Feudalism is difficult to define. One may follow the example of Marc Bloch by stressing what feudalism is not. Clearly the feudal patterns which various scholars have described are always subject to the objection that some available data do not fit. Indeed, this defect is inherent in virtually any attempt to generalize.
However, because scholars have asserted that feudalism existed in sixteenth-century Lithuania, it is of interest to ascertain whether their assertions are reasonably accurate under the more common criteria for determining the existence of feudalism. I have come to the conclusion that when judged by those criteria, the social and political order of sixteenth-century Lithuania may not be regarded as typical feudalism except from a Marxist point of view. I am inclined to regard the early sixteenth century as a period when tendencies were developing which point, rather, in the direction of a dynastic state.