Overview

nobility


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

The term was originally applied to all ranks above commoners, so as to include earls, barons, knights, and esquires. The establishment of the House of Lords created a clear distinction between the hereditary nobility (the peerage) and lower ranks, but in the 17th century the gentry were still thought of as noble. By the 19th century the exclusion of the gentry from the nobility led to the use of the inclusive term aristocracy.

Subjects: History — Literature.


Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.