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Noblesse politique et anoblissement: conception émergente au XIII e siècle en France

Armand J. ARRIAZA
Revue historique de droit français et étranger (1922-)
Vol. 84, No. 3 (JUILLET-SEPTEMBRE 2006), pp. 333-351
Published by: Editions Dalloz
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43852391
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Noblesse politique et anoblissement: conception émergente au XIII
          e
          siècle en France
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Abstract

The present essay addresses some questions arising from the emergence in mid-fourteenth century Italy of the theory of political nobility, an essential aspect of which was the ruler's power to ennoble. This theory appeared more than half a century after the first issuance of the first royal letters of ennoblement in France. Is the similarity coincidental or superficial ? Was the theory based on or inspired by the French letters ? To what extent did the royal letters of ennoblement address traditional criteria ? A close re-examination of the earliest letters of nobility brings out some revealing characteristics. The inquiry finds that both the letters and the theory relied on an imperial model of governance and that an incipient conception of political nobility appears to have developed by the thirteenth century. These findings suggest that the traditional conception of nobility based on practical attributes and informal ascription may have begun to weaken, allowing the evolution of an abstract conception based on formal and legal ascription.

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