Nobility

The House of Lords is the upper legislature of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is filled with members that are selected from the nobility (both hereditary titleholders and those ennobled only for their individual lives).
Nobility offered protection in exchange for service
French aristocrats, c. 1774
A French political cartoon of the three orders of feudal society (1789). The rural third estate carries the clergy and the nobility.
Opening of the Hungarian Diet (Országgyűlés) with the members of hungarian nobility in the Royal Palace, 1865
Polish magnates 1576–1586
Polish magnates 1697–1795
Hungarian prince Ferenc József in the typical dress of the Hungarian nobility, 18th century
Count Carl Robert Mannerheim (1835–1914), a Finnish aristocrat, businessman, and the father of Baron C. G. E. Mannerheim, the Marshal of Finland
Russian boyars
The Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. Large numbers of English nobility perished in the Wars of the Roses
A Maratha Durbar showing the Chief (Raja) and the nobles (Sardars, Jagirdars, Istamuradars & Mankaris) of the state.
Illustration of Nair nobles in 18th century Kerala, India. The Nair caste was a martial nobility, similar to the Samurai of Japan.
In Korea, royalty and yangban aristocrats were carried in litters called gama. A Korean gama, circa 1890.
An aristocratic family in Lhasa, Tibet in 1936.
Emperor Farrukhsiyar Bestows a Jewel on a Nobleman
Maratha Peshwa Madhavrao II, surrounded by nobles in his court in 18th-century India.
Japanese samurai, 1798
Typical costume of a family belonging to the Principalía of the late 19th century Philippines. Exhibit in the Villa Escudero Museum, San Pablo, Laguna.
Heraldic Crown of Hispanic Hidalgos.
A pre-colonial Tagalog couple belonging to the Datu class or nobility as depicted in the Boxer Codex of the 16th century.
Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (center) and members of the imperial court
King Radama I of Madagascar was from the Andriana stratum of the Merina people.
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, on his throne in 2016.
Angélica Larrea, Queen Consort of the Afro-Bolivians, in 2012. The queen is the wife of King Julio Pinedo.
Portrait of Marquis of Paraná, Prime Minister of Brazil.
Regent of Bandung, Java, Dutch East Indies, with his pajung bearer – 1863–1865
Sons of Crown Prince Krom Loeang of Siam, Bangkok, 1862
A Siamese noble in a hammock, 1900
Burmese nobles and servants

Social class found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy.

- Nobility
The House of Lords is the upper legislature of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is filled with members that are selected from the nobility (both hereditary titleholders and those ennobled only for their individual lives).

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Slave beating in ancient Egypt

Social class

Set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification that occur in a class society, in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes.

Set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification that occur in a class society, in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes.

Slave beating in ancient Egypt
Burmese nobles and servants
Nigerian warriors armed with spears in the retinue of a mounted war chief. The Earth and Its Inhabitants, 1892
A symbolic image of three orders of feudal society in Europe prior to the French Revolution, which shows the rural third estate carrying the clergy and the nobility
In the United States the lowest stratum of the working class, the underclass, often lives in urban areas with low-quality civil services
Equestrian portrait of Empress Elizabeth of Russia with a Moor servant

In the late 18th century, the term "class" began to replace classifications such as estates, rank and orders as the primary means of organizing society into hierarchical divisions.

Investiture of a knight (miniature from the statutes of the Order of the Knot, founded in 1352 by Louis I of Naples).

Feudalism

The combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries.

The combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries.

Investiture of a knight (miniature from the statutes of the Order of the Knot, founded in 1352 by Louis I of Naples).
Orava Castle in Slovakia. A medieval castle is a traditional symbol of a feudal society.
Herr Reinmar von Zweter, a 13th-century Minnesinger, was depicted with his noble arms in Codex Manesse.
Homage of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis
France in the late 15th century: a mosaic of feudal territories
Depiction of socage on the royal demesne in feudal England, c. 1310

The classic definition, by François Louis Ganshof (1944), describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations which existed among the warrior nobility and revolved around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs.

A Medieval French manuscript illustration depicting the three estates: clergy (oratores), nobles (bellatores), and commoners (laboratores).

Commoner

A Medieval French manuscript illustration depicting the three estates: clergy (oratores), nobles (bellatores), and commoners (laboratores).
US Vice President Henry A. Wallace proclaimed the "arrival of the century of the common man" in a 1942 speech broadcast nationwide in the United States.

A commoner, also known as the common man, commoners, the ', was in earlier use an ordinary person in a community or nation who did not have any significant social status, especially one who was a member of neither royalty, nobility, nor any part of the aristocracy.

Mr and Mrs Andrews (c. 1750) by Thomas Gainsborough, a couple from the landed gentry, a marriage alliance between two local landowning families – one gentry, one trade. National Gallery, London.

Landed gentry

Largely historical British social class of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate.

Largely historical British social class of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate.

Mr and Mrs Andrews (c. 1750) by Thomas Gainsborough, a couple from the landed gentry, a marriage alliance between two local landowning families – one gentry, one trade. National Gallery, London.
Typical entry in Burke's Landed Gentry (from Volume 2 of the 1898 edition).

The term landed gentry, although originally used to mean nobility, came to be used of the lesser nobility in England around 1540.

The House of Lords is the upper legislature of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is filled with members that are selected from the nobility (both hereditary titleholders and those ennobled only for their individual lives).

Hereditary title

The House of Lords is the upper legislature of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is filled with members that are selected from the nobility (both hereditary titleholders and those ennobled only for their individual lives).

Hereditary titles, in a general sense, are nobility titles, positions or styles that are hereditary and thus tend or are bound to remain in particular families.

The Code Of Honor—A Duel in the Bois De Boulogne, Near Paris, wood-engraving after Godefroy Durand, Harper's Weekly (January 1875)

Duel

Arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules.

Arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules.

The Code Of Honor—A Duel in the Bois De Boulogne, Near Paris, wood-engraving after Godefroy Durand, Harper's Weekly (January 1875)
Depiction of a judicial combat in the Dresden codex of the Sachsenspiegel (early to mid-14th century), illustrating the provision that the two combatants must "share the sun", i.e. align themselves perpendicular to the sun so that neither has an advantage.
Commemorative poster for the fourth centennial of the Disfida di Barletta, the Challenge of Barletta, fought on 13 February 1503 between 13 Italian and 13 French knights all shown wearing full plate armour.
Minamoto no Yoshihira and Taira no Shigemori (Japan in 1159)
Dueling remained highly popular in European society, despite various attempts at banning the practice.
German students of a Burschenschaft fighting a sabre duel, around 1900, painting by Georg Mühlberg (1863–1925)
An anti-dueling sermon written by an acquaintance of Alexander Hamilton.
A 1902 illustration showing Alexander Hamilton fighting his fatal duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, July 1804
Pistol dueling as an associate event at the 1908 London Olympic Games
The fictional pistol duel between Eugene Onegin and Vladimir Lensky. Watercolour by Ilya Repin (1899)
Depiction of the pistol duel of Alexander Pushkin vs. Georges d'Anthès, January 1837
Wild Bill Hickok's duel with Davis Tutt became the quintessential quick draw duel in US history.
An Act for the punishing and preventing of Duelling (1728), Massachusetts Bay Colony
Gada (mace) duel between Bhima and Duryodhana
Depiction of the duel of Miyamoto Musashi vs. Sasaki Kojirō

Duels were fought not so much to kill the opponent as to gain "satisfaction", that is, to restore one's honor by demonstrating a willingness to risk one's life for it, and as such the tradition of dueling was originally reserved for the male members of nobility; however, in the modern era, it extended to those of the upper classes generally.

Absolute cognatic primogeniture diagram. Legend:

Primogeniture

Right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative.

Right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative.

Absolute cognatic primogeniture diagram. Legend:
Agnatic primogeniture diagram. Legend:
Male-preference primogeniture diagram. Legend:
Agnatic-cognatic primogeniture diagram
Esau Sells His Birthright for Pottage of Lentils, a 1728 engraving by Gerard Hoet

The Holy Roman Emperor was selected for enthronement by a small number of powerful prince electors from among Europe's Christian males of inherited nobility.

Bartolomeu de Gusmão presenting his invention to the court of John V of Portugal.

Royal court

For alternative meanings of the word "court", see Court (disambiguation).

For alternative meanings of the word "court", see Court (disambiguation).

Bartolomeu de Gusmão presenting his invention to the court of John V of Portugal.
The Sikh 'Court of Lahore'.
The Macartney Embassy. Lord Macartney salutes the Qianlong Emperor, but refuses to kowtow.
The Dutch court is known for old traditions.
One of the series of the reliefs of the Persian and Median dignitaries at Apadana stairs of Persepolis, all with weapons, but in a casual air—a rare depiction of an ancient court ceremony.
A colonnade in Pharaoh Amenhotep III's royal court at Luxor.
"Triboulet", illustration for the theater play "Le Roi S'Amuse" ("The King Takes His Amusement") by Victor Hugo. Gravure by J. A. Beaucé (1818–1875) and Georges Rouget (1781–1869).
Catherine the Great and her court
Ambassador Kosa Pan and Siamese envoys pay their respect to Louis XIV at his court in Versailles.

Hence the word court may also be applied to the coterie of a senior member of the nobility.

French aristocrats, c. 1774

Aristocracy (class)

Historically associated with "hereditary" or "ruling" social class.

Historically associated with "hereditary" or "ruling" social class.

French aristocrats, c. 1774
A castle, the symbol of the rule of aristocracy in medieval Europe (Krásna Hôrka in Slovakia)
Count Carl Robert Mannerheim (1835–1914), aristocrat, businessman and father of Marshal C. G. E. Mannerheim.

In modern European societies, the aristocracy has often coincided with the nobility, a specific class that arose in the Middle Ages, but the term "aristocracy" is sometimes also applied to other elites, and is used as a more generic term when describing earlier and non-European societies.

A 13th-century French representation of the tripartite social order of the Middle Ages – Oratores ("those who pray"), Bellatores ("those who fight"), and Laboratores ("those who work").

Estates of the realm

The estates of the realm, or three estates, were the broad orders of social hierarchy used in Christendom (Christian Europe) from the Middle Ages to early modern Europe.

The estates of the realm, or three estates, were the broad orders of social hierarchy used in Christendom (Christian Europe) from the Middle Ages to early modern Europe.

A 13th-century French representation of the tripartite social order of the Middle Ages – Oratores ("those who pray"), Bellatores ("those who fight"), and Laboratores ("those who work").
Representation of the Three Estates under the lordship of Jesus Christ. They are labeled "Tu supplex ora" (you pray), "Tu protege" (you protect), "Tuque labora" (and you work).

The monarchy included the king and the queen, while the system was made up of clergy (the First Estate), nobles (Second Estate), peasants and bourgeoisie (Third Estate).