Shirerithian Old Feudalism
Old Feudalism is the former structure of power that came into existence in Shireroth over many years before the advent of New Feudalism. Also refered to as Shirerithian Feudalism while the institution was still in place, the system was based on higher Nobles giving titles to lower Nobles and giving them land in the form of Subdivisions, from the top down. This system was used for years until it was replaced in 1510 with New Feudalism.
The Basic Structure of Old Feudalism
Old Feudalism has it's roots in the original structure of Shireroth. Originally, the only nobles were the Kaiser and Dukes. The Kaiser decided who the Dukes were and each Duke was given a parcel of land, a Duchy. The Dukes met in a council, the Landsraad, to decide laws.
As the population of Shireroth increased and the amount of land did not, it became necessary to give more people titles in order to keep activity from dwindling. This prompted the creation of Barons and Baronies. Though the Kaiser also had the ability to assign this title and create Baronies, this was historically done by Dukes, creating subdivisions of their own Duchies. Barons eventually got voting privileges in the Landsraad. In the Landsraad, this led to the terminology of Duchy Proper, which refered to a conception of the Duchy as a whole.
After awhile, Counts and Counties began to crop up as a way for Barons to subdivide their lands. These were the smallest subdivisions in Shireroth, but they did very little other than give people something to add to their list of titles. Counties did not have seats in the Landsraad, nor were they granted relief and maintenance by the Imperial Government, being instead limited to dependency upon that of the Barony that they were a part of. Rather, many counts focused on lives of leisure as opposed to government service.
Also in existence were the short lived Thanes which had Noble titles in more than one Duchy. This practise was eventually made illegal, and so the the title became obsolete.
Opposition of Criticism
Like most things in Shireroth, Old Feudalism was the subject of a lot of criticism. The vast majority of it came from proponents of Democracy, most of which argued that the the Old Feudalist structure was backwards, didn't permit enough activity in the nation, and made it difficult for new citizens to get involved. Many criticized the meritocracy that had evolved around the system. It was often proposed (and even sometimes demanded) that all citizens be allowed to speak or vote in the Landsraad, and that the Landsraad have the power to overturn the Kaiser's Decrees. Some proponents of Feudalism often responded that Shireroth was not a Democratic nation, suggesting instead that the others should stop pushing Democracy and trying to change the government because those people knew what Shireroth was when they joined. They could just as easily have joined a Democratic nation.
In later years, one of the biggest criticisms was that Old Feudalism was not like Feudalism in that nobles couldn't band together and that subdivisions weren't independent enough. Oftentimes, it was argued that this was something uniquely Shirerithian and the extra rigidness was needed to maintain the peace in the nation. Many laws were attempted to allow for Duchies to form alliances, but in the interest of stability and to prevent Duchies from gaining too much power, a Decree was put into place banning such alliances. None the less, people persisted. A common argument came that in 'real' feudalism, Counties should be above Baronies, although it was often countered that the name really didn't matter. In the end, these arguments sparked the creation of New Feudalism and predicated the downfall of old Feudalism.