Feudalism was the government, social, and political structure of Medieval Europe and it greatly affected society, ranging from how a country was run, to the rights and responsibilities of the people, all the way down to the intricacies of a family. One of the main characteristics of feudalism was its social hierarchy. At the top of the social ladder was the King who ruled all of the land in the kingdom. Since it was impossible for a king to maintain in control of all of his subjects, he gave, or awarded, pieces of his land called fiefs to noble whom he trusted. The nobles were loyal to the king, but in their fiefdom, they were in control. From there, the Nobles, also known as Lords of the Manor, could further divvy up the land to Knights who offered military protection in exchange for land. The Knight was loyal to the Lord, who was loyal to the king. They would protect the land and the lord from outside invasions, and they could also be summed into battle at anytime by their Lords. Below the knights were the peasants. The peasants, who were in charge of farming and raising live stock, leased land from the lord or the knights. At the bottom of the social hierarchy were the serfs who were practically slaves. They did, however, have a few more rights than slaves, but they were bound to the lord and the land they served for life. These loyalties and relationships of the feudal system social hierarchy deal with the rights and responsibilities of the people of medieval Europe.