9 Principles Of Noble Education That Are Relevant In The 21st Century

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9 Principles Of Noble Education That Are Relevant In The 21st Century
9 Principles Of Noble Education That Are Relevant In The 21st Century

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Around the Russian noblemen there was an image that they are all entirely honest, noble, sensitive and courageous at the same time. Surely among them there were people with flaws and weaknesses, but still the overwhelming majority were indeed almost mythical creatures for whom honor and manners were vital.

Princesses and Counts. Their lifestyle, demeanor and even appearance are the result of a special upbringing focused on the ideal. But as is the case with ideals, there are no clear instructions on how to achieve it. And yet, we tried to characterize the most important principles of noble education. If applied in reasonable ways, a modern Bolkonsky can be raised.

Nine principles of noble education
Nine principles of noble education

© MonikKoclajda


From childhood, little nobles were taught that "to whom much has been given, from that much will be demanded." Therefore, he was born a nobleman - if you please conform - to be brave, honest, educated and not in order to achieve fame and fortune, but because you have to be just that. This also implies the concept of "noble honor", according to the ideas of the time, "honor" does not give a person any privileges, but, on the contrary, makes him more vulnerable than others. To break this word meant to ruin your reputation once and for all. There are cases when a person, admitting his irreparable guilt, gave his word of honor to shoot himself - and kept his promise.


Cowardice is poorly combined with noble impulses, because the nobles paid special attention to courage and it was believed that it could and should be trained through volitional efforts and training. Moreover, this concerned not only young men who served in the army and navy, performing difficult tasks and thus earning respect, but also young ladies.

Princess Ekaterina Meshcherskaya recalled that as a girl she was afraid of a thunderstorm, and her older brother dragged her onto the window sill of an open window and set her up for a downpour. Katya lost consciousness from fear, and when she regained consciousness, her brother wiped her wet face and said: "Well, answer: will you still be cowardly and afraid of a thunderstorm?" Then he added: “And you, if you want me to love you and consider you my sister, be brave. Remember: there is no vice more shameful than cowardice. " Perhaps this is not worth it, but it is still necessary to pay tribute to the cult of courage in raising children, if, of course, you are striving to raise a princess.

Physical strength and agility

Being brave and at the same time puny will not work, therefore, appropriate physical training was required from the nobles. For example, in the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, where Pushkin studied, time was allocated every day for "gymnastic exercises": the lyceum students learned horseback riding, fencing, swimming and rowing. It should be borne in mind that the lyceum was a privileged educational institution that trained, according to the plan, statesmen. In military schools, the requirements for students were incomparably more stringent.

Demonstration of physical endurance was especially chic, especially since good physical fitness required "fashionable" entertainment: hunting and horseback riding. We add that every man had to be ready to go to a duel.


A truly aristocratic quality that has always distinguished this class. Where a simple man overlaps everyone "according to his mother", a real nobleman will not even lead an eyebrow and will react with equal restraint to both good and bad news. From childhood he was trained to take the blows of fate with courage, with dignity, in no way losing heart. Complaints, tears, unnecessary sentiments are beyond the bounds of etiquette, a real nobleman could not afford cowardice.

You can, of course, accuse the aristocrats of falsehood and hypocrisy, but by and large - they are right.Firstly, no one cares about your troubles and should not impose them on others. Secondly, by keeping true emotions in secret, you protect your inner world from intrigue.

Nine principles of noble education
Nine principles of noble education

Caring for appearance

"You can be an efficient person, And think about the beauty of nails …". You know the author of these lines. Noble children were obliged to look good, but not in order to demonstrate their wealth, but out of respect for others! "A person who is truly disposed to people will not offend the feelings of his neighbors either by excessive negligence in clothing, or excessive daftness," wrote the Earl of Chesterfield.

The cult of beauty that reigned among the nobility demanded polished nails, styled hair, and sophisticated but simple-looking clothing. Suffice it to recall Anna Karenina's toilets: “Anna changed into a very simple cambric dress. Dolly examined this simple dress carefully. She knew what it meant and for what money this simplicity was acquired.

The ability to "like"

In contrast to the modern tendency: “love me the way I am”, the nobles sincerely tried to please everyone and not for reasons of sycophancy, but for etiquette. They should have behaved in such a way as to make their company as pleasant as possible for those around them. And there is a reason in this, after all, being pleasant in society is a good way to make being in it pleasant for yourself.

The ability to be liked was a whole science and began with the simplest formulations: "Treat others the way you would like them to treat you."

To more complex instructions: "Try to recognize in each of his strengths and weaknesses and pay tribute to the first, and even more to the second."

"No matter how empty and frivolous this or that company may be, as long as you are in it, do not show people with your inattention to them that you consider them empty."

Isn't it a useful skill that strengthens your reputation and protects your nerves?


Modesty meant not tightness or shyness (they just fought with it, a polite person should not hide his manners), but a restrained attitude towards his person.

It was believed that you should not get involved in conversations with your comments or advice. “Carry your scholarship as you wear a watch - in your inner pocket. If you are asked "what time is it?" - answer, but do not announce the time hourly and when no one asks you, you are not a night watchman "(" Letters to the Son "Earl of Chesterfield).

Or another great example that should be taken into account in our days: "Speak often, but never speak for a long time - even if you do not like what you say, you at least will not tire your listeners."

Nine principles of noble education
Nine principles of noble education

Appropriate, polite speech

We all know that French in Russia was the language of communication of the nobility, but they knew Russian just as well. There were two unspoken rules about speech. First, a real aristocrat could say nasty things and insults to another aristocrat, but only if they were exposed in an impeccably polite form. This required a special skill in language proficiency, knowledge of all the accepted cliches of secular speech, obligatory polite formulas.

Second, the speech of a nobleman should be appropriate, and if he found himself among the peasants at the bazaar, then there he had to be “his own”. Although this did not mean that he was allowed to slide into rudeness and vulgarism, simple-minded jokes were quite allowed.

"COMME IL FAUT" OU "JE NE SAIS QUOI" ("as it is necessary or I do not know what" French)

Trying to determine what is true upbringing, the British Earl of Chesterfield compared it with a certain invisible line, crossing which a person becomes intolerably ceremonious, and not reaching it - cheeky or awkward. The subtlety lies in the fact that a well-mannered person knows when to disregard the rules of etiquette in order to maintain good form.

The special elusive charm and attractiveness of the nobles was passed "from hand to hand" and in many respects consisted in the noble simplicity and ease of behavior.

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