Nobles were a class of people, originally appointed by the king, who were considered the hereditary leaders.The Medieval nobility grew out of a merger of the old Roman aristocracy and the German tribal nobility. In both cases, membership was derived from wealth more than anything else. The Roman system further refined membership in the aristocracy by requiring the wealthy to get secure jobs in the army or the local government, initially through election and later through appointment by the Emperor. The number of times one was held public office determined how august an aristocrat one was. This system survived in one form or another until the fall of Rome . The German tribal leaders were usually more likely to be warriors, but usually ended up as the wealthiest members of their tribes and had, over the centuries, taken on religious functions in order to add prestiege to their status. In late imperial times the Germanic barbarian kings and Roman emperors were often mutually supportive. The emperor gave his blessing to the rule of the Germans over various erstwhile Roman lands, in return for which the Germans pretended to be --and sometimes were-- good subjects of the Emperor, and thereby gained the support of local Roman nobility. The king needed the nobles to help run the kingdom and the nobles needed the king's prestiege and power to maintain their positions. Gradually the two aristocracies merged, giving rise to the Medieval European nobility.