The servant is a worker who renders his services to a superior called lord, to whom he gives the fruits of his labor, in addition to military services.
The servant is a person who is in a bond of dependency. Thus, it is not an employment relationship because the individual cannot freely decide, for example, to abandon the lands he occupies without first having negotiated with his master.
Servitude is an institution typical of feudalism, where the feudal lord allowed his servants to occupy the lands he owned. In return, he took possession of the products that were grown and requested certain services from them.
The institution of servitude is based on the existence of a medieval society with a well-established hierarchy.Thus, it linked a peasant, who belonged to a low social stratum, with a nobleman.
Given the above, the relationship between the servant and his superior was very unequal. Both were in different socioeconomic levels, the feudal lord being able to access greater privileges.
It should be remembered that feudalism was a political, economic and social system that developed mainly in European countries during the Middle Ages. It was characterized by a strong social division.
Servant and slave
The servant is not in the same situation as a slave. The latter is a property of its lord, and can be sold, for example, in exchange for money or as compensation for an outstanding debt.
The great difference between the servant and the slave is that the former is a "free" man. However, the slave is not and is completely subject to his owner.
However, it should be noted that serfs could sometimes be abused by their lord, bringing their circumstances closer to those of a slave.
Likewise, a servant is different from a vassal, mainly because in vassalage there is not such a great socioeconomic difference between the lord and his subordinate, who could even be a noble.
Other meanings of servant
It should be noted that a servant, in a broader sense, is a person who is subject to another.
In addition, the term servant is often used in the religious sphere, alluding to the faithful who fully follow the divine designs or the doctrines of the church.