tion of princes in the Scriptures shows that a superior class—
although not a hereditary one, but rather a class of officers civil
and military—existed, as indeed was inevitable. On the whole,
however, nothing shows that there was a hereditary Hebrew
nobility, nor an upper class to which any one might not attain.
The Romans had a class with special privileges by birth,
heads of gentes and separated off with their gentes, by civil
and religious privileges, from new-comers. Yet, at length, this
patrician class yields to a nobility of the best families, who
managed to keep office and its opportunities in their hands.
It was not until the fourth century of ou'r era that titles, on
account of public employments, laid a kind of foundation for
the nobility of the holders of office.
In other nations hereditary enjoyment of office or of cer-
tain offices arose during the history of a people,
Tides of nobility. ,,.,., u V • 1 A
of which instances have been given already.
A nobility with titles, such as we now find all over Europe,
show their origin by these very titles. They were subordi-
nates of the suzerains in the administration, in the counties
(graf, comes, vicecomes, ealdorman, etc.), or on the marches
(marchio, markgraf, marquis), or at the palace where the
king's justice was administered (comes palatii, pfalzgraf, pal-
grave), or as leaders of an army and governors of a province
(dux, duke, herzog), and so on. These titles serve to pro-
long a distinction which would not otherwise be so much
felt, The nobleman would, but for them, stand nearly on a
level with other wealthy owners of the soil.
It is natural in monarchies and aristocracies that the lead-
ing class should have not only a leading share in legislation,
but also that they should form a legislative body by them-
selves. All the governments of the middle ages were con-
structed on the principle of separate houses of nobles, clergy,
burghers, and, though rarely, peasants.
This share in legislation brings us to the efficiency of an
Efficiency of a no- aristocracy in different polities. In a despot-
ism, the principle of the polity requires equality
of subordination to the ruler and his advisers. But a landed