As owners of land, these new lords ruled over the people. The common people became their serfs. The serfs worked for and paid taxes to the lord. In return, the lords protected the serfs from any danger. In this way of life, known as the Feudal System, the lords also owed loyalty and taxes to greater lords of larger kingdoms. All of these many lords took oaths of loyalty and swore to a code of conduct. All were warriors who fought from horseback. They became known as knights. By the 11th century, knights serving lords, counts, and dukes, who, in return, were served by serfs, was the common way of life throughout Western Europe. What is a castle? A castle was the name given to the home where the lord and his family lived. It was also the place from where the lord did his business. It was the base from which his knights protected and fought for his land. The earliest castles were built in the 9th century. They were built of earth and logs. By the 11th century, lords and knights were building their castles of stone and brick. Stone and brick were much stronger than earth and wood. Huge walls often surrounded the castle to provide even more protection. What was life in a castle like? The castle was the lord’s home. Here his wife, the lady of the castle, and his children could live safely. Castles often had many rooms in which the family would live, work, and play. The Great Hall was a common room where everyone of the castle would eat. Daily business would also be conducted from the Great Hall. Within the castle walls would be an outdoor kitchen and a well for fresh water. Special rooms for making weapons, kennels for dogs used in war and hunting, and apartments for visiting lords and nobles were parts of the castle. Castles were the homes of lords and knights in the Middle Ages of Europe. Chapter 4 • Arizona in the World  43