The Middle Ages was a period of European history stretching from approximately 5th century AD to the 15th century. It was a time when, in the face of constant threat from barbarian tribes, people banded together around a strong military leader who would offer them protection. In return for this protection this leader became king. He would gather together a group of elite fighting men to lead his army. As his army secured the countryside, the king would divide the newly gained land among his followers ( his Lords and knights), rewarding their faithfulness and courage in battle. They would then setup a safe place to live surround by people who would support them in times of trouble. These people would build the castles, grow the food and provide the manpower for the army. The king could then count on his Lords and knights to maintain and extend his kingdom.