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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(1,158 words)

Author(s): Müller-Jahncke, Wolf-Dieter
1. Concept and principles Early modern physicians who used the constellations in diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy, called themselves  iatromathematici (from the Greek  iatrós, “physician”, and the Latin  mathematicus, “astronomer”, “astrologer”; hence also “astromedicine”). No distinction was made between astronomers and astrologers before the 17th century (Astronomy; Astrology), for both were concerned with observing the stars. The  astronomus undertook the calculation of their paths and relative positions, while the astrologus (often the same person) inter…
Date: 2019-10-14

Iatrochemistry (chymiatria)

(951 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Müller-Jahncke, Wolf-Dieter
1. Definition and basicsWhile the influence of iatroastrology, like that of iatromagic, waned after the 17th century, with the appearance of Paracelsus’ works beginning in 1560, the importance of chemistry as a cornerstone of the new concept of life increased (Paracelsism; Chemical sciences). The central assertion that all life processes are essentially chemical solidified into the intellectual system of iatrochemistry (from Greek  iatrós, “physician,” and neo-Latin ( al) chemía, “chemistry”; also called chemiatry and chymiatry) [7]; [3]; [6].The iatrochemistry of the …
Date: 2019-10-14


(765 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. BasicsIatrophysics (from Greek  iatrós, “Arzt”; physis, “inanimate nature”) was a 17th and 18th-century theory and practice of medicine that interpreted all phenomena of health and illness as dependent on the internal physical structure of the body, its external form, and mechanical alterability [5]. With reductionistic simplification, it attempted to apply the findings of the new experimental natural sciences to the realm of life, where everything must also be explicable physically, reconstructible mechanically (iatromechanics), …
Date: 2019-10-14


(4 words)

See Religious iconography
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,022 words)

Author(s): Wiggermann, Uta
1. Definition and medieval developmentThe term  iconoclasm denotes the repudiation and destruction of cultic images. The great iconoclastic controversy of the 8th and 9th centuries [2] was the background and reference framework for early modern iconoclasm. In it the potential for theological and political conflict that had always been inherent in the early Christian cult of images exploded with a vengeance.The initial spark igniting the iconoclastic controversy of the early Middle Ages was kindled by the sermons preached by the Byzantine emperor Leo…
Date: 2019-10-14


(972 words)

Author(s): Kanz, Roland
1. Concept The term iconography derives from the Greek ei kṓn (“image”) and  gráphein (“to write”, “to describe”) and denotes the study of the content of images. However, this sense was acquired in the discipline of art history only in the 19th century. In general, iconography is concerned with all objects, forms, and designs in representations insofar as they comprise a system of signs that can express social, historical, religious, or aesthetic conditions or ideas. Insofar as iconography helps to explain w…
Date: 2019-10-14


(819 words)

Author(s): Kanz, Roland
The Latin term idea has perevaded the history of philosophical thought since Plato [2]; [4] (see Idealism). In early modern aesthetics (Art theory), the concept of the idea in the sense of self-reflection on artistic creativity was discussed to secure the intellectual status of the fine arts – and thus of the artist as well. In this context,  idea (German  Idee, French  idée) referred to all genres of art; in the creative process that led to a work of art, it denoted the idea of the beautiful formed in the mind, which manifests itself as an inspira…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ideal city

(952 words)

Author(s): Winter, Sascha
1. DefinitionAn ideal city is a projection – in a text, an image, or a city plan – in which the formal aesthetic and socio-political ideals of an era are reflected (see Utopia). Designs for ideal cities are found in almost all cultures, from antiquity to the present. Most of the plans are committed to a rigorous geometry. The contours of the urban areas are based on the basic forms of the circle and the square; the articulation of the urban space is based on grid and radial systems, with central …
Date: 2019-10-14


(947 words)

Author(s): Lehmann-Brauns, Sicco
1. DefinitionSince the 18th century, the term idealism has been used to characterize philosophical theories that champion the priority of a mental reality vis-à-vis the material external world. But the term has quite different connotations in different languages, which arise from differering understandings of the term idea. In the German-speaking world,  idea stands in the Platonic tradition (Platonism), usually in the sense of a general concept of something that exists outside the individual consciousness; in English and French philosophy, …
Date: 2019-10-14


(4,038 words)

Author(s): Jarzebowski, Claudia | Schmale, Wolfgang | Leppin, Volker
1. Introduction A universally valid definition of identity is as elusive for the early modern period as for the late. The concept derives from two distinct traditions of research. Anglophone social psychology characterizes identity as a characteristic of the modern individual [6], whereas German ethnology prefers the term Identität in clear rejection of the older and ideologically explosive term  Volksgeist (“folk spirit”) [2]. The concept of identity is disputed among historians [14]. From an actor-centered perspective in particular, doubts are articulated ov…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ideology, political

(4 words)

See Party
Date: 2019-10-14


(954 words)

Author(s): Sokoll, Thomas
The modern English “idle” derives from the Old English idel (“empty; worthless”; cf. Old Dutch idil, OHG ital, modern German eitel “vain, useless”). Alongside its original meaning of “worthless” or “purposeless,” it subsequently acquired a range of accents ranging from the neutral to the pejorative: “not employed” (of people, late OE); “lazy” or “slothful” (of people, from 14th century); “not doing work” (of things, from 1520s); “foolish; delirious; wandering in the mind” (from late 16th century; cf. “idle threat”).Precisely the same range of meanings, significantly, i…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,140 words)

Author(s): Böhm, Elisabeth
1. Definition and origin In a broader sense, an idyll is an artistic representation of a “blessed world,” and in a stricter sense a short, usually epic or lyrical text, generally written in hexameters and related to pastoral poetry. The evolution of the literary genre can be traced back to antiquity, and from the earliest times it was considered the most pristine and simplest form of poetry [1. 582]. The tradition was founded with the Idylls of the Hellenistic poet Theocritus and Virgil’s  Eclogues, the content and form of which later authors took up. The Greek  eidyllion denotes a “s…
Date: 2019-10-14