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Ambition

(974 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology Even in its original Latin form,  ambitio was a morally ambivalent concept. Since the time of Cicero, it meant not just the “circulation” of candidates for office to make themselves known to their voters but also a particularly insistent, ruthless pursuit of offices and dignities. After Augustine this attitude stood in almost irreconcilable conflict with the Christian commandment of humility and diffidence. Theologians of all persuasions disapproved of striving after “empty honor” (Luther). For Philipp Melanchthon, eergeizlich—the German word, which came i…
Date: 2019-10-14

Humanity

(866 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Humanist rootsThe term humanitas (Humankind, human being, “humaneness,” “sphere of human affairs”) adopted from Cicero in the 15th century achieved currency in European languages in the heyday of Humanism and remains to this day (English humanity; French  humanité; Italian  umanità; Spanish  humanidad) - especially in the context of literary-rhetorical education (Bildung) as originally delineated by the Humanist term  studia humanitatis (“studies of human affairs”). From the 16th century on, preliminary education was called  humanités in French; in English, hu…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dogs, keeping of

(2,036 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Types and functions The dog was widespread in all social classes in the early modern period, and undertook a range of functions. It was according to these, and not the breed (a concept that only achieved currency as a system of classification after 1850) that dog types were distinguished.Hounds used for hunting were of particular interest to contemporaries, following on from ancient authors, such as Xenophon ( Kynegetikós, c. 400 BCE; “On Hunting [With Dogs]”), M. Terentius Varro ( Rerum rusticarum libri tres, c. 50 BCE; “Three Books on Agriculture”), and Oppian ( Kynegetiká, c. 200…
Date: 2019-10-14

Gemmology

(1,064 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept Ancient engraved gems (from the Latin gemma, “precious stone”) are small reliefs inscribed into semiprecious stones (generally chalcedony, carnelian, agate, onyx, or hematite), rock crystal, or glass, depicting portraits, mythological figures and scenes, and often inscriptions or magical symbols (Character). Because they often show the legendary creature known from gnosticism, the so-called Abraxas (or Abrasax), with armored body and a cockerel's head, they were sometimes called “Abraxas ston…
Date: 2019-10-14

Educational policy

(2,295 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe term '’educational policy'’, which did not come into common use until the 1960s, denotes the sphere of cultural policy that involves the educational system: the efforts of the government (Sovereign power) and elite leadership to promote their goals by establishing and favoring institutions of Bildung and instruction and to combat the corresponding institutions of the opposition. In this sense, educational policy was an important area of early modern politics, an essential element…
Date: 2019-10-14

Greatness

(1,523 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. The term In antiquity the attribute of greatness associated with gods, heroes, and kings had already been extended to leading members of the elite in city states and republics and elevated to the status of a universal virtue possessed by rulers. In the early modern period, greatness (Lat.   magnificentia, Ger. Größe, Ital. grandezza, Span. grandeza, French  grandeur) became the guiding ideal of the European aristocracy, the goal of noble ambition, and a central topic of discussion among the nobility. There proved to be a productive tension betwe…
Date: 2019-10-14

Libertine

(1,684 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe Latin legal term  libertinus (“freedman”), which in the Acts of the Apostles (6,9) attaches to the persecutors of St. Stephen, passed into French ( libertine) around 1480 via vernacular biblical commentaries, and from there it entered the other modern European languages, including English. From 1545, Calvinist and Catholic preachers were using it to discredit morally those who did not unconditionally accept their dogmas. The word “libertinage” or “libertinism” (French libertinage, also libertinisme) emerged from 1600 to denote the religious skepticis…
Date: 2019-10-14

German New Humanism

(1,372 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. The phenomenonThe German term  Neuhumanismus (“Neohumanism, New Humanism”), coined by Friedrich Paulsen in 1885 [11. 191–195], denotes an educational movement (Bildung) that originated in the 1770s in Germany in reaction against utilitarian concepts of education rooted in the Enlightenment. In contrast to education in Germany’s western and eastern neighbors, it celebrated the ancient Hellenic world as the epitome of true, good, and beautiful humanity (Antiquity, reception of). In the first half of the 19t…
Date: 2019-10-14

Decadence

(1,413 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe idea that empires and cultures, having risen to power and greatness, must necessarily undergo decline, commonplace among ancient historians after Polybius, was revisited and reformulated by the Humanists. Until around 1800, “decadence” (also “decline”; Latin   inclinatio, ruina, depravatio; Italian  decadenza, declino, caduta; French  déclin, décadence; German  Verfall, Dekadenz) was therefore a basic category of political, social, and aesthetic discourse. As a constitutive element of a cyclical view of history, the concept den…
Date: 2019-10-14

Moralist literature

(1,308 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionAt its first appearance in 1690 in Antoine Furetière’s Dictionnaire universel, the term  moraliste (“moralist”) simply meant an author who treated moral questions. By around 1700, however, the pejorative secondary meaning “rigorist” had been coined, referring specifically to adherents of Jansenism. Volume 10 of the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D’Alembert once more denigrated the moralist, defining him in 1765 as a vain, unsystematic littérateur aiming more to amaze than to enlighten [9. 48–52]. The term  moralist literature (German Moralistik), by contra…
Date: 2020-04-06

Morality, history of

(1,148 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition and modelsIn the late 18th and 19th centuries, “history of morality” was the phrase used to denote the genre of cultural history that paid special attention to the mores and everyday world of a bygone epoch, culture, nation (Nation, nationalism), or society (Society [community]). The German equivalent, Sittengeschichte, used by Kant in contrast to Naturgeschichte (Natural history), remained limited to German [3]. Ever since Humanism, however, the concept of a historical presentation that seeks to draw conclusions about the civilized …
Date: 2020-04-06

Honnête homme, honnête femme

(1,229 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe term  honnête homme, first attested in 1538, is defined in the  Dictionarium latinogallicum of Robert Estienne as a “cultured courtly gentleman without presumption.” Since the early 17th century, it expressed the quintessence of courtly urbanity, the social model of the new court society of the age of Louis XIV. Unlike related French words such as  courtisan, homme de qualité, homme de bien, homme galant, and  gentilhomme, the  honnête homme (and the  honnête femme) was not socially predefined; he was the classless ideal of an individual who alw…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dame

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept The term, which came into English in the Middle Ages from the French dame (compare Italian dama/ donna, German Dame), derives from the Latin  domina (“mistress”). Dame in English is generally confined to an honorific title; where derivatives of domina in other languages denote a woman of high social rank or status, English uses “lady” (Old English hlafdige = “[woman] who kneads bread”) as Spanish uses señora. As a courtly title, “Dame” was mostly used in conjunction with the possessive “my” or  ma ( Madame, Madonna, Madam, My Lady/Milady). Domina derivatives denote th…
Date: 2019-10-14

Manners

(1,434 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. A social idealManners were understood from the late 15th century as the sum of all behaviors that expressed politeness or courtesy (German Höflichkeit; Italian  cortesia, gentilezza; Spanish  cortesía; French  politesse, civilité, towards ladies also  courtoisie and  galanterie; Dame) in practice. These were therefore more than merely forms of conduct corresponding to applicable social rules. Such prescribed conduct differed in the early modern period according to gender, estate, profession, confession, and social, ethnic, and…
Date: 2019-10-14

Character

(1,502 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptAt the beginning of the early modern period, the Greek term charaktḗr (‘stamp’ or ‘engraving’), which Patristic writers includingAugustine had been the first to introduce into literary Latin, had an abstract and technical meaning. As in the writings of Aristotle’s pupil Theophrastus, it denoted both a permanent mark, distinguishing feature, or symbol, and a prevailing moral quality [5]. The combination of the two senses proved so inspiring and fruitful that by the end of the 18th century, ‘character’ had undergone a rapid change of meaning in…
Date: 2019-10-14

Memoirs

(1,443 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and definitionThe plural term “memoirs” adopted into all European cultural languages and derived from the Latin memoria and the French  mémoire (“memory,” “remembrance”) meant, like its Latin counterparts commentarii (“[legal] record”) and  adversaria (“[journal recording] what is before one's eyes”), a juristic, official, or diplomatic record describing the prior history and problem context of a conflict requiring negotiation. Academies also often titled their publication as “memoirs.” In its most significant connot…
Date: 2019-10-14

Catholic Enlightenment

(1,174 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Term The concept of Catholic Enlightenment developed in German historiography from the early 20th century, and has since the 1970s established itself as a specialist term [3. 40–53]; [5. 76–85]. In its general and internationally current sense, it denotes all the efforts undertaken within European Catholicism before around 1820 to adapt the ideas and accomplishments of the Enlightenment and to implement them in culture, education, scholarship, economics, and political organization [1]; [6]. In the specific sense widely used in German scholarship, it refers above …
Date: 2019-10-14

Anglophilia

(968 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology The term  Anglophilia first appeared around 1750. It and the stronger form  Anglomania refer - from a critical distance - to the “(unsophisticated) fondness for England, the English, and all things English” [7. 18] that appeared among the continental elite after 1713 and became a general vogue in the 1730s. Admiration for English politics, economics, philosophy, science, culture, and lifestyle led to wholesale imitation, triggering one of the most momentous transfers of culture in European history.Anglophilia was a concomitant of the Enlightenment an…
Date: 2019-10-14

Epigraphy

(1,093 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and functionThe term “epigraphy” (from the Greek epigraphḗ; “inscription”) first occurred in German in the 18th century, and in French not until 1838. Yet the recording, collecting, and classifying of ancient inscriptions on stone and metal is among the oldest, most widespread, and most highly regarded forms of early modern antiquarianism and archaeology. The reasons vary. When Friedrich August Wolf declared in 1807 that epigraphy “is not important in terms of beauty of form, but by virtue of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Latin studies

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. SurveyIn the early modern period, Latin was a language in active use in diplomacy, science, and the educational system (Bildung) and was therefore a living language. This circumstance favoured the scholarly study of the language only to a certain extent. Before the 19th century, it was studied less for its own sake than for practical purposes: to be able to write and speak better, to be familiar with the (still obligatory) canon of classical literature, to understand Roman law, which was still in effect, and to share in the greatness of ancient Rome (Antiquity, reception of).Lati…
Date: 2019-10-14

Counter-Enlightenment

(1,547 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and problemThe term Counter-Enlightenment is first attested, as a synonym for Romanticism, in an 1877 note by Friedrich Nietzsche (“Der Höhe der Aufklärung entspricht die Höhe der Gegenaufklärung in Schopenhauer und Wagner”; “The peak of enlightenment corresponds to the peak of the Counter-Enlightenment in Schopenhauer and Wagner”) [16. 26]. Isaiah Berlin then introduced it to the international discourse as the Counter-Enlightenment from the 1950s, to denote - not without a philosophical value judgment - opponents of the Enlight…
Date: 2019-10-14

Club

(1,317 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and phenomenonThe club developed from the 16th century as a specifically  British form of urban sociability. The eccentric term - at the time, the word only had its original sense of “thick stick” - hints at the exclusive, masculine character of these societies, in which gentleman kept their own company and women were almost entirely excluded. The club differed from traditional forms of socializing (e.g. fraternity, guild, sect, academy) in being an “expression of a dynamic, visibly urba…
Date: 2019-10-14

Criticism

(2,598 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and terminological historyCriticism (or, in earlier English usage, “critique”) as the art of “testing a given matter for authenticity, truth, correctness, or beauty, and forming a judgement based on the findings obtained” (“einen vorgegebenen Sachverhalt auf seine Echtheit oder Wahrheit, seine Richtigkeit oder Schönheit hin zu befragen, um aus der gewonnenen Erkenntnis heraus ein Urteil zu fällen”) [11. 86], developed through the early modern period into the European elite's preferred form of intellectual discourse. From the Enlightenment, i…
Date: 2019-10-14

Archaeology

(1,716 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept In Antiquity, the Greek term first encountered as archaiología (‘antiquarian lore’) in the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st century BCE – archaiologeín, ‘to discuss antiquities,’ is already found in Thucydides, 5th century BCE) denoted the sphere of history of which there were no longer living witnesses to give accounts, but that depended entirely on traditions and legends. The Renaissance Latinized the term to archaeologia or  archaeographia, and used it synonymously with antiquitates, i.e. antiquarianism, from which archaeology was indist…
Date: 2019-10-14

Conversation

(1,132 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term conversation (from Latin conversari, “to have dealings with”, “to have intercourse with”; literally “to be engaged [in something] together”), adopted into most of the European languages in the 16th century, denotes a ritual that was typical of early modern European scholars: an informal discussion in a small group, the most important purpose of which was to explore the subject in question as thoroughly, elegantly, and entertainingly as possible. Unlike in institutionalized forms of …
Date: 2019-10-14

History

(4,883 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. OverviewThe urge to know as much as possible about the past of one’s race, clan, class, place of birth, homeland, people - and that of other groups, populations, and cultures too - and to certify and curate this knowledge in the hands of scholarly experts, was common to all learned cultures of the early modern era (Historiography; Historical traditions beyond Europe). This can be seen in the fact that tradition was fundamentally significant in all these cultures as the basis for claims to owne…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mythology

(2,027 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and phenomenonIn Greco-Roman antiquity, the Greek term  múthos adopted into all European languages (German  Mythos, French  mythe) denoted a semantic field ranging from “word” and “factual statement” to “invented narrative.” Beginning with Plato, its meaning became confined to “story of the gods and heroes” [13. 181]. Accordingly, “mythology” throughout the early modern period was almost invariably taken to mean the study of the worlds of the Greek and Roman gods (Ancient religions), as it was portrayed by poets like Homer and …
Date: 2020-04-06

Civilization

(1,497 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept The term “civilization”, which appeared in French and in English shortly after 1750 and by 1820 was established in all Western European languages (French civilisation, German Zivilisation, Italian civilizzazione, Spanish civilisación), marks an ideal of the Enlightenment: a polity which has implemented, as much as possible, enlightened values - ranging from political freedom and a modern political economy (Economy, political) to humanity, education and urbanity -  und goes on perfectioning them. In this respect civi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Humanism

(10,285 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Introduction Humanism was the most important and influential European educational and cultural movement of the early modern period before the Enlightenment (Bildung). It arose in Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries, and by the mid-16th century it had spread across the entire western world. Its aim was an aesthetic one: the restoration of the literature, arts, and sciences of classical antiquity, especially Roman culture from the period between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, which …
Date: 2019-10-14

Curiosity

(1,429 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Problem and conceptThe desire to expand one's knowledge was by no means regarded as a virtue in principle in the early modern period. Rather, there was intensive and passionate debate throughout, from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, on how far curiosity (from Latin  curiositas; Italian  curiosità; Spanish  curiosidad; French  curiosité, but German Neugier, literally “craving for the new”) might legitimately go, and at which limits it must cease. This debate, which was conducted in media ranging from sermons and disputations, to disser…
Date: 2019-10-14

Individuality

(1,883 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. General observations 1.1 DefinitionUntil the end of the 18th century, “individual” and “individuality” (from Lat. individuum; “indivisible”) was a technical term in philosophy that could denote “smallest unit” or “special character.” Consequently, it could also refer - as it does to this day in many European languages - to a single thing or person. In Germany during Idealism and Romanticism it acquired an emphatic tone; individuality became a synonym for the unmistakable uniqueness of a concrete personality,…
Date: 2019-10-14

Humanities

(2,002 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and definition The concept and the term came into existence in late-19th century Germany, an outgrowth of the conviction developed within historicism that human will, thought, and activity could not be measured by the inductive methods of natural science and traced back to general rules, but must instead be studied as manifestations of each unique individuality in the specific shape they took. Hence, the Humanities were taken to comprise all academic disciplines (Disciplines, a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dictionary

(1,606 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptA dictionary (Latin  dictionarium; Italian  dizionario, vocabulario; French dictionnaireglossaire, Spanish  diccionario, German Wörterbuch) is a usually alphabetical register presenting the vocabulary of a language in whole or in part, either to comment on each word as such or to present its equivalent(s) in one or more other language(s). Dictionaries in the early modern period were by no means confined to pragmatic purposes of language tuition or mutual understanding in contexts of travel, pilg…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fate, destiny

(1,425 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Meaning and conceptThe idea of fate or destiny (French  fortune, destin, destinée; Italian  fato, destino; Spanis  fortuna, suerte, destino; German Schicksal) became in the early modern period a preferred mode for discussing the relationship between autonomy and necessity, that is, the question of freedom of will, and the driving forces of history and politics, in a secular context. As a synonym for whatever was peculiar, unalterable, and perhaps inexplicable in the course of the history of an individual, a peopl…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mazarinades

(667 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term  Mazarinade, used by scholars since 1850, derives from  La Mazarinade, the title of a 1651 Paul Scarron literary parody of the  Iliad (French  Iliade). It serves as an umbrella term for over 4,000 mostly highly polemical pamphlets, published in France at the time of the Fronde (1648-1653) in opposition to attempts by the crown to centralize the government and administration in the spirit of absolutism. Because these efforts were embodied by Cardinal Jules Mazarin, the confidant and chief minister o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Hero, heroine

(1,761 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. OverviewIn most cultures, heroes (Greek  hḗros, Latin  heros, Italian  eroe, French  héros, German Held) – mythical figures between the divine and human worlds – have great significance for the self-conceptions of the groups, classes (Estates of the realm), and nations (Nation, nationalism) that venerate them. By embodying the value system of these groups and representing it as victorious in the heroes’ adventures, they make it visible and attractive. By pushing the value system to its limit, thus revealin…
Date: 2019-10-14

Numismatics

(1,736 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and meaningNumismatics (from the Latin numisma, “coin”) has since the 18th century denoted the scholarly discipline concerned with the analysis of coins. A distinction was drawn between a “commercial numismatics” that sought to establish the metal content and monetary value of coins and a “historical numismatics” exploring their historical and cultural significance [1]. In practice, however, the two aspects were intertwined. Coins old and new alike were a source of fascination because they “illustrated” renowned people, deeds, and eve…
Date: 2020-04-06

Enlightenment history

(1,631 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe modern term is a collective designation for all works of history, historiography, and philosophy of history (History, philosophy of) published during the Enlightenment by authors subscribing to Enlightenment ideas and values.Gerrit Walther2. Questions and modelsThe Enlightenment shaped a fundamentally new conception of history. It broke with the Christian-theological view of history that had only recently reached its virtuoso apogee in Jacques Bénigne Bossuet’s Discours sur l’Histoire universelle (1681). Bossuet characterized history as the …
Date: 2019-10-14

Bildung

(7,073 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology During the early modern period, the languages of the civilized European world had a wide range of words to express the process of formation designed to transform individuals through education and their own efforts into persons conformed as well as possible to the norms defined by society. From the beginning, the vernacular derivatives of Latin educatio (“education,” German Erziehung), eruditio (“literacy,” German Belesenheit), and scientia (“knowledge," German Wissen) were dominant. The English and French terms formation—a combination of learning and outw…
Date: 2019-10-14

Late Humanism

(2,030 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition The term Late Humanism is frequently applied to a cultural epoch between Humanism and Baroque, but it is seldom defined. All current usages agree on just one thing: that it should be viewed as both a social phenomenon and an ensemble of cultural and educational phenomena. Still in common use only in German-language scholarship, it was introduced into literary studies in 1931 by Erich Trunz [12], who described Late Humanism as a “class culture” of mostly Protestant scholars in the Old Empire around 1600. The historian Gerhard Oestreich extende…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dissimulation

(2,195 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and overviewIn most of the cultural languages of Europe, dissimulation at the beginning of the early modern period was denoted using the Latin terms simulatio and  dissimulatio that had been current since Cicero and that Tacitus, in particular, made his own. While the latter meant concealing one's own views and intentions, the former meant simulating ideas and plans other than those one really had in mind. Although dissimulation, as a form of lying (Lie), was strictly frowned upon - telling the truth was a comm…
Date: 2019-10-14

Egyptology

(1,550 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Theology and languageModern Egyptology was born on September 27, 1822, when Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) presented his Lettre à M. Dacier to the Paris Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres. The document provided the basis for the decipherment of the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs [8]; [9]. European scholars had begun researching the writing, language, and culture of Ancient Egypt from the 15th century, but they had done so mostly from the perspective of the theological problem of the relationship between Egyptian and…
Date: 2019-10-14

Antiquarianism

(2,164 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology and form Before 1800 the Latin word antiquitates (“antiquities”; French antiquités, German Antiquitäten), made popular by the famous (but fragmentary) antiquarian treatise Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum (“Antiquities of Human and Divine Institutions”) of the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BCE) was used synonymously with archaeology. It referred to written accounts or material remains (such as coins, monuments, works of art, everyday objects) that could provide information about cults…
Date: 2019-10-14

Barbarian

(1,952 words)

Author(s): Grünberger, Hans | Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept This term, already used by Homer, became a key term in cultural critique from the 14th century onwards. Used polemically, it meant anyone who ignored the values, demands and representatives of humanist education, or indeed opposed them ( Bildung; Humanism), or anyone whose social claims to power did not appear legitimated by a corresponding openness to Early Modern culture and to urban forms of social intercourse. There was special polemical force in the accusation of being a barbarian, precisely because of the variety of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Method

(1,806 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Schliesser, Eric
1. Concept and meaningA method - a planned, standardized procedure for obtaining and verifying information and arranging it into a knowledge system, is an indispensable element of learned activity in all knowledge societies. The development of method in early modern Europe was characterized by its gradual emancipation from knowledge content. To begin with, method served as a procedure of teaching and demonstrating (Proof) theories, dogmas, traditions, and authorities that arose and endured independ…
Date: 2019-10-14

Greek studies

(3,561 words)

Author(s): Landfester, Manfred | Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition and function The term  Greek studies, which did not come into common use until the second half of the 20th century, denotes academic study of the classical Greek language and Greek belletristic, philosophical, and technical literature from the 8th century BCE to the 6th century CE. Since the 19th century, Greek studies together with Latin studies or Latin philology have constituted classical philology. The Renaissance defined the academic study of both Greek and Latin and their literatures as  studia humanitatis (“studies of humanity”; C. Salutati, L. Bru…
Date: 2019-10-14

Canon

(2,488 words)

Author(s): Dücker, Burckhard | Walther, Gerrit
1. Term The Greek word kanṓn (orig. craftsman’s ‘measure’, ‘standard’) had a range of meanings in Antiquity, all of which referred to a generally valid norm. In art, for instance, it denoted from around the time of Polyclitus (5th century BCE) the proportion theory of the human body. In music, beginning with the Pythagoreans (5th century BCE) it was a twelve-part measuring instrument for determining the intervals. In epistemology from Democritus (4th century BCE) it was the sense of truth and the fac…
Date: 2019-10-14

Genealogy

(2,589 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Graf, Klaus
1. Concept and forms Ever since Hecataeus of Miletus collected genealogíai (“information about [noble] families”) in the 6th century BCE, the term ‘genealogy’ has denoted the art of ascertaining the place of a subject within his or her biological kin (Latin genus or  gens), or of reconstructing and portraying the succession of generations within a family. The genealogical perspective may be the world's oldest and most widespread method for determining the class (Estates of the realm) and rank of a person in society and for recalling, recording, and presenting the past.In the e…
Date: 2019-10-14

Historian

(2,106 words)

Author(s): Blanke, Horst Walter | Walther, Gerrit
1. General 1.1. Terminology Most 19th- and 20th-century lexicons define a historian as a person who studies and writes about history; Grimm calls a Historiker (historian) a  Geschichtsforscher  und -schreiber (researcher and writer of history) [1] (see Historiography). There have been writers dealing with historical events since the beginning of literacy in Europe (Homer and Moses, or Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, Polybius, and Tacitus). Only since the late Enlightenment, however, have there been professional historians. In his introduction to a translation of a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Catholic Reformation

(5,118 words)

Author(s): Decot, Rolf | Walther, Gerrit | Kanz, Roland
1. Terminology The response of the Catholic Church (usually called the “Old Church” in the Reformation period) to the Reformation began gradually. Historians have coined various terms for it. Today there is still no term that covers both the efforts at reform within the Church during the 16th century and the attempt to win back the Church’s lost socio-political terrain. The competing terms include  Catholic Reformation,   Counter-Reformation, Catholic confessionalization, and recatholization.The reaction of the Old Church (and the states and territories that …
Date: 2019-10-14

Emancipation

(3,188 words)

Author(s): Klippel, Diethelm | Walther, Gerrit | Klein, Birgit E.
1. General 1.1. OverviewThe term emancipation, which exists in all European languages, comes from Roman private law (Latin emancipatio), and originally meant release from the patria potestas (Parental rights and obligations). The concept had an extraordinary career from the dawn of the early modern period, though the original family law sense survived in jurisdiction long into the 19th century in Europe. While outside legal usage it initially had an overtone of moral egoism, it increasingly became a subject of reflection…
Date: 2019-10-14

Arms

(4,340 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Lück, Heiner | Biller, Josef H.
1. Definition, origin, and forms In the Western society of estates (see Estates, society of) of the Middle Ages and early modern period, (coats of) arms (German Wappen from Middle High German  wâpen, French armoiries [1]) were important symbols of rank and status, the descent and relationships of an individual, a family (Family coat of arms), or a corporate body. They came into being around 1100 in the regions of (Central) Europe where feudal society had its deepest roots: (northern) France, Burgundy, England, Scotland, and th…
Date: 2019-10-14

Epoch

(3,730 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Kanz, Roland | Riedl, Peter Philipp
1. History 0-1.1. ConceptThe Greek word epochḗ (“suspension, pause”) in everyday speech in Antiquity meant a lull in a speech or a movement, in astronomy the conjunction of two celestial bodies, and in philosophy the suspension of judgment (Skepticism). In the early modern period, the latter two senses were at first dominant. The term only gradually took on a historical sense. As it did so, even until the 18th century, it did not denote a particular span of time, but the event that heralded one. Even …
Date: 2019-10-14

Museum

(3,917 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Müller-Wille, Staffan | Kalusok, Michaela
1. ConceptThe prototype and model for all early modern museums was the Museíon, which the Egyptian king Ptolemy I had established around 320 BCE in the same part of the palace at Alexandria that also housed his world-famous library. It was an academy where scholars, who were paid a salary by the government, met for research, discussion, and banqueting. Only in the early modern period did “museum” acquire a more topographical and material meaning. In the 18th century, it was defined as “a place where things are kept that have direct reference to the arts and Muses” [1. 893]. By the 19th cen…
Date: 2020-04-06

Dance

(3,821 words)

Author(s): Busch-Salmen, Gabriele | Walther, Gerrit | Rode-Breymann, Susanne
1. Introduction Dance - a sequence of stylized rhythmical steps and movements performed by individuals, couples, or groups - was one of the most widespread and popular forms of nonverbal communication and public representation in the early modern period. As an indispensable component of free time and festivals of all kinds, it formed part of the everyday world of almost all ranks and groupings, in both elite and popular culture (see also e.g. Kermis, fig. 1; Music, fig. 3). Many had their own danc…
Date: 2019-10-14

Enlightenment

(14,627 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Steinle, Friedrich | Beutel, Albrecht | Tschopp, Silvia Serena | Kanz, Roland | Et al.
1. Concept and definition Enlightenment in English is first attested from 1865 as a translation of the German  Aufklärung, which was first recorded in 1691. With their European cognates  lumières (French), illuminismo (Italian), and  ilustración (Spanish), they denote the most influential European educational and cultural movement of the 18th century, as well as its overriding goals: to subject all authorities, traditions, and hierarchies to the critical measure of a newly defined reason, and to abolish them if they ran counter…
Date: 2019-10-14
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