Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Nobility of virtue
(1,912 words)

1. Concept

“Nobility of virtue” (German Tugendadel) has a double meaning: the age-old nobility of blood, distinguished by inherited virtue seen in the valor of noble ancestors, in which virtue is a qualitative characteristic, and the meritocratic nobility ennobled on the basis of one’s personal accomplishments. Zedler’s Universallexicon of 1732 argued as follows: “It is therefore beyond dispute that the origins of the nobility lie in virtue, reason, and ability” (“Es ist als…

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Gussone, Monika, “Nobility of virtue”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 22 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_029121>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128

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