The Nobles and Nobilities of Europe
A History of Structures, Law and Institutions
I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd
In feudal and early modern society, the nobility was a force of major importance. Yet despite its undeniable influence on the course of history, there has been a noticeable lack of published material covering the ways in which nobility was (and sometimes still is) defined in public law, as opposed to its political and economic influence, or the legal privileges which noble status guaranteed. In this major new three-volume work, Michael Sayer provides an extensive survey of all the most significant primary sources relating to the status of nobility in Europe from Roman times through the Medieval period and beyond, setting them within the broader historical context of the time. He also examines separately the many juridical aspects of nobility – titles, arms, heraldry, chivalric orders, and offices – providing a thorough methodological basis for the study of nobility. As a comprehensive survey of nobles and nobility in European society over 2000 years, this book will be an invaluable reference tool for scholars and students.
Michael Sayer is an independent historian educated at Oxford University, UK. His publications include: English Nobility: The Gentry, the Heralds and the Continental Context and The Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992. He is an occasional contributor to Country Life and The Antiquaries' Journal.