But if differed from the old patriciate in this, that, while the privileges of the old patriciate rested on law, or perhaps rather on immemorial custom, the privileges of the new nobility rested wholly on a sentiment of which men could remember the beginning.
Aristocracy implies the existence of nobility; but nobility does not imply aristocracy; it may exist under any form of government.
This nobility consisted of all those who, as descendants of curule magistrates, had the jus imaginum - that is, who could point to forefathers ennobled by office.
There was so much good nature and nobility (in the French sense of the word) in the officer's voice, in the expression of his face and in his gestures, that Pierre, unconsciously smiling in response to the Frenchman's smile, pressed the hand held out to him.
In the estate of the nobility he headed the liberal minority under the guidance of Adrien Duport, and led the minority of forty-seven noblemen who seceded from their own estate (June 1789) and joined the Tiers Etat.
A new magistrate, the gonfalonier of justice, appears in some of the Guelph cities, with the special duty of keeping the insolence of the nobility in check.
In Tuscany, where the Guelph party was very strongly organized, and the commercial constitution of Florence kept the nobility in check, the communes remained as yet free from hereditary masters.
He was "Roman in resolution and repression, Roman in civic nobility and pride, Roman in tenacity of imperial aim, Roman in respect for law, Roman in self-effacement for the service of the State" (G.
But nobility is not necessarily a political term; the distinction which it implies may be accompanied by political privileges or it may not.
In the wars against the English in the 14th and 15th centuries and the religious wars of the 16th century the town had its full participation; and in 1665 it acquired a terrible notoriety by the trial and execution of many members of the nobility of Auvergne who had tyrannized over the neighbouring districts.
The consequences of this marriage were to alienate many of the most powerful of the nobility, especially the earls of Arran and Home, and to make Margaret entirely dependent on the house of Douglas; while it furnished the council with a pretext for removing her from the regency and guardianship of the king in favour of Albany in July 1515.
Joachim Descartes, his father, having purchased a commission as counsellor in the parlement of Rennes, introduced the family into that demi-noblesse of the robe which, between the bourgeoisie and the high nobility, maintained a lofty rank in French society.
He had already begun his work of toleration, for he had recently produced a drama (Die Juden, 1749), the motive of which was to prove that a Jew can be possessed of nobility of character.
On the 25th of November Cromwell charged Manchester with "unwillingness to have the war prosecuted to a full victory"; which Manchester answered by accusing Cromwell of having used expressions against the nobility, the Scots and Presbyterianism; of desiring to fill the army of the Eastern Association with Independents to prevent any accommodation; and of having vowed if he met the king in battle he would as lief fire his pistol at him as at anybody else.
The thegn became a member of a territorial nobility, and the dignity of thegnhood was attainable by those who fulfilled certain conditions.
Uruguay at that time was inhabited by Indians, of whom the dominant tribe was called Charrua, a people described as physically strong and well-formed, and endowed with a natural nobility of character.
To form a true understanding of what is strictly implied in the word "nobility," in its social as opposed to a purely moral sense, it is needful to distinguish its meaning from that of several words with which it is likely to be confounded.
Yet nobility, in some shape or another, has existed in most places and times of the world's history, while the British peerage is an institution purely local, and one which has actually hindered the existence of a nobility in the sense which the word bears in most other countries.
Again, it is sometimes thought that both nobility and aristocracy are in some special way connected with kingly government.
To not a few it would seem a contradiction to speak of nobility or aristocracy in a republic. Yet, though many republics have eschewed nobility, there is nothing in a republican, or even in a democratic, form of government inconsistent with the existence of nobility; and it is only in a republic that aristocracy, in the strict sense of the word, can exist.
There may or there may not be a power vested somewhere of conferring nobility; but it is essential to the true idea of nobility that, when once acquired, it shall go on for ever to all the descendants - or, more commonly, only to all the descendants in the male line - of the person first ennobled or first recorded as noble.
It is hardly needful to prove that nobility does not imply wealth, though nobility without wealth runs some risk of being forgotten.
This definition seems to take in all the kinds of nobility which have existed in different times and places.
Nobility and peerage.
Here, then, is a nobility in the strictest sense.
That the English peerage does not answer to the true idea of a nobility will be seen with a very little thought.
This is not nobility in the true sense; it is not nobility as nobility was understood either in the French kingdom or in the Venetian commonwealth.
Nobility thus implies the vesting of some hereditary privilege or advantage in certain families, without deciding in what such privilege or advantage consists.
The way in which nobility has arisen in different times and places is very various, and there are several nations whose history will supply us with examples of a nobility of one kind giving way to a nobility of another kind.
What we may call the nobility of earlier occupation makes way for the nobility of office.
But their position as a nobility or privileged class arose solely because a class with inferior rights to their own grew up around them.
They were not a nobility or a privileged class as long as there was no less privileged class to distinguish them from.
This was the growth of the new nobility of Rome, that body, partly patrician, partly plebeian, to whom the name nobilitas strictly belongs in Roman history.
This new nobility gradually became as well marked and as exclusive as the old patriciate.
Or it would be more accurate to say that the new nobility had really no privileges at all.
Livy could never get rid of the idea that the old struggle between patrician and plebeian was something like the struggle between the nobility and the people at large in the later days of the commonwealth.
At Sparta we have a third instance of a people shrinking up into a nobility, but it is a people whose position differs altogether from anything either at Rome or at Athens.
Nor was it strictly a nobility of office, though it had more in common with that than with either of the other two.
As Athens supplies us with a parallel to the older nobility of Rome without any parallel to the later, so Venice supplies us with a parallel to the later nobility of Rome without any parallel to the earlier.
In one point, however, the Venetian nobility differed from either the older or the newer nobility of Rome, and also from the older nobilities of the medieval Italian cities.
Nowhere else did nobility so distinctly rise out of wealth, and that wealth gained nobility.
We may now compare the history of nobility at Rome with its history in some other of the most famous city-commonwealths.