Estate, Nobility, and the Exhibition of Estate in the Later Middle Ages

Speculum 68 (3):684-709 (1993)

Abstract

One of the most common terms in late-medieval discourse is “estate” in its Latin or vernacular forms: status, estat, estado, stato, stav, stat, stand, etc. Its basic sense, derived from stare and common to a wide variety of meanings in various contexts, can be recognized in such modern English equivalents as “status,” “station,” “estate,” “stately,” “state,” “standing,” and the like. Its secondary, particular meanings, however, cannot be regularly perceived on this basis, and in all cases there are problems beneath the surface due to the structural differences between Alteuropa and the “modern” world of the nineteenth century, as well as the postmodernity of the twentieth

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