True Nobility

Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe many writers were in agreement that the origins of true nobility lay in the pursuit of wisdom and virtue. Ancient Greek philosopher and teacher of Alexander the Great Aristotle indicated that the eternal pattern of a good life, one which leading schools could aspire to teach, could be realised in different ways. A gentleman had to have a feel for virtue, a capacity to submit passion to reason, and a strong moral code that distinguished between virtue and vice,  truth or falsehood. Aristotle in his Ethics had described magnificence as a virtue, saying it was a form of moderation, lying somewhere between extravagance and shabbiness.

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