Nobility

Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary (e.g. precedence), and vary from country to country and era to era. Historically membership in the nobility and the prerogatives thereof have been regulated or acknowledged by the government, thereby distinguishing it from other sectors of a nation's upper class. Nonetheless, nobility per se has rarely constituted a closed caste; acquisition of sufficient power, wealth, military prowess or royal favour has, occasionally or often, enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility.

There is often a variety of ranks within the noble class. Legal recognition of nobility is more common in monarchies, but nobility also existed in such republics as the Dutch Provinces, Genoa and Venice, and remains part of the legal social structure of some non-hereditary regimes, e.g. San Marino and Vatican City in Europe. Hereditary titles often distinguish nobles from non-nobles, although in many nations most of the nobility have been un-titled, and a hereditary title need not indicate nobility.

Read more about Nobility:  History, Noble Privileges, Ennoblement, European Nobility, Rank Within The Nobility, "Blue" Blood, Eastern Nobility, Nobility By Nation

Famous quotes containing the word nobility:

    The ideal of brotherhood of man, the building of the Just City, is one that cannot be discarded without lifelong feelings of disappointment and loss. But, if we are to live in the real world, discard it we must. Its very nobility makes the results of its breakdown doubly horrifying, and it breaks down, as it always will, not by some external agency but because it cannot work.
    Kingsley Amis (1922–1995)

    And nobility will not be able to help you with your love; Love does not know how to cede to ancestral images.
    Propertius Sextus (c. 50–16 B.C.)

    I have come to the conclusion that the closer people are to what may be called the front lines of government ... the easier it is to see the immediate underbrush, the individual tree trunks of the moment, and to forget the nobility the usefulness and the wide extent of the forest itself.... They forget that politics after all is only an instrument through which to achieve Government.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945)