Russia; the banking crisis, peasant reform, and economic development in Russia 1857-61; anthropometric measures of well-being in imperial Russia and the Soviet Union 1821-1960; bride-wealth, dowry, and socioeconomic differentiation in rural Russia; and the great reformers and the world they did not know: drafting the emancipation legislation in Russia 1858-61.
les libres et les serfs sont deux extractions qui ne se rencontrent point, le libre est un libre et le serf est un serf-Nous vous regardions comme un serf et un serf tu demeureras quand bien meme votre image aurait ete embellie par mille quartets et quintets '.
An underclass of serfs dependent on the state is growing rapidly, and in the United States currently includes more than half the population.
Readers may question his equation of the "nameless serfs" that built Europe's cathedrals with the "nameless serfs" that built the Franciscan missions, as the latter were not nameless serfs until the Fanciscans arrived.