(redirected from Vassals)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to Vassals: Fiefs

VASSAL, feudal law. This was the name given to the holder of a fief, bound to perform feudal service; this word was then always correlative to that of lord, entitled to such service.
     2. The vassal himself might be lord of some other vassal.
     3. In aftertimes, this word was used to signify a species of slave who owed servitude, and was in a state of dependency on a superior lord. 2 Bl. Com. 53; Merl. Repert. h.t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Iran has the largest combined oil and gas reserves in the world after Russia, and it refuses to be a US vassal. Its growing influence on the Western front is more to do with America's support for corrupt and hated regimes and their ill-fated wars on Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen than it has to do with any active Iranian hostility, threat or intervention.
According to the Marxian definition, the three elements which characterize feudalism are: lords, vassals and fiefs.
Chapter 14 describes the political structure of the kingdom of Zimri-Lim, and chapter 15 does the same about Mari and its vassal kingdoms.
James's view in The Trew Law of Free Monarchies (1598) that the king's will is law, his subjects "being but his vassals" (15), clashed with the older idea of the mixed monarchy, kingly rule in concert with the people's rights and liberties.
They don't look on their people as competitors, as 'the enemy,' or as vassals or peons.
The horn is finally sounded, too late to save them, but in time for Charlemagne to avenge his heroic vassals. The poem ends with the trial and execution of Ganelon.
Pointing out among other things the importance of the feudal contract to the play's development, and focussing primarily on the segment concerned with the Fall (hereafter Act 1),(5) Morgan suggests that through "linguistic elaboration" of his text, the poet is "directing our attention to the feudal systematization of loyalty in a network of subservient relationships, involving both obedience to the lord who supports his retainers and the concomitant of keeping of faith with one's fellows in an orderly hierarchy."(6) Morgan discusses allusions to the conditionality of Adam and Eve's "tenure" in Paradise, their obligations and rights as "vassals" of God, and some of the legal implications of their failure to keep faith.
Surrounding the Big Kahuna are dozens of vassals, each committed to assuring that he only hears or sees what they want him to know.
The Cid is drawn as a typical Spanish warrior: proud, ruthless, and calculating at the same time that he is kind to his vassals and generous to a fault.
It came to include the curriculum of training the young knight to fight, to hunt, to serve his lord, to govern his own vassals, and ultimately it evolved into that courtly ideal in which the true knight was not only courageous and skillful in war but also generous, pious, and courteous.
Also, France's Economy Minister Bruno le Maire urged Europe to stop acting like "US vassals" and continue trading with Tehran as President Donald Trump has pulled Washington out of the Iran deal.