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Communication

(6,688 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. ConceptIn a general sense, communication (Latin  communicatio, “making common,” “imparting”) denotes all possible forms of exchange within and between systems. Scholarly definitions have been developed in all fields from biology to sociology, but not even within the social sciences are such definitions transferable. Historiography turned its attention to the theme of communication only at a late date.Communication takes place on the microhistorical as on the macrohistorical scale. In a historical perspective, the introduction of new media of comm…
Date: 2019-10-14

Network

(759 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
The concept of the network, as developed in sociology in the late 20th century [8], can also be applied to earlier eras and is useful as a measure of structural development in the organization of the everyday world [7]. A distinction must be made between (1) networks supported by people or institutions, and (2) material forms of infrastructure that placed communications as a whole on a new foundation and brought media revolutions [2]. Further distinctions can be made between organizational and structural/material levels. On the whole it can be said that incre…
Date: 2020-04-06

Curse

(859 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
According to the definition of curse (German  Fluch) in Zedler's  Universal-Lexicon, a curse is “a speech by which we wish someone ill” [1. 1337]. In fact, to wish well (Latin  benedicere) and to wish ill (Latin  maledicere) are linked. Both rely on belief in the power of the word, particularly when that word is spoken by an authority adhering to particular formulae and rituals. To this category belong so-called “curse psalms” and “curse masses.” The curse is a counterpart to the prayer, which, directed to God, is intended to pro…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ball game

(1,106 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Educational ideal From the Renaissance on, Humanist pedagogues attempted to associate the love of ball games with ancient traditions (e.g. Galen), but the modern term derives not from the Latin pila but from the Germanic  ball (Italian  palla). Humanist teachers and princes’ tutors of the 15th century, like Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino da Verona, ennobled the ball game by placing it alongside equestrian exercises. Baldassare Castiglione’s Courtier ( Cortegiano, 1528) admitted it to the Olympus of noble education. Ball games went to the heart of the ed…
Date: 2019-10-14

Christmas

(1,158 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. MeaningChristmas, the festival of the “birthday of the Lord” (Latin: nativitatis Domini, natalis Domini), has been celebrated on December 25 since 354, probably in order to suppress the birthday festival of the pagan god Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun). The Christmas liturgy is informed by thanksgiving for the birth of Jesus Christ and the associated Christian hope for redemption. The English designation as “the mass of Christ” is attested since late Middle English ( Christes mæsse). The German word  Weihnachten (literally “consecrated” or “holy night”), though usu…
Date: 2019-10-14

News, currentness of

(1,300 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. OriginsFrom the Renaissance, it increasingly became essential to politics and emergent merchant capitalism for information to be up to date. This led to the formation of specialist systems for the professional conveyance of news. Cities, courts, monasteries, and merchants employed couriers (Messenger service). According to the sources, the first relays of mounted couriers were set up by Duke Giangaleazzo Visconti (1395–1402) of Milan. They produced the earliest surviving remains of the time sh…
Date: 2020-04-06

Gymnastics

(930 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Terminology The German word for gymnastics, Turnen, was coined by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in the early 19th century, with some ideological baggage (Gymnastics Movement 1.); the equivalents in other languages (Eng.  gymnastics, Ital.  ginnastica, etc.) show that the kinds of sport subsumed under the term can look back on a long tradition. Gymnastics includes floor exercises, apparatus work, vaulting, and acrobatic and general gymnastic exercises. Today the German Gymnastics Association and the  Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique also include dancing, ball gam…
Date: 2019-10-14

Carnival

(1,214 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Term Carnival is derived from the Latin carnislevamen and Italian carnelevare (‘removal of meat’) or simply the jocular Latin interjection carne vale (‘Meat, farewell!’), and denotes abstention from all “fleshly” pleasures at the beginning of the Lenten fast. The term carnival is widely used in the Romance languages and English, and since the 17th century in the Rhineland (German Karneval). Elsewhere in the German-speaking world, the usual terms are Fastnacht or Fasnet, and in Bavaria and Austria Fasching is commonplace (from MHG vast-schanc, the last drink before Lent).Wolfga…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fairy

(857 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
The term ‘fairy’ is derived, via French, from the Vulgar Latin fata (“goddess of destiny”; fatum = fate). The most intensive transmission of the fairy concept, which incorporates traditions from Classical Antiquity and elsewhere in the Indo-European world, has been in Celtic literature, where the enchantress Morgan le Fay (hence  “Fata Morgana”) in the world of Arthurian legend represents its most famous manifestation. The fairy tradition, already apparent in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (14th century), was rediscovered in the 16th century and given new dire…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fuggerzeitung

(973 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Name and sources The Fuggerzeitung was a collection of letters, composed in the second half of the 16th century and containing reports and messages on political and economic matters, sent to the Augsburg merchant dynasty the Fugger family. With 27 surviving volumes of these letters from all over Europe, the Fuggerzeitung is the biggest collection of its kind.In an inventory written on the death of Octavian Secundus Fugger (1600), it was described as “a miscellany of German and Romance-language reports written between 1569 and 1599 on white parchme…
Date: 2019-10-14

Influenza

(890 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. TerminologyAlthough the term  influenza appears as early as 1504 in the chronicle of the Florentine apothecary Luca Landucci, a coherent terminology was not established until 1742/1743. According to a report in the  London Magazine of 1743 (“News from Rome of a Contagious Distemper Raging There, Call’d the Influenza”), the term was borrowed into English on the occasion of the influenza epidemic of that year. At roughly the same time, people in France began to call the illness  la grippe.While the Italian term focused on the supposed cause – the “influence of the stars” ( influenz…
Date: 2019-10-14

Aerial voyage

(953 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. General In the modern period, theoretical reflections and experiments devoted to flight were flanked by reports of supposed or actual aerial voyages, which could serve as a narrative framework for the presentation of scientific observations or a social utopia. They reflected the cosmological notions of the period and—especially in the era of the Scientific Revolution—the transition from the geocentric to the Copernican model of the world (Copernican Revolution) or from Aristotelian physics to the world view of Giordano Brunos and Isaac Newtons [3]. With the progress …
Date: 2019-10-14

Courier

(710 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
Today the couriers of the early modern period are frequently confused with post riders (Mail) or messengers. All three – couriers, post riders, and messengers – had to overcome distances and bring news under the dictates of speed (Quickness)The literature on the history of communication makes a clear distinction between mail and the courier system [6]. A courier was not an employee of a messenger service or a postal organization, but was instead “a person dispatched to distant places to convey complex oral or written news regarding important matters” [1], in other words a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Everyday world

(7,635 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Theoretical aspects 1.1. The everyday world as a key historical categoryThe everyday world is both a universal and a particular category. It encompasses material circumstances and their subjective perception and interpretation in thought and feeling (Mentality), recurring behavioral routines (Rituals, games [Play, game], Sports), in some cases beings concentrated to become a habitus (Honors, Festivals, Popular culture); in a more extended sense, it also encompasses the media of perception and symbol sys…
Date: 2019-10-14

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
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