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Past and Present Nobility

Jul 30, 2008
Nobility can be many things including a social and historical concept. This is different from social status or class which is more related to income . Nobility in ancient Roman society was not established simply by birth. It could be maintained and acquired by service in public offices and promotion to senior positions, which were called honores. Nobility has been seen as a sign of biological or racial superiority; as a desired political arrangement; or as compensation for services given. Nobility was once demonstrated by the showing of an aristocratic pedigree and wealth. Chivalry focused the demonstration of nobility on action and strived to show that true nobility comes from the heart. Nobility titles are found today in quite a few countries, mostly though it is usually often with former or present monarchies.

The Noble

Nobles typically controlled resources, such as money, food, or labor, from other more common members or of lower rank nobles of their societies, and could exercise political or religious power over them. Having wealth or influence does not necessarily cause one to become a noble, neither do all nobles have influence and wealth. Nobles or knights were warriors on horseback who were committed to their ruler and swore to fight on his behalf for an grant of land together along with serfs. Heraldry or having a coat of arms, was never restricted to the just the noble classes for most countries, and having a coat of arms does not mean a person is part of nobility. Typically, but not always, nobles were entitled to land or other property, which was often demonstrated in their title.


In some countries in which nobility was popular, they were slowly displaced in power by wealthy individuals not connected to nobility. For example a rich merchant had more influence than a lesser nobleman. As mentioned before, nobles typically controlled resources from non-nobility or nobility of lesser rank in society, and could exercise political or power religious over them.

Titles of nobility could be earned or inherited. In this aspect, nobility is different from peerage. Peerage is only passed to an individual family member. For nobility was not only something one could acquire, but something one could also lose.

Characteristics of the Ranks

Some of the more popular noble ranks and their characteristics are listed below.


A marquis is a noble title which is normally an inherited rank of varied European countries and sometimes their colonies. The term originally denoted a count holding a march, or mark (frontier district). Originally, they were counts which had extra powers due to the fact that they protected border areas. This gave them higher rank over other counts or earls as they were called in England.


Prince is a title of some members of Royal families and the highest ranks of the aristocracy or the nobility. A ruler, derived from Latin princeps, which means first in rank. Generally, any ruler was known as the 'prince', the 'ruler'. A prince is known for being a leader or ruler. A prince is known for his fairness and his ability to guide or inspire others.


There were three types of soldiers in the middle ages and the knight was one of these: Archers, Foot Soldiers, and Knights. Knights followed a code known as chivalry. They were committed to be courteous to women, defend weaker people, and of course demonstrate loyalty to their king, and be of service to God. Knights were taught to be humble to others, particularly their superiors. Knighthood was eventually merged into the nobility as a lower noble title.
About the Author
Spencer Miller is a researcher and author. Recently he found that titles of Nobility are sometimes issued. These Noble titles are certified legal titles that can be added to your name. All nobility titles include full documentation support which includes Apostille certification.
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