In the eighteenth century the ultimate social aspiration was “nobility.” For nobility symbolized a whole set of virtues and achievements. Bearing the stamp of a knightly and chivalric tradition, this hereditary elite claimed a special status by right of the illustrious acts of its ancestors. And for those whose genealogies would not produce a crusader or a Renaissance captain, there might still be a more recent chancellor, a high magistrate, or even, if necessary, a town notable, mayor, or échevin. Despite internal jealousies, nobilities of sword, robe, and town hall were increasingly bound by common interests and even common blood.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Beautiful Woman Grand Tour Noble Family Wealthy Merchant
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- 1.See C. E. Mingay, English Landed Society in the Eighteenth Century (London and Toronto, 1963), p. 26ff.Google Scholar
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