Electorate of Mainz
The Electorate of Mainz known in English as Mentz and by its French name Mayence, was one of the most prestigious and influential states of the Holy Roman Empire. In the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz was the Primate of Germany, a purely honorary dignity, unsuccessfully claimed from time to time by other archbishops. There were only two other ecclesiastical Prince-electors in the Empire: the Electorate of Cologne and the Electorate of Trier; the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz was archchancellor of Germany and, as such, ranked first among all ecclesiastical and secular princes of the Empire, was second only to the Emperor. His political role as an intermediary between the Estates of the Empire and the Emperor, was considerable; the episcopal see was established in ancient Roman times in the city of Mainz, a Roman provincial capital, Moguntiacum. The first bishops before the 4th century have legendary names, beginning with Crescens; the first verifiable Bishop of Mainz was Martinus in 343.
The ecclesiastical and secular importance of Mainz dates from the accession of St. Boniface to the see in 747. Boniface was an archbishop though without an assigned see, but that ecclesiastical status did not devolve upon the see itself until his successor Lullus. Another early bishop of Mainz was Aureus of Mainz; the territory of the Electorate included several non-contiguous blocks of territory: lands near Mainz on both the left and right banks of the Rhine. As was the case in the Holy Roman Empire, the territory of a prince-bishopric or archbishopric differed from that of the corresponding diocese or archdiocese, the purely spiritual jurisdiction of the prince-bishop or archbishop. During the early modern age, the archdiocese of Mainz was the largest ecclesiastical province of Germany, covering Mainz and 10 suffragant dioceses. In 1802, Mainz lost its archiepiscopal character. In the secularizations that accompanied the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803, the seat of the elector, Karl Theodor von Dalberg, was moved to Regensburg, the electorate lost its left bank territories to France, its right bank areas along the Main below Frankfurt to Hesse-Darmstadt and the Nassau princes, Eichsfeld and Erfurt to the Kingdom of Prussia.
Dalberg retained the Aschaffenburg area as the Principality of Aschaffenburg. In 1810 Dalberg merged Aschaffenburg, Wetzlar and Fulda, to form the new Grand Duchy of Frankfurt in 1810. Dalberg resigned in 1813 and in 1815 the Congress of Vienna divided his territories between the Kingdom of Bavaria, the Electorate of Hesse-Kassel, the Grand Duchy of Hesse and the Free City of Frankfurt; the modern Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz was founded in 1802 when Mainz lost its archdiocese status and its territory west of the Rhine River became a mere diocese within the territory of France. In 1814 its jurisdiction was extended over the territory of Hesse-Darmstadt. Since it has had two cardinals and via various concordats was allowed to retain the medieval tradition of the cathedral chapter electing a successor to the bishop. Elector of Mainz Mainz Cathedral Primas Germaniae Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz Official website of the modern Diocese Map of the Archbishopric of Mainz in 1789
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV became King of the Germans in 1056. From 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105, he was referred to as the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor, he was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century. His reign was marked by the Investiture Controversy with the Papacy, he was excommunicated five times by three different popes. Civil wars over his throne took place in both Germany, he died soon after defeating his son's army near Visé, in Lorraine, France. In 1056 at Aachen, Henry IV was enthroned as the King of the Germans by Pope Victor II, while his mother, Agnes of Poitou, became regent. In 1062 the young king was kidnapped as a result of the Coup of Kaiserswerth, a conspiracy of German nobles led by Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne. Henry, at Kaiserwerth, was persuaded to board a boat on the Rhine. Agnes retired to a convent, the government was placed in the hands of Anno, his first action was to back Pope Alexander II against the antipope Honorius II, whom Agnes had recognized but subsequently left without support.
Anno's rule proved unpopular. The education and training of Henry were supervised by Anno, called his magister, while Adalbert of Hamburg, archbishop of Bremen, was styled Henry's patronus. Henry's education seems to have been neglected, his willful and headstrong nature developed under the conditions of these early years; the malleable Adalbert of Hamburg soon became the confidante of the ruthless Henry. During an absence of Anno from Germany, Henry managed to obtain control of his civil duties, leaving Anno with only an ecclesiastical role. Henry's entire reign was marked by apparent efforts to consolidate Imperial power. In reality, however, he worked to maintain the loyalty of the nobility and the support of the pope. In 1066, he expelled from the Crown Council Adalbert of Hamburg, who had profited from his position for personal enrichment. Henry adopted urgent military measures against the Slav pagans, who had invaded Germany and besieged Hamburg. In June 1066 Henry married Bertha of Savoy/Turin, daughter of Otto, Count of Savoy, to whom he had been betrothed in 1055.
In the same year, at the request of the Pope, he assembled an army to fight the Italo-Normans of southern Italy. Henry's troops had reached Augsburg when he received news that Godfrey of Tuscany, husband of the powerful Matilda of Canossa, marchioness of Tuscany, had attacked the Normans. Therefore, the expedition was halted. In 1068, driven by his impetuous character and his infidelities, Henry attempted to divorce Bertha, his peroration at a council in Mainz was rejected, however, by the Papal legate Pier Damiani, or Peter Damian, who hinted that any further insistence towards divorce would lead the new pope, Alexander II, to deny his coronation. Henry obeyed and his wife returned to Court. Henry believed that the Papal opposition was less about his marriage than about overthrowing lay power within the Empire, in favour of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. In the late 1060s, Henry demonstrated his determination to reduce any opposition and to enlarge the empire's boundaries, he led the margrave of a district east of Saxony.
Much more serious was Henry's struggle with Otto of duke of Bavaria. This prince, who occupied an influential position in Germany and was one of the protagonists of Henry's early kidnapping, was accused in 1070 by a certain Egino of being privy to a plot to murder the king, it was decided that a trial by combat should take place at Goslar, but when Otto's demand for safe conduct to and from the place of meeting was refused, he declined to appear. He was declared deposed in Bavaria, his Saxon estates were plundered. However, he obtained sufficient support to carry on a struggle with the king in Saxony and Thuringia until 1071, when he submitted at Halberstadt. Henry aroused the hostility of the Thuringians by supporting Siegfried, archbishop of Mainz, in his efforts to exact tithes from them. More formidable still was the enmity of the Saxons, who had several causes of complaint against the king—he was the son of one enemy, Henry III, the friend of another, Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen; the momentum for a reform of the church had its clear beginning during the reign of Henry's father, in the short but effective pontificate of Leo IX, whom Henry III had nominated.
Since that time, the reforming initiative had been carried on by men like Cardinal Bishop Humbert of Moyenmoutier and St. Peter Damian. After the death of Cardinal Humbert, who had called for a return to the old canonical principles of free election of the papacy and the emancipation of the Church from the control of the secular power, the leadership of the reform movement passed to younger men, of whom the Tuscan monk Hildebrand, a follower of Humbert, stood foremost. Hildebrand ascended the papacy in 1073 as Gregory VII. While Henry adhered to Papal decrees in religious matters to secure the Church's support for his expeditions in Saxony and Thuringia, Gregory saw the opportunity to press the Church's agenda; the high tensions between the Empire and the Church culminated in the ecclesiastical councils of 1074-75, many of the measures passed attempted to undo substantial portions of Henry III's policies. Among other measures, the councils denied secular rulers the right to place members of the clergy in any ecclesiastical office.
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries. From an autocracy in Carolingian times the title by the 13th century evolved into an elected monarchy chosen by the prince-electors. Various royal houses of Europe, at different times, became de-facto hereditary holders of the title, notably the Ottonians and the Salians. Following the late medieval crisis of government, the Habsburgs kept possession of the title without interruption from 1440–1740; the final emperors were from the House of Lorraine, from 1765–1806. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved after the defeat at Austerlitz by emperor Francis II, who continued to rule as Austrian emperor; the Holy Roman Emperor was perceived to rule by divine right, though he contradicted or rivaled the Pope, most notably during the Investiture controversy. In theory, the Holy Roman Emperor was primus inter pares among other Catholic monarchs.
In practice, a Holy Roman Emperor was only as strong as his army and alliances, including marriage alliances, made him. There was never a Holy Roman Empress regnant, though women such as Theophanu and Maria Theresa of Austria served as de facto Empresses regnant. Throughout its history, the position was viewed as a defender of the Roman Catholic faith; until the Reformation, the Emperor elect was required to be crowned by the Pope before assuming the imperial title. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was the last to be crowned by the Pope in 1530. After the Reformation, the elected Emperor always was a Roman Catholic. There were short periods in history when the electoral college was dominated by Protestants, the electors voted in their own political interest. From the time of Constantine I, the Roman emperors had, with few exceptions, taken on a role as promoters and defenders of Christianity; the reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor in the Church.
Emperors considered themselves responsible to the gods for the spiritual health of their subjects, after Constantine they had a duty to help the Church define orthodoxy and maintain orthodoxy. The emperor's role was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, uphold ecclesiastical unity. Both the title and connection between Emperor and Church continued in the Eastern Roman Empire throughout the medieval period; the ecumenical councils of the 5th to 8th centuries were convoked by the Eastern Roman Emperors. In Western Europe, the title of Emperor became defunct after the death of Julius Nepos in 480, although the rulers of the barbarian kingdoms continued to recognize the Eastern Emperor at least nominally well into the 6th century. From the western perspective, the interregnum in the Roman Empire spanned the 8th centuries; the title of Emperor was revived in 800, when Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III. The title of Emperor in the West implied recognition by the pope; as the power of the papacy grew during the Middle Ages and emperors came into conflict over church administration.
The best-known and most bitter conflict was that known as the investiture controversy, fought during the 11th century between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII. After the coronation of Charlemagne, his successors maintained the title until the death of Berengar I of Italy in 924; the comparatively brief interregnum between 924 and the coronation of Otto the Great in 962 is taken as marking the transition from the Frankish Empire to the Holy Roman Empire. Under the Ottonians, much of the former Carolingian kingdom of Eastern Francia fell within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire. Since 911, the various German princes had elected the King of the Germans from among their peers; the King of the Germans would be crowned as emperor following the precedent set by Charlemagne, during the period of 962–1530. Charles V was the last emperor to be crowned by the pope, his successor, Ferdinand I adopted the title of "Emperor elect" in 1558; the final Holy Roman Emperor-elect, Francis II, abdicated in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars that saw the Empire's final dissolution.
The term sacrum in connection with the German Roman Empire was first used in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa. The standard designation of the Holy Roman Emperor was "August Emperor of the Romans"; when Charlemagne was crowned in 800, he was styled as "most serene Augustus, crowned by God and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire," thus constituting the elements of "Holy" and "Roman" in the imperial title. The word Roman was a reflection of the principle of translatio imperii that regarded the Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, despite the continued existence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In German-language historiography, the term Römisch-deutscher Kaiser is used to distinguish the title from that of Roman Emperor on one hand, that of German Emperor on the other; the English term "Holy Roman Emperor" is a modern shorthand for "emperor of the Holy Roman Empire" not corresponding to the historical style or title, i.e. the adjective "holy" is not intended as modifying "emperor".
Pope Alexander II
Pope Alexander II, born Anselm of Baggio, was pope from 30 September 1061 to his death in 1073. Born in Milan, Anselm was involved in the Pataria reform movement. Elected according to the terms of his predecessor's bull, In nomine Domini, Anselm's was the first election by the cardinals without the participation of the people and minor clergy of Rome. Anselm was born in a town near Milan from 1923 district of the city, of a noble family. Contemporary sources do not provide any information, it was traditionally believed that Anselm de Baggio studied under Lanfranc at Bec Abbey, modern historiography rejects such possibility. He was one of the founders of the Pataria, a movement in the Archdiocese of Milan, aimed at reforming the clergy and ecclesiastic government in the province and supportive of Papal sanctions against simony and clerical marriage, they contested the ancient rights of the cathedral clergy of Milan and supported the Gregorian reforms. Anselm was one of four "upright and honest" priests suggested to succeed Ariberto da Intimiano as prince bishop of Milan.
When Emperor Henry III chose instead the more worldly Guido da Velate, protests followed. In order to silence a vocal critic, Bishop Guido sent Anselm to the Imperial Court; the emperor named Anselm bishop of Lucca. As bishop, he was an energetic coadjutor with Hildebrand of Sovana in endeavouring to suppress simony and enforce clerical celibacy. So bad was the state of things at Milan, that benefices were bought and sold, the clergy publicly married the women with whom they lived. With the increased prestige of his office, he reappeared twice in Milan as legate of the Holy See, in 1057 in the company of Hildebrand, in 1059 with Peter Damian. In the papal election of 1061 following the death of Pope Nicholas II, Anselmo de Baggio of Lucca was elected as Pope Alexander II. Unlike previous papal elections, the assent of the Holy Roman Emperor to the election was not sought, cardinal bishops were the sole electors of the pope for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church; the bull removed the control held by the Roman metropolitan church over the election of the pontiff.
The new Pope Alexander II was crowned at nightfall on October 1, 1061 in San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica, because opposition to the election made a coronation in St. Peter's Basilica impossible, the German court nominated another candidate, bishop of Parma, proclaimed Pope at the council of Basel under the name of Honorius II, he marched for a long time threatened his rival's position. At length, Honorius was deposed by a council held at Mantua. In 1065, Pope Alexander II wrote to Béranger, Viscount of Narbonne, to Guifred, bishop of the city, praising them for having prevented the massacre of the Jews in their district, reminding them that God does not approve of the shedding of innocent blood; that same year, he admonished Landulf VI of Benevento "that the conversion of Jews is not to be obtained by force." In the same year, Alexander called for the Crusade of Barbastro against the Moors in Spain. Alexander II issued orders to the Bishops of Narbonne, instructing crusaders en route "that you protect the Jews who live among you, so that they may not be killed by those who are setting out for Spain against the Saracens... for the situation of the Jews is different from that of the Saracens.
One may justly fight against those who persecute Christians and drive them from their towns and their own homes." In 1066, he entertained an embassy from William, Duke of Normandy, after his successful invasion of Brittany. The embassy had been sent to obtain his blessing for William's prospective invasion of Anglo-Saxon England. Alexander gave it, along with a papal ring, the Standard of St. George, an edict to the autonomous Old English clergy guiding them to submit to the new regime; these favors were instrumental in the submission of the English church following the Battle of Hastings. Count Eustace carried his papal insignia, a gonfanon with three tails charged with a cross, which William of Poitiers says was given to William I to signify the pope's blessing of his invasion to secure a submission to Rome. Alexander elevated his former teacher, Lanfranc of Bec, to the See of Canterbury and appointed him Primate of England. In 1068, Emperor Henry IV attempted to divorce Bertha of Savoy; the Papal legate Peter Damian hinted that any further insistence towards divorce would lead the Pope to deny his coronation.
Henry obeyed and his wife, who had retired to Lorsch Abbey returned to Court. In 1072 Alexander commanded the reluctant Polish priest Stanislaus of Szczepanów to accept appointment as Bishop of Kraków - becoming one of the earliest native Polish bishops; this turned out to be a significant decision for the Polish Church: once appointed, Stanislaus was a assertive bishop who got into conflict with Polish king Bolesław II the Bold, was assassinated by him and was canonized and venerated as a major Polish saint. Alexander II oversaw the suppression of the "Alleluia" during the Latin Church's celebration of Lent; this is followed to this day. List of Catholic saints List of papal elections List of popes This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Pope Alexander II". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Ro
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Fulda Abbey, or the Princely Abbey of Fulda, or the Imperial Abbey of Fulda was a Benedictine abbey as well as an ecclesiastical principality centered on Fulda, in the present-day German state of Hesse. It was founded in 744 by a disciple of Saint Boniface. Through the 8th and 9th centuries, Fulda Abbey became a prominent center of learning and culture in Germany, a site of religious significance and pilgrimage following the burial of Boniface; the growth in population around Fulda would result in its elevation to a prince-bishopric in the second half of the 18th century. In the mid-8th century, Saint Boniface commissioned Saint Sturmi to establish a larger church than any other founded by Boniface. In January 744, Saint Sturmi selected an unpopulated plot along the Fulda River, shortly after obtained rights to the land; the foundation of the monastery dates to March 12, 744. Sturmi travelled to notable monasteries of Italy, such as that of Monte Cassino, for inspiration in creating a monastery of such grand size and splendor.
Boniface was proud of Fulda, he would obtain autonomy for the monastery from the bishops of the area by appealing to Pope Zachary for placement directly under the Holy See in 751. Boniface would be entombed at Fulda following his martyrdom in 754 in Frisia, as per his request, creating a destination for pilgrimage in Germany and increasing its holy significance. Saint Sturmi would be named the first abbot of the newly established monastery, would lead Fulda through a period of rapid growth; the monks of Fulda practiced many specialized trades, much production took place in the monastery. Production of manuscripts increased the size of the library of Fulda, while skilled craftsmen produced many goods that would make monastery a financially wealthy establishment; as Fulda grew, members of the monastery would move from the main building and establish villages in the outlying territories to connect with non-monastery members. They would establish themselves based on trade and agriculture, while still remaining connected to the monastery.
Together, the monks of Fulda would create a substantial library, financially stable production, an effective centre for education. In 774, Charlemagne placed Fulda under his direct control to ensure its continued success. Fulda was becoming an important cultural center to the Carolingian Empire, Charlemagne hoped to ensure the continued salvation of his population through the religious activity of Fulda. A notable work that the monks of Fulda produced was the "Annales necrologici", a list of all the deceased members of the abbey following the death of Saint Sturmi in 744; the monks would offer prayer for the dead listed in the Annales to ensure their eternal salvation. While at first this record only contained the names of those at Fulda, as the power and prominence of Fulda grew, so too did the scope of, to be included in the Annales. Patrons and nobles of the area would all come to be recorded in this piece of Fulda and its concept of community; the documenting of dates of passing, beginning with Sturmi, created a sense of continuity and a reference for the passage of time for the monks of Fulda.
The school at the Fulda monastery would become a major focus of the monks under Sturmi's successor, Abbot Baugulf, at the turn of the century. It contained an inner school for Christian studies, an outer school for secular, including pupils who were not members of the monastery. During Boniface's lifetime he had sent the teachers of Fulda to apprentice under notable scholars in Franconia and Thuringia, who would return with knowledge and texts of the sciences and theology. In 787 Charlemagne praised Fulda as a model school for others, leading by example in educating the public in secular and ecclesiastical matters. Around the year 807, an epidemic claimed much of Fulda's population. During this time, the third abbot of Fulda, was carrying out construction on a new church started by Baugulf. According to the "Supplex Libellus", an account of Fulda's history written by the monks, Ratgar was overzealous, exiling monks opposed to the excessive attention being given to the new church, punishing those attempting to flee the epidemic, spreading amongst the population.
This prompted a discussion in Fulda as to how the monastery was to be properly run, the nature of the responsibilities of the monks. Until this point, a focus of the monks had been remembering and recording the lives of the deceased those who were members of the Fulda monastery, in what was known as the “Annales Necrologici”, they would sing psalms for their dead to ensure their eternal salvation. Under Ratgar, the focus of the monastery had shifted to that of construction and arbitrary regulation. Another matter of concern included, permitted into the inner monastery; the concept of private and public property was in contention. With the land of Fulda expanding, the monks desired all property to be public rather than create a contention for private land, while Ratgar opposed this perspective; the “Supplex Libellus” attempted to address the issue of the growing secular responsibilities of the monastery. As the school grew and the communities around Fulda expanded, the monastery was feeling the strain of balancing ecclesiastical obligations with its newfound secular prominence.
The monks were successful in their grievances against Ratgar, Louis the Pious sympathized with them. Agreeing that Ratgar's plans were too ambitions for Fulda, his punishments too extensive, he exiled Ratgar from Fulda in, Eigil became the fou
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