Nobility is a social class ranked under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society; the privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be honorary, vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", nobles can carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is hereditary. Membership in the nobility has been granted by a monarch or government, unlike other social classes where membership is determined by wealth, lifestyle, or affiliation. Nonetheless, acquisition of sufficient power, military prowess, or royal favour has enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility. There are a variety of ranks within the noble class.
Legal recognition of nobility has been more common in monarchies, but nobility existed in such regimes as the Dutch Republic, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Old Swiss Confederacy, remains part of the legal social structure of some non-hereditary regimes, e.g. Channel Islands, San Marino, the Vatican City in Europe. Hereditary titles and styles added to names, as well as honorifics distinguish nobles from non-nobles in conversation and written speech. In many nations most of the nobility have been un-titled, some hereditary titles do not indicate nobility; some countries have had non-hereditary nobility, such as the Empire of Brazil or life peers in the United Kingdom. The term derives from the abstract noun of the adjective nobilis. In ancient Roman society, nobiles originated as an informal designation for the political governing class who had allied interests, including both patricians and plebeian families with an ancestor who had risen to the consulship through his own merit.
In modern usage, "nobility" is applied to the highest social class in pre-modern societies, excepting the ruling dynasty. In the feudal system, the nobility were those who held a fief land or office, under vassalage, i.e. in exchange for allegiance and various military, services to a suzerain, who might be a higher-ranking nobleman or a monarch. It came to be seen as a hereditary caste, sometimes associated with a right to bear a hereditary title and, for example in pre-revolutionary France, enjoying fiscal and other privileges. While noble status conferred significant privileges in most jurisdictions, by the 21st century it had become a honorary dignity in most societies, although a few, residual privileges may still be preserved and some Asian and African cultures continue to attach considerable significance to formal hereditary rank or titles. Nobility is a historical and legal notion, differing from high socio-economic status in that the latter is based on income, possessions or lifestyle.
Being wealthy or influential cannot ipso facto make one noble, nor are all nobles wealthy or influential. Various republics, including former Iron Curtain countries, Greece and Austria have expressly abolished the conferral and use of titles of nobility for their citizens; this is distinct from countries which have not abolished the right to inherit titles, but which do not grant legal recognition or protection to them, such as Germany and Italy, although Germany recognizes their use as part of the legal surname. Still other countries and authorities allow their use, but forbid attachment of any privilege thereto, e.g. Finland and the European Union, while French law protects lawful titles against usurpation. Although many societies have a privileged upper class with substantial wealth and power, the status is not hereditary and does not entail a distinct legal status, nor differentiated forms of address. Not all of the benefits of nobility derived from noble status per se. Privileges were granted or recognised by the monarch in association with possession of a specific title, office or estate.
Most nobles' wealth derived from one or more estates, large or small, that might include fields, orchards, hunting grounds, etc. It included infrastructure such as castle and mill to which local peasants were allowed some access, although at a price. Nobles were expected to live "nobly", that is, from the proceeds of these possessions. Work involving manual labour or subordination to those of lower rank was either forbidden or frowned upon socially. On the other hand, membership in the nobility was a prerequisite for holding offices of trust in the realm and for career promotion in the military, at court and the higher functions in the government and church. Prior to the French Revolution, European nobles commanded tribute in the form of entitlement to cash rents or usage taxes, labour or a portion of the annual crop yield from commoners or no
David I of Scotland
David I or Dauíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler, Prince of the Cumbrians from 1113 to 1124 and King of the Scots from 1124 to 1153. The youngest son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex, David spent most of his childhood in Scotland, but was exiled to England temporarily in 1093. After 1100, he became a dependent at the court of King Henry I. There he was influenced by the Anglo-French culture of the court; when David's brother Alexander I died in 1124, David chose, with the backing of Henry I, to take the Kingdom of Scotland for himself. He was forced to engage in warfare against Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair. Subduing the latter seems to have taken David ten years, a struggle that involved the destruction of Óengus, Mormaer of Moray. David's victory allowed expansion of control over more distant regions theoretically part of his Kingdom. After the death of his former patron Henry I, David supported the claims of Henry's daughter and his own niece, Empress Matilda, to the throne of England.
In the process, he came into conflict with King Stephen and was able to expand his power in northern England, despite his defeat at the Battle of the Standard in 1138. The term "Davidian Revolution" is used by many scholars to summarise the changes which took place in Scotland during his reign; these included his foundation of burghs and regional markets, implementation of the ideals of Gregorian Reform, foundation of monasteries, Normanisation of the Scottish government, the introduction of feudalism through immigrant French and Anglo-French knights. The early years of David I are the most obscure of his life; as there is little documented evidence, historians can only guess at most of David's activities in this period. David was born on a date unknown in 1084 in Scotland, he was the eighth son of King Malcolm III, the sixth and youngest born by Malcolm's second wife, Margaret of Wessex. He was the grandson of the ill-fated King Duncan I. In 1093 King Máel Coluim and David's brother Edward were killed at the River Aln during an invasion of Northumberland.
David and his two brothers Alexander and Edgar, both future kings of Scotland, were present when their mother died shortly afterwards. According to medieval tradition, the three brothers were in Edinburgh when they were besieged by their paternal uncle Donald. Donald became King of Scotland, it is not certain what happened next, but an insertion in the Chronicle of Melrose states that Donald forced his three nephews into exile, although he was allied with another of his nephews, Edmund. John of Fordun wrote, centuries that an escort into England was arranged for them by their maternal uncle Edgar Ætheling. William Rufus, King of England, opposed Donald's accession to the northerly kingdom, he sent the eldest son of David's half-brother Duncan, into Scotland with an army. Duncan was killed within the year, so in 1097 William sent Donnchad's half-brother Edgar into Scotland; the latter was more successful, was crowned King by the end of 1097. During the power struggle of 1093–97, David was in England.
In 1093, he may have been about nine years old. From 1093 until 1103 David's presence cannot be accounted for in detail, but he appears to have been in Scotland for the remainder of the 1090s; when William Rufus was killed, his brother Henry Beauclerc seized power and married David's sister, Matilda. The marriage made David the brother-in-law of the ruler of England. From that point onwards, David was an important figure at the English court. Despite his Gaelic background, by the end of his stay in England, David had become a full-fledged Normanised prince. William of Malmesbury wrote that it was in this period that David "rubbed off all tarnish of Scottish barbarity through being polished by intercourse and friendship with us". David's time as Prince of the Cumbrians and Earl marks the beginning of his life as a great territorial lord, his earldom began in 1113, when Henry I arranged David's marriage to Maud, 2nd Countess of Huntingdon, the heiress to the Huntingdon–Northampton lordship. As her husband, David used the title of earl, there was the prospect that David's children by her would inherit all the honours borne by Matilda's father Waltheof.
1113 is the year when David, for the first time, can be found in possession of territory in what is now Scotland. David's brother, King Edgar, had visited William Rufus in May 1099 and bequeathed to David extensive territory to the south of the river Forth. On 8 January 1107, Edgar died, his younger brother Alexander took the throne. It has been assumed that David took control of his inheritance – the southern lands bequeathed by Edgar – soon after the latter's death. However, it cannot be shown that he possessed his inheritance until his foundation of Selkirk Abbey late in 1113. According to Richard Oram, it was only in 1113, when Henry returned to England from Normandy, that David was at last in a position to claim his inheritance in southern "Scotland". King Henry's backing seems to have been enough to force King Alexander to recognise his younger brother's claims; this occurred without bloodshed, but through threat of force nonetheless. David's aggression seems to have inspired resentment amongst some native Scots.
A Middle Gaelic quatrain from this period complains that: If "divided from" is anything to go by, this quatrain may have been written in David's new territories in southern Scotland. The lands in question consisted of the pre-1975 counties of Roxburghshire, Berwickshire and Lanarkshire. David, gained the title princeps Cumbrensis, "Prince of the Cumbrians", as attested in David's charters from this era. Although this was a large slice o
House of Knýtlinga
The Danish House of Knýtlinga was a ruling royal house in Middle Age Scandinavia and England. Its most famous king was Cnut the Great. Other notable members were Cnut's father Sweyn Forkbeard, grandfather Harald Bluetooth, sons Harthacnut, Harold Harefoot, Svein Knutsson, it has been called the House of Canute, the House of Denmark, the House of Gorm, or the Jelling dynasty. In 1018 AD the House of Knýtlinga brought the crowns of Denmark and England together under a personal union. At the height of its power, in the years 1028–1030, the House reigned over Denmark and Norway. After the death of Cnut the Great's heirs within a decade of his own death and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the legacy of the Knýtlinga was lost to history; the House of Knýtlinga ruled the Kingdom of England from 1013 to 1014 and from 1016 to 1042. In 1013 Sweyn Forkbeard the king of Denmark and of Norway, overthrew King Æthelred the Unready of the House of Wessex. Sweyn had first invaded England in 1003 to avenge the death of his sister Gunhilde and many other Danes in the St. Brice's Day massacre, ordered by Æthelred in 1002.
Sweyn died in 1014 and Æthelred was restored. However, in 1015 Sweyn's son, Cnut the Great, invaded England. After Æthelred died in April 1016, his son Edmund Ironside became king, but was forced to surrender half of England to Cnut. After Edmund died in November that same year, Cnut became king of all England. Although Cnut was married to Ælfgifu of Northampton, he married Æthelred's widow, Emma of Normandy, he ruled until his death in 1035. After his death another of Æthelred's sons, Alfred Aetheling, tried to retake the English throne, but he was betrayed and captured by Godwin, Earl of Wessex, who supported Cnut's son, Harold Harefoot. Alfred was blinded, died soon after. Harold ruled until 1040. Harold shared England with his half brother Harthacnut, the son of Cnut and Emma. Harold ruled in Mercia and Northumbria, Harthacnut ruled in Wessex; however Harthacnut was king of Denmark, spent most of his time there, so that Harold was sole ruler of England. Harthacnut succeeded Harold as king of England.
He died two years and his half-brother Edward the Confessor became king. Edward was the son of Æthelred and Emma, so with his succession to the throne the House of Wessex was restored. Edward the Confessor ruled until 1066, his brother in law, Harold Godwinson—the son of Alfred's betrayer—became king, provoking the Norman conquest of England in the same year. Harold II was the last Anglo-Saxon king to rule over England; the Normans were descended from Vikings who had settled in Normandy, although they had adopted the French language, their heritage and self-image were Viking. In this manner, the Vikings finally conquered and kept England after all. In 1085–86 King Cnut IV of Denmark planned one last Danish invasion of England, but he was assassinated by Danish rebels before he could carry it out; this was the last time the Vikings attempted to attack Western Europe, Cnut's death is regarded as the end of the Viking Age. Sweyn Forkbeard, 1013–14 Cnut, 1016–1035 Harold Harefoot, 1035–40 Harthacnut, 1040–42 Emma of Normandy Ælfgifu of Northampton The parentage of Strut-Harald and Gunnhild Konungamóðir is disputed.
The existence of Gunhild of Wenden and Sigrid the Haughty is disputed, some details of their lives can be exchanged to each other or associated to another figures. Knýtlinga saga Danelaw Guthrum Ragnar Lodbrok Ivar the Boneless Eric Bloodaxe Harald III of Norway Sweyn II of Denmark List of English monarchs Sweyn on the official website of the British Monarchy Cnut on the official website of the British Monarchy Harold on the official website of the British Monarchy Harthacnut on the official website of the British Monarchy
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England, it suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.
The Crown was the most important element of government. The Scottish monarchy in the Middle Ages was a itinerant institution, before Edinburgh developed as a capital city in the second half of the 15th century; the Crown remained at the centre of political life and in the 16th century emerged as a major centre of display and artistic patronage, until it was dissolved with the Union of Crowns in 1603. The Scottish Crown adopted the conventional offices of western European monarchical states of the time and developed a Privy Council and great offices of state. Parliament emerged as a major legal institution, gaining an oversight of taxation and policy, but was never as central to the national life. In the early period, the kings of the Scots depended on the great lords—the mormaers and toísechs—but from the reign of David I, sheriffdoms were introduced, which allowed more direct control and limited the power of the major lordships. In the 17th century, the creation of Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Supply helped to increase the effectiveness of local government.
The continued existence of courts baron and the introduction of kirk sessions helped consolidate the power of local lairds. Scots law was reformed and codified in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under James IV the legal functions of the council were rationalised, with Court of Session meeting daily in Edinburgh. In 1532, the College of Justice was founded, leading to the training and professionalisation of lawyers. David I is the first Scottish king known to have produced his own coinage. At the union of the Crowns in 1603 the Pound Scots was fixed at only one-twelfth the value of the English pound; the Bank of Scotland issued pound notes from 1704. Scottish currency was abolished by the Act of Union, however to the present day, Scotland retains unique banknotes. Geographically, Scotland is divided between the Lowlands; the Highlands had a short growing season, further shortened during the Little Ice Age. From Scotland's foundation to the inception of the Black Death, the population had grown to a million.
It expanded in the first half of the 16th century, reaching 1.2 million by the 1690s. Significant languages in the medieval kingdom included Gaelic, Old English and French. Christianity was introduced into Scotland from the 6th century. In the Norman period the Scottish church underwent a series of changes that led to new monastic orders and organisation. During the 16th century, Scotland underwent a Protestant Reformation that created a predominately Calvinist national kirk. There were a series of religious controversies that resulted in persecutions; the Scottish Crown developed naval forces at various points in its history, but relied on privateers and fought a guerre de course. Land forces centred around the large common army, but adopted European innovations from the 16th century. From the 5th century AD, north Britain was divided into a series of petty kingdoms. Of these, the four most important were those of the Picts in the north-east, the Scots of Dál Riata in the west, the Britons of Strathclyde in the south-west and the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia in the south-east, stretching into modern northern England.
In AD 793, ferocious Viking raids began on monasteries such as those at Iona and Lindisfarne, creating fear and confusion across the kingdoms of north Britain. Orkney and the Western Isles fell to the Norsemen; these threats may have speeded up a long-term process of gaelicisation of the Pictish kingdoms, which adopted Gaelic language and customs. There was a merger of the Gaelic and Pictish kingdoms, although historians debate whether it was a Pictish takeover of Dál Riata, or the other way round; this culminated in the rise of Cínaed mac Ailpín as "king of the Picts" in the 840s, which brought to power the House of Alpin. When he died as king of the combined kingdom in 900 one of his successors, Domnall II, was the first man to be called rí Alban; the term Scotia would be used to describe the heartland of these kings, north of the River Forth, the entire area controlled by its kings would be referred to as Scotland. The long reign of Donald's successor Causantín is regarded as the key to formation of the Kingdom of Alba/Scotland, he was la
House of Oldenburg
The House of Oldenburg is a European dynasty of North German origin. It is one of Europe's most influential royal houses, with branches that rule or have ruled in Denmark, Greece, Russia, Schleswig and Oldenburg; the current Queen of Denmark and King of Norway, the former King of Greece, the consort of the monarch of the United Kingdom, as well as the first thirteen persons in the line of succession to the British throne, are all patrilineal members of the Glücksburg branch of this house. The dynasty rose to prominence when Count Christian I of Oldenburg was elected as King of Denmark in 1448, of Norway in 1450 and of Sweden in 1457; the house has occupied the Danish throne since. Marriages of medieval counts of Oldenburg had paved the way for their heirs to become kings of various Scandinavian kingdoms. Through marriage with a descendant of King Valdemar I of Sweden and of King Eric IV of Denmark, a claim to Sweden and Denmark was staked, since 1350. At that time, its competitors were the successors of Margaret I of Denmark.
In the 15th century, the Oldenburg heir of that claim married Hedwig of Schauenburg, a descendant of Euphemia of Sweden and Norway and a descendant of Eric V of Denmark and Abel of Denmark. Since descendants better situated in genealogical charts died out, their son Christian became the king of all three kingdoms of the whole Kalmar Union; the House of Mecklenburg was its chief competitor regarding the Northern thrones, other aspirants included the Duke of Lauenburg. Different Oldenburgine branches have reigned in several countries; the House of Oldenburg was poised to claim the British thrones through the marriage of Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark and Norway. Kings of Denmark Kings of Norway Kings of Sweden Counts of Oldenburg Dukes of Schleswig and Counts of Holstein Dukes of Schleswig and Holstein, ruling only part of the Duchies Dukes of Schleswig Dukes of Holstein Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, extinct in male line in 1931 Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein Kings of Denmark King of Iceland Kings of the Hellenes Mountbatten-Windsor line: although Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, his children and his sons' children are patrilineally descended from this branch, his male-line descendants bearing the style of "Royal Highness" are de jure members of the House of Windsor, by declaration of the British monarch.
Kings of Norway Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp Emperors of Russia Holstein-Gottorp, extinct Kings of Sweden King of Norway Holstein-Gottorp Dukes of Oldenburg Media related to House of Oldenburg at Wikimedia Commons Marek, The House of Oldenburg, Genealogy. EU
Competitors for the Crown of Scotland
When the crown of Scotland became vacant in September 1290 on the death of the child monarch Margaret, the Maid of Norway, a total of thirteen claimants to the throne came forward. Those with the most credible claims were John Balliol, Robert Bruce, John Hastings and Floris V, Count of Holland. Fearing civil war, the Guardians of Scotland asked Edward I of England to arbitrate. Before agreeing, Edward obtained concessions going some way to revive English overlordship over the Scots. A commission of 104 "auditors" was appointed: 24 were appointed by Edward himself acting as president, the remainder by Bruce and Balliol in equal numbers. In November 1292 this body decided in favour of John Balliol, whose claim was based on the traditional criterion of primogeniture—inheritance through a line of firstborn sons; the decision was accepted by the majority of the powerful in Scotland, John ruled as King of Scots from until 1296. With the death of King Alexander III in 1286, the crown of Scotland passed to his only surviving descendant, his three-year-old granddaughter Margaret.
In 1290, the Guardians of Scotland, appointed to govern the realm during the young Queen's minority, drew up the Treaty of Birgham, a marriage contract between Margaret and the five-year-old Edward of Caernarvon, heir apparent to the English throne. The treaty, amongst other points, contained the provision that although the issue of this marriage would inherit the crowns of both England and Scotland, the latter kingdom should be "separate and free in itself without subjection to the English Kingdom"; the intent was to keep Scotland as an independent entity. Margaret died on 26 September 1290 in Orkney on her way to Scotland; the Guardians called upon her fiancé's father, Edward I of England, to conduct a court in which 104 auditors would choose from among the various competitors for the Scottish throne in a process known as the Great Cause. One of the strongest claimants, John Balliol, Lord of Galloway, forged an alliance with the powerful Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, the representative of Edward I in Scotland and began styling himself'heir of Scotland', while another, Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, turned up to the site of Margaret's supposed inauguration with a force of soldiers amidst rumours that his friends the Earl of Mar and the Earl of Atholl were raising their forces.
Scotland looked to be headed for civil war. To avoid the catastrophe of open warfare between the Bruce and Balliol, the Guardians and other Scots magnates asked Edward I to intervene. Edward seized the occasion as an opportunity to gain something he had long desired—legal recognition that the realm of Scotland was held as a feudal dependency to the throne of England; the English kings had a long history of presuming an overlordship of Scotland, harking back to the late 12th century when Scotland had been a vassal state of England for 15 years from 1174 until the Quitclaim of Canterbury, but the legality of the 13th century claim was questionable. Alexander III, giving homage to Edward, had chosen his words carefully: "I become your man for the lands I hold of you in the Kingdom of England for which I owe homage, saving my Kingdom". In line with this desire, Edward demanded in May 1291 that his claim of feudal overlordship of Scotland be recognised before he would step in and act as arbiter.
He demanded that the Scots produce evidence to show that he was not the lawful overlord, rather than presenting them with evidence that he was. The Scots' reply came that without a king there was no one in the realm responsible enough to make such an admission, so any assurances given by the Scots were worthless. Although technically and correct by the standards of the time, this reply infuriated Edward enough that he refused to have it entered on the official record of the proceedings; the Guardians and the claimants still needed Edward's help, he did manage to press them into accepting a number of lesser though still important terms. The majority of the competitors and the Guardians did step forward to acknowledge Edward as their rightful overlord though they could not be taken as speaking for the realm as a whole, they agreed to put Edward in temporary control of the principal royal castles of Scotland despite the castles in question not being theirs to give away. For his part, Edward agreed that he would return control of both kingdom and castles to the successful claimant within two months.
In the ongoing negotiations between the two countries, the Scots continued to use the Treaty of Birgham as a reference point, indicating that they still wished to see Scotland retain an independent identity from England. Having got these concessions, Edward arranged for a court to be set up to decide which of the claimants should inherit the throne, it consisted of 104 auditors plus Edward himself as president. Edward chose 24 of the auditors while the two claimants with the strongest cases—Bruce and Balliol—were allowed to appoint forty each; when Margaret died, there were no close relatives to whom the succession might pass in a smooth and clear manner. Her nearest relatives derived through legitimate descent from prior kings were the descendants of Margaret's great-great-great-grandfather, the son of king David I of Scotland, though there were noblemen descended from illegitimate daughters of more recent Scottish kings who made claims. Thirteen nobles put themselves forward as candidates for the throne: John Balliol, Lord of Galloway, son of Devorguilla, daughter of Margaret, eldest daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon, son of Henry, Earl of H