he belonged to the <nobility of the bar>

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nguyen dung

Senior Member
In "Les Miserables" translated by Hapgood there is sentence(page 6):
M. Myriel was the son of a councillor of the Parliament of Aix; hence he belonged to the nobility of the bar.
What is the meaning of "the nobility of the bar"?Is it correct that the job of a councillor of Parliament must be a lawyer?
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Okay. I can't tell you anything specific about the legal profession in France, but it sounds as though the reference is to M. Myriel himself rather than his illustrious father. This seems to be a remark that means M. Myriel was one of the most prestigious members of the legal profession or that he was destined to be one of the most prestigious members before the revolution began.


    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    The original French text uses an expression that can be translated literally as "nobility of the robe", or as the Wikipedia article calls it, "Nobles of the Robe". There is nothing in the original text corresponding to "hence he belonged to the"; that is an attempt by the translator to make things clearer, but apparently it can have the opposite effect.

    Nobles of the Robe - Wikipedia
    This is the social class to which the family belonged.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    This Wiki article on the French Parliaments of the Ancien Régime might be useful, nguyen dung:
    A parlement (French pronunciation: [paʁləmɑ̃] (About this soundlisten)), in the Ancien Régime of France, was a provincial appellate court.[...] They were the court of final appeal of the judicial system, and typically wielded much power over a wide range of subject matter, particularly taxation. Laws and edicts issued by the Crown were not official in their respective jurisdictions until the parlements gave their assent by publishing them. The members were aristocrats called nobles of the gown who had bought or inherited their offices, and were independent of the King.​
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