Medieval Government - Europe in Medieval Times
Welcome to Study Guides!

Medieval Government

Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio, where Florence's government
met (Florence, Italy, 1200s AD)

April 2016 - In the Middle Ages, Europe was divided into many different states. Each state had its own system of government. Some of these, like Denmark, Spain, France or England, were monarchies, and had kings or caliphs to rule them. There were also two empires: the Eastern Roman Empire in Eastern Europe and the Holy Roman Empire that ruled most of Germany and Italy. Some parts of northern Italy were independent city-states with a republican government like ancient Rome.

The main problem with all of these governments was that the kings and emperors of the Middle Ages weren't very powerful. They tried to tell their subjects what to do, but a lot of the time their subjects just said "No" and didn't pay any attention. The western European governments used feudalism to help the king keep control, but often this just caused more problems. In Italian republics like Florence and Genoa, there were a lot of civil wars, when one side wouldn't accept the decision of the majority vote and they fought each other.

Learn by doing: Medieval Europe game
More about feudalism

Bibliography and further reading about the Middle Ages:

More about feudalism
Crafts and Projects on the Middle Ages
More about the Middle Ages home

LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Study Guides
  • Publisher:
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more? is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 27 March, 2017