She begins by making clear just who the aristocracies
(Italian and provincial) were, how they gained their positions, what positions counted for status and how, and what were the common values of Western aristocrats.
Spinoza declares that most aristocracies
were formerly democracies, but the exclusion of newcomers from a role in the state which the newcomers had no role in founding, and the newcomers' inclination to accept this exclusion for the sake of the security to pursue their private interests, eventually gave to the state an aristocratic character.
Other converts, however, were from the landed ethnic aristocracies
The late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries were a period of notably rapid evolution in some aspects of aristocratic self-definition and of relationships among the aristocracies
of England, Wales, and Scotland.
Many explanations come to mind, including the historical and regional differences among Italy's aristocracies
, the urban base of politics, conflicts between Church and State that overshadowed many other divisions, and Italy's relatively slow industrialization.
The return to power of hereditary aristocracies
, the expansion of seigniorial rights and feudal privileges, and the passing of urban rule into the hands of overlords and tyrants was an ubiquitous trend that confirmed Aristotle's theory about the growth and decline of city-states.
By shifting the classical focus on what civility means for the free and noble barbarian warrior to its implications for the peasantry, the Irish tracts eliminate the moral ambiguities characteristic of the Roman narratives; for this population, ruthlessly exploited by both tribal and feudal aristocracies
, civility promises to bestow rather than destroy liberty.