Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Executive editor of the English version: Andrew Colin Gow

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The Encyclopedia of Early Modern History is the English edition of the German-language Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. This 15-volume reference work, published in print between 2005 and 2012 and here available online, offers a multi-faceted view on the decisive era in European history stretching from ca. 1450 to ca. 1850 ce. in over 4,000 entries.
The perspective of this work is European. This is not to say that the rest of the World is ignored – on the contrary, the interaction between European and other cultures receives extensive attention.

New articles will be added on a regular basis during the period of translation, for the complete German version see Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit Online.

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(1,152 words)

Author(s): Babel, Rainer
1. Holy Roman Empire The word cabinet (German Kabinett), derived from the French cabinet, originally meant a small and intimate room. From the 17th century in the German-speaking world, it began to be used in place of Kammer (“chamber”) to denote the work and council chamber of the ruler and, in a figurative sense, the apparatus of supreme executive power. Zedler’s Universal-Lexikon, for instance, defined Cabinet as the sanctuarium principis (“sanctum of the prince”), which “great lords have set aside for when they wish to discuss and negotiate the most secret an…
Date: 2019-10-14

Cabinet of curiosities

(1,031 words)

Author(s): Rosenke, Stephan
Cabinets of curiosities (also Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, cabinets of wonder, wonder-rooms, etcetera) were a form of collection that had their heyday in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and faded into obscurity in the 18th and 19th centuries. Unlike the later, specialist museum and learned scholarly collection in the stricter sense, cabinets of curiosities assembled objects from a wide variety of spheres, including art objects, naturalia, mechanical and scientific instruments, and everyday objects from other cultures.According to [7], the earliest antecedents of the…
Date: 2019-10-14


(999 words)

Author(s): Schüren, Ute
1. Term and concept Cacique was a term first borrowed into Spanish from Arawak by Columbus, and it originally denoted the Taíno chieftains ( kassequa) of the island of Hispaniola. During the Conquista and the Spanish colonial period (Colonial empire), it came to be used to categorize authorities and rulers of all kinds and degrees of power in the subjugated indigenous societies of Latin America [1].The title cacique was used differently from region to region. At first, the local populace continued to use their specific local terms to refer to the cacique, e.g. kuraka in the Andes, latoan…
Date: 2019-10-14


(814 words)

Author(s): Behrisch, Lars | Grüne, Niels
A cadaster is a register and (usually) a mapping of owned land by extent, use and yield for the purposes of raising taxes. In the early phase, cadasters often also included other objects of ownership and taxability (cattle, goods). Since the 18th century many European states set up cadaster so as to gain direct knowledge of the possessions (Possession [law]) of their subjects and thus a uniform key for calculations of tax liability. Previously the raising of taxes, where it was in the hands of t…
Date: 2019-10-14

Cadastral area

(2,618 words)

Author(s): Dix, Andreas
1. Terminology Cadastral areas are the usable agrarian land in a defined area: fields, meadows and pastures, which are allocated in parcels of land to individual agricultural business units. Gardens, areas of  common land and enclosed woodland (Forest) are not generally counted as belonging to the cadastral area [3]. In common usage, the entire area used for agriculture is referred to as “open land” (German  Flur, as for a cadastral area) as distinct from woodland.The fundamental structural element of a cadastral area is the parcel, which can be regarded as a parcel …
Date: 2019-10-14

Cadet school

(1,282 words)

Author(s): Kloosterhuis, Jürgen
1. Concept and purpose Cadet schools (from the French cadet, “younger son”) trained successive generations of officer corps in early modern military systems, after the latter had taken on the form of standing armies. The objective was to create a continuously maintained potential leadership for the regiments with better schooling including military training. The schooling part of this goal was rooted in the knight academy, the general/nobility canon of education for this (foreign languages, riding, fenci…
Date: 2019-10-14

Calculus of variations

(964 words)

Author(s): Fraser, Craig | Rammer, Gerhard
1. Origins The core of the calculus of variations in its simplest form lies in finding a function that maximizes or minimizes a fixed definite integral.. The term calculus of variations was proposed in the 18th century by Leonhard Euler, following Joseph Louis de Lagrange, and refers to the procedure of using extremal conditions to identify the function in question in such a way that the value of the integral changes only minimally with small variations in the function. As a …
Date: 2019-10-14


(5,291 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang | Schostak, Désirée | Messerli, Alfred | Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Term The word calendar derives from the name of the first day of the month in Ancient Rome (Latin Kalendae). From Latin kalendarium (‘debt-book’), it later came to refer to the whole system of reckoning time (Time, reckoning of). All known calendars are based on the alternation of day and night, the recurrent phases of the Moon (OE mona = “Moon”; monađ = “month”), and the course of the seasons through the solar year.Wolfgang Behringer 2. Chronology: early manifestations In all cultures, astronomical phenomena (Astronomy) determine the chronological units of year, month,…
Date: 2020-01-13

Calendar reform

(1,632 words)

Author(s): Koller, Edith
1. Background The Christian calendar, a hybrid of solar and lunar reckoning, combines two functions. First, it serves the reckoning of time (Time, reckoning of) on an astronomical basis (date reckoning). Secondly, it facilitates the reckoning of religious festival. In Christian chronology and computus (the science of calendar reckoning), it was vital to have as astronomically exact a calendar as possible in order to calculate correctly the church holidays, which were tied to the course of the sun …
Date: 2019-10-14


(3 words)

See Cotton
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,733 words)

Author(s): Koch, Ernst | Pfister, Ulrich
1. Theology 1.1. Terminology and geographical spreadThe term Calvinism was originally coined in a pejorative sense by J. Westphal, a Hamburg pastor and disciple of Luther. Besides the work and impact of the Geneva Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564), he extended it to include the influence of the Zürich Reformation movement led by Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and his followers. Thus Calvinist can be used as a synonym of Reformed, for example in the legal language of the Empire after the Peace of Westphalia (1648).Outside Switzerland, Calvinism became influential during the 16t…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3 words)

See Gemmology
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,542 words)

Author(s): Sokoll, Thomas
1. Terminology and historiography The term  cameralism is used in two senses. First, it denotes the economic policy and administration of the public finances of the German territorial state in the age of absolutism.  In this sense, cameralism can be considered the German variant of mercantilism. It is correspondingly difficult to distinguish it from the latter (as a European phenomenon) and from the general political science of public administrations in the 17th and 18th centuries (as a specifically German concern; see Polizeiwissenschaft) [8]; [18]. Second,  cameralism and …
Date: 2019-10-14


(943 words)

Author(s): Dubowy, Norbert
The Italian term camerata, meaning “place of assembly” (derived from the Latin/Italian camera), is attested referring to various gatherings and associations akin to academies around 1600. In the strict sense in the context of musical literature,  camerata has become established as referring to the circle that met in the Florentine palace of Giovanni Maria de’ Bardi, Conte di Vernio, in the 1570s and 1580s. This circle shared a common interest in literature, ancient music, and music theory. The theoretical discussions and practical experiments conducted within the  camerata are re…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,453 words)

Author(s): Schinkel, Eckhard
1. Concept and research Canal is a non-specific term for a water conduit or conveyance system for traffic and transport, provision, clearance or communication. Ship canals (Shipping) are artificial water courses constructed with methods of hydraulic engineering in or between economic areas. Depending on their situation and function a distinction is made between feeder canals, spur and works canals, connecting canals (between rivers or two lakes), navigations (parallel to a river), summit …
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,351 words)

Author(s): Gareis, Iris
1. Term and background The term cannibalism, which Columbus coined in 1492 on his first American voyage, is the early modern equivalent to the older word ‘anthropophagy’ (from Greek ánthrōpos, ‘person’, and phageín, ‘to eat’). In the early modern period, both denoted the consumption of human flesh. The scholarly literature distinguishes between endocannibalism and exocannibalism, the former being the eating of members of one’s own group, the latter of other groups. Authenticated cases of endocannibalism in recent indigenous so…
Date: 2019-10-14


(7 words)

See Artillery | Gunpowder | Weapon
Date: 2019-10-14


(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


(4 words)

See Ladies' foundation
Date: 2019-10-14

Canon law

(804 words)

Author(s): Duve, Thomas
Canon law (from the Gr. kanṓn, Lat. canon, “rule, standard”) is the academic discipline of ecclesiastical law. So-called classical canon law began with Gratian's Decretum ( ca. 1140). In the modern period on the the continent of Europe, the term was primarily applied to the discipline of Catholic church law, while "ecclesiastical law" is predominantly preferred parlance in Protestant churches.So-called classical canon law came to an end in the mid-14th century, to be followed by a period displaying elements of consolidation and stagnation; this lasted…
Date: 2019-10-14
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