What are Typical Aristocratic Values

by | Jun 11, 2023 | Aristocracy, Noble Titles, Royal Titles

In both modern times and throughout history, the social order known as the aristocracy has been a feature of a great many cultures and civilisations. 

From its earliest incarnations in the times of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, the Early Modern Period and up to contemporary times, many of the world’s countries have recognised some type of aristocratic class or group of esteemed nobles. 

What is perhaps less widely known are the common values that were a core feature of this endlessly intriguing social stratum. In fact, it’s these very characteristics that led to the origins and evolution of the aristocracy in those earliest times. 

Here are some of the typical values of the noble classes that helped to shape the structure and power of the aristocracy over the ages, with many of these virtues remaining a core aspect of aristocratic life even today. 

Typical Aristocratic Values

• Duty

The earliest aristocrats were individuals selected to hold positions of duty within the military or a royal court. 

Catherine the Great enters her Royal court full of Aristocrats.

This aspect of dutiful service that gave rise to the aristocracy itself has undoubtedly been one of the core values as this compelling social group has evolved over the ages. 

While the formal duties of military roles or state positions of power may have given way to more informal responsibilities, the ethos of altruism and a desire to serve society has been at the heart of many systems of nobility and aristocracy around the world. 

This type of aristocratic value can still be seen today in the many great charitable works that modern nobles and aristocrats undertake, completely voluntarily.

There are also examples of this duty of care to be seen when those with grand estates show their appreciation for their staff, tenants and suppliers etc with seasonal celebrations, fetes and parties. 

Although the aristocracy is widely regarded as belonging to the higher echelons of society, their lives and roles often include an important sense of duty in serving others, and not solely reaping the benefits of their fortunate heritage. 

• Honour

The survival of the aristocracy throughout the centuries was largely dependent on the value of a family name and a respectable heritage.

With such importance placed on the respectability and social standing of a family within the social hierarchy, it’s little wonder that a sense of honour was paramount. 

Membership of a noble family may have begun with an accident of birth, but there’s no doubt that to be born into an aristocratic family or position also meant being subject to certain codes of honour and the core values that have held the nobility in such esteem for centuries. 

The honourable traits that saw the earliest nobles being granted their positions of power have endured as a highly typical and sometimes crucial aristocratic value over many generations. 

These honourable sensibilities have historically been instilled in the hearts and minds of the aristocracy from an early age, as the children of the nobility were raised in an ethos of honourable behaviour, respectability, dignity and morality. 

A deep sense of honour could make all the difference in the surviving and thriving of a noble family, especially as the rules of society became more subtle over time. As a result, those noble families that have endured for generations often feature a strong code of honour and high morals. 

• Excellence

Going back to the original aristocrats or ancient history, the word itself is evidence of a common trait for those elected to this elite social class

The origin of aristocracy literally means the power of the best, i.e. those who are deemed to be the best of their peers are the ones chosen to be in positions of power. 

As a foundation of excellence was the originating factor for the entire aristocratic class, it’s not surprising that the pursuit of excellence remains a core value for many modern nobles, as well as a driving force for aristocratic families over the centuries. 

This standard of excellence may show up in a number of different guises depending on the individuals involved. 

For example, some nobles have been keen supporters of the Arts and Science, particularly during the periods of The Renaissance. Whereas other aristocratic families have sought to improve their vast estates or properties to an impeccable standard, whether for themselves, their future generations, or for the general public to enjoy, 

• Noblesse Oblige

One of the most famous characteristics associated with the aristocracy through the ages is the idea of noblesse oblige

This is a French term that translates to mean a duty or obligation as a result of noble birth. 

Throughout periods of history, there have been times when the nobility had strict obligations, some even enforceable by the laws of the land. These dictates were a result of their heritage and their position within society, roles that may have appeared to be luxurious and privileged but which also carried with them serious responsibilities and even great burdens. 

The idea of noblesse oblige is a remnant of these more formal duties, yet the nobility on the whole has long embraced this idea of acknowledging their privilege with a sense of service, duty, or to use modern terms, giving back to society or paying it forward. 

While the personalities, lifestyles, duties and commitments of the aristocratic classes have changed enormously over the centuries, many of these altruistic and honourable values have stood the test of time.

It may appear that those born into noble families or joining the ranks of the aristocracy are able to access a way of life that’s much more free and easy than that of the general population, but in truth, many nobles and aristocrats work incredibly hard to live up to the deeply-held values of their ancestors and forebears. 

The typical aristocratic values undoubtedly live on in many of the contemporary characters who populate the modern nobility, and given the strong history and tradition of duty, honour and service, as well as the cultural shifts towards more humanitarian endeavours, it’s likely that these core traits will be a strong feature of the aristocracy for generations to come.

If learning about these aristocratic values has made you curious about acquiring a prestigious Noble Title of your own get in touch using the enquiry form in the sidebar or you can contact our Geneva office directly between 10.00-19.00, Monday to Friday on +41 225 181 360.

Enquiry Form