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Local time

(808 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
Local time is the time related to the meridian of the place of observation, the same for all places of the same geographical longitude. “True local time,” as shown for instance by a sundial, is dictated daily by the culmination of the sun, and fluctuates with the rhythm of the equation of time. “Mean solar time,” that is, the solar time calculated in reference to the ecliptic and the elliptical shape of the Earth's orbit, as yet had no practical role, but the social acceleration in communication…
Date: 2019-10-14

Bell

(1,128 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Term The English word “bell” is onomatopoeic, like the Latin  tintinnabulum. The corresponding German term Glocke derives, like Irish cloch, Flemish klok, Swedish klocka, French cloche and presumably also Russian kolokal from MLat. clocca. Whether the latter goes back to a Celtic clocc is disputed. It too may be onomatopoeic.Wolfgang Behringer 2. Casting and suspension The casting of bells as the preferred form of manufacture extends back into the ancient Near Eastern Bronze Age. From the 6th century it spread through the whole of Europe, but not …
Date: 2019-10-14

Frühe Neuzeit

(3,015 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Definition In German-language scholarship, Frühe Neuzeit (literally “early new era”; cf. Italian prima età moderna; French and English lack equivalent terms) is a term denoting a subdivision of the early modern period (in the definition followed in this encyclopedia, equivalent to the German  Neuzeit, from  neue Zeit, literally “new era”), with which it shares a common start date ( c. 1450) and many defining characteristics. Among these is the precondition of the conceptual triad of a splendid Antiquity ( aetas antiqua), dark Middle Ages ( media aetas), and a radiant pres…
Date: 2019-10-14

Material culture

(2,204 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. DefinitionMaterial culture is a constitutive element of the real everyday world; it is “the most conspicuous and tangible element of culture” [16]. Its production is dependent on intellectual and mental processes and ultimately on specific forms of social organization (Society [community]) – economics, language, religion, ethics, and law [16. 72]. Material culture comprises such diverse things as food (Sustenance) and clothing (Apparel), architecture and domestic culture, tools and weapons, utensils and machines, jewelry and luxury goods, …
Date: 2019-10-14

Ego documents

(1,336 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Concept and subject Unlike autobiographies, ego documents are not intentionally manufactured testimonies of individuals. They therefore encroach from the conscious tradition into the sphere of what J.G. Droysen called the Überreste (“remains”). The type can include documents created in the context of administrative procedures and legal proceedings (e.g. Supplication, interview records, witness interrogations) as well as products of arts and crafts. Decipherment of the factual “remains” often requires knowledge of the hist…
Date: 2019-10-14

Landespost

(958 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. DefinitionThe Landespost (“territorial mail”) was a form of mail service, peculiar to the Holy Roman Empire, that unlike the empire-wide Reichspost was limited to a single princely territory or group of territories. Competition between the two institutions was a consequence of the dualistic structure of the Holy Roman Empire and the transfer of most regalities to the territorial princes. The contradiction did not arise in empires or monarchies with strong central authority, such as the Ottoman …
Date: 2019-10-14

Challenge

(952 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. DefinitionThe challenge was a ritualized (Ritual) form of private “declaration of war,” to test the readiness of competitors in everyday life (Everyday world) to defend their honor. In early modern Europe it was a basic form for the settling of interpersonal conflicts and social control. Documentation is found in the huge number of trial procedures before the lower territorial courts of law.In local Weistum[7. 58–60], village orders and Police the challenge was subsumed either under “crimes, acts of violence, and injuries” (High Court of Augsburg 1534) [1. Bd. 1, 199f.] or under…
Date: 2019-10-14

News agency

(820 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. News market of the RenaissanceThere were no news agencies in the institutional sense in the early modern period, but there were key figures in the news business who grew into the role of professional agent. They were based at places where news often arrived in the form of the reports characteristic of the early modern period (Port, Capital city), or where events that became news actually took place (Rome, courts, residences, theaters of war, etc.). The demand for information grew throughout the pe…
Date: 2020-04-06

Aviso

(848 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
The word aviso (plural: avisos) is a communications term that was introduced into several European languages in the 16th century from Italian ( avviso: news, warning, advice). It soon came to play a key part in the postal system (Mail) in the sense of a “cover letter” and became the usual term for “news” in the new medium of periodically printed newspapers, until it was supplanted by more recent terms. Since the postal system was introduced by the de Tassis family (from 1651 on, Thurn und Taxis) to Austria, Germany, t…
Date: 2019-10-14

Aeronautics

(1,286 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Terminology The term “aeronautics” means literally “traveling by ship [Latin  nautare] through the air [Latin  aer].” Possibly inspired by mythological accounts, 14th-century proponents of Aristotelian physics (Albert of Saxony and Nicole d’Oresme) had already suggested the possibility that the accepted theory of the elements implied that a ship filled with a fiery substance could sail upon the sea of the air. The discussions of flying in the 15th and 16th centuries were focused entirely on the principle of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Animal metamorphosis

(1,108 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Definition Animal metamorphosis was not only widespread in fairy tales and myths, but also had a role to play in popular European belief and Christian theology until some way into the early modern period. From the Renaissance on, the idea of a physical transformation of men or women into animals, effected by magic, divine power, or divine imposition, was reinforced by the reception of ancient texts, such as the respective Metamorphoses of Ovid and Apuleius. Although these may be fictional texts, they were cited until the 17th century as evidence of the possibili…
Date: 2019-10-14

Beer

(2,529 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Consumption Whereas wine consumption dominated Southern Europe and France in the early modern period, the consumption of beer was a fundamental constant of everyday life in the north and east of the continent (Everyday world). In these regions, beer was a staple foodstuff and – when brewed to greater strength - Lenten fare [1]. From the Late Middle Ages, there was a profound shift in habits of consumption in Central Europe, with wine replaced by beer as an everyday beverage. The reason for this was a process of technological innovation as hop…
Date: 2019-10-14

Messrelation

(957 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Definition and originThe  Messrelation was a new 16th-century literary genre that contributed to the emergence of a political public sphere: news books (News book) that were produced for the fall session of the Frankfurt book fair and a bit later for the Easter session as well – that is, twice a year. The  Messrelationen did not take on the genre of the  Newe Zeitung but promoted the printing of newspapers (Aviso) written by serious correspondents and agents (News agency). Like the  Fuggerzeitung, they were noted for their elevated style and the geographical and …
Date: 2019-10-14

Lie

(913 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. An age of dissimulationAnyone setting out to compare discourses of the early modern period in the postmodern manner, i.e. on the basis of texts, is doomed to failure [1]. In a period riven with religious violence, absolutist pressure of conformity, and later the rationalist ideology (Reason) of the Enlightenment, it was often imperative to conceal one’s true opinion. Guidance in the interpretation of early modern texts should therefore be sought in the words written by Niccolò Machiavelli to Francesco Guicciardini on …
Date: 2019-10-14

Mercuries

(975 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Concept and derivation“Mercuries” was the name given in the 17th century to political newspapers, because in England in particular such publications were generally named after the Roman messenger of the gods, Mercurius. The name  coranto (“Courant”) was commonplace in the 1620s, but from 1641, “Mercury” titles were so dominant that the name became genericized to refer to periodicals in general. Only after 1660, following the Stuart Restoration, did “Gazettes” also become established, then from the 1690s newspaper titles maki…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dirt

(1,031 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. ConceptDirt is matter in the wrong place at the wrong time, “something misplaced” [5. 52], undesirable remains (abundant synonyms including refuse, muck, rubbish, garbage, trash, detritus, feculence etc.), or pollution coming about through lack of hygiene and sanitation by mechanical, biological (e.g. menstruation), physical, or chemical processes (e.g. oxidation, rust) and capable of contaminating an organism or system with undesirable or harmful materials. The term is also used in metaphorical and symbolic senses.Wolfgang Behringer2. ReligionAccording to the B…
Date: 2019-10-14

Heating

(1,315 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. GeneralThe necessity for heating varies with geographical latitude; there were great regional and historical variations in its practical development. In the cold years of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1300-1900; especially 1560-1710), there was a pressing need for adequate heating. The hypothermia poor people suffered from when fuel (wood, peat, charcoal, in England also black coal) was too expensive made them more susceptible to illness [3. 430 f., 456f.]. Heating standards improved during the early modern era as part of a general cultural development. Wherea…
Date: 2019-10-14

Flight

(761 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Development of the theoryBy the 14th century, several thinkers had independently concluded, based on Aristotelian physics, that the sublunar airspace must be navigable by vessels. During the 15th century, the principle of aeronautics was sometimes replaced by attempts to achieve flight by imitating birds (see Aviatics, with fig.). At the beginning of the 16th century, in his manuscript Sul volo degli uccelli (1505; “On the Flight of Birds”), Leonardo da Vinci observed that bird flight required great powers of propulsion in order to take to the air f…
Date: 2019-10-14

News book

(784 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Concept and origins English-language scholarship uses the term “news book” to refer to books that were systematically bound in order to present newspaper stories from the preceding year [4]. Although some authors assume that this text genre first appeared only in the 1640s [7. 5], others call the weekly London corantos of the 1620s “the first news books” [5]. Corresponding to the concept in German is the   Zeitungs-Buch (“News[paper] book”), a term used by the Hamburg publisher Georg Greflinger, imitating the English model, when he offered the first year of his Nordischer Merc…
Date: 2020-04-06

Aviatics

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
Aviatics is the skill of using wings or other airfoils to stay up in the air, in other words the art of flying like a bird (Latin  avis). Medieval chronicles already contain many accounts of individuals who tried to imitate avian flight. Most such “flights” from high towers ended in disaster. Stories of attempted flights with a level of detail that enhances their credibility occur in increasing numbers from the second half of the 15th century, one example being the case of Giovanni Battista Danti (ca. 1477-1517), who mad…
Date: 2019-10-14
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