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.
And, if no government on earth ever fully carried out the literal meaning of aristocracy as the rule of the best, these civic nobilities come nearer to it than any other form of government.
Feudalism formed the starting-point also of the later social nobilities of Europe.
It was often the policy of kings to increase the social privileges and legal exemptions of the nobility while taking away all political power, so that it is necessary in the history of institutions to distinguish sharply between these nobilities and the feudal baronage proper.
But it is not at all surprising that Isotta should have her letters written and signed by another hand, when such was by no means an uncommon practice among the princes and nobilities of her day.