The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary (e.g. precedence), and vary from country to country and era to era.
Historically membership in the nobility and the prerogatives thereof have been regulated or acknowledged by the government, thereby distinguishing it from other sectors of a nation's upper class. Nonetheless, nobility per se has rarely constituted a closed Caste; acquisition of sufficient Power, Wealth, military prowess or royal favour has, occasionally or often, enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility.