(719 words)

Anarchy (from the Greek an-archía) means “state of being without government” or “without a leader.” Although there are many instances of the use of the term in Greek Antiquity (e.g. in Homer, Aristotle, Plato), it seems hardly to have been used in Roman Antiquity or the Middle Ages [2]. However, the Latinized form anarchia did come into wide use in the first phase of the early modern period. The original meaning was retained in lexica of the 17th and early 18th centuries, although anarchy was also understood in the sense of “absence of authority” and “chaos” [2].

The concept was refine…

Cite this page
Hering Torres, Max Sebastián, “Anarchy”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 18 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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