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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Macartney Embassy

(1,051 words)

Author(s): Mittag, Achim
1. Background and history “As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures” [3. 340] – this brusque dismissal of British hopes for a relaxation of trade conditions by the elderly Qianlong Emperor formed the centerpiece of the letter George Macartney was given at the end of his 1793 mission to the Chinese court to submit to King George III of Great Britain. Other British requests, also denied, concerned a permanent emba…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,277 words)

Author(s): Zwierlein, Cornel | Meyer, Annette
1. Concept and overviewThe term “Machiavellianism” is derived from the name of the Florentine Niccolò Machiavelli, and in general denotes a political strategy that is judged amoral or tyrannical [7. 92]. It refers to the political treatises of Machiavelli, particularly Il Principe (1532; “The Prince”) and  Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio (1531; “Discourses on the first decade of Titus Livius”), and especially to those passages in these works that commend dissimulation (Lie), betrayal, and cruelty to rulers as means of enforcing their …
Date: 2019-10-14


(8,634 words)

Author(s): Popplow, Marcus | Pichol, Karl | Reith, Reinhold | Mende, Michael
1. General remarksMachines were in use in Europe long before industrialization. The watermill was in widespread use going back to antiquity, and there were tens of thousands of working mills in Europe at the beginning of the modern era, including mills for grain and for other rough work like crushing, for example of hides for tanning (Leather production), or for pounding the components of gunpowder. Machines of this sort, along with cranes (Lifting apparatus) and pumping stations (Water and the ar…
Date: 2019-10-14

Machine book

(5 words)

See Technical literature
Date: 2019-10-14


(758 words)

Author(s): Buchner, Thomas
Machine-breaking refers to the destruction of machines as a form of social protest. The phenomenon is attested going back to the early modern era but was most associated with early industrialization. Machine-breaking is attested in contexts in which the introduction of the new machines was interpreted as squeezing out (often highly skilled) human work, especially in the textile industry, but also in metal-working and agriculture.Machine-breaking reached its initial high point in England in the second half of the 18th and the early 19th centuries. The Luddi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Machine tool

(774 words)

Author(s): Pichol, Karl
The term  machine tool first appeared in reports on the World Exhibition in London in 1851 [4. 108]; the German equivalent also first became commonly used in the second half of the 19th century. However, authors of German engineering textbooks, like Ferdinand Jakob Redtenbacher (1860), Julius Ludwig Weisbach, and Gustav Herrmann (1875) intially used it less often than French authors, who openly included machine tools among work machines. In 1846, Weisbach claimed “no essential difference” between tool and machine [3. 73]. The British distinction between  hand tool and machine…
Date: 2019-10-14


(5 words)

See Dietetics | Medicine
Date: 2019-10-14


(5 words)

See Marian devotion
Date: 2019-10-14


(3 words)

See School
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,511 words)

Author(s): Mautner, Hendrikje
1. Precursors and originsIn the first half of the 14th century, madrigale was an Italian poetic genre, the leading exponents of which included Petrarch. At first, the term occurred only in treatises on literary forms (Poetry), but the madrigal as a musical form also began to find its way into musical treatises from the second half of the 14th century. The trecento madrigal, based on strictly defined rules of form and versification, disappeared from musical sources early in the 15th century.Hendrikje Mautner2. Centers in the first half of the 16th century 2.1. FlorenceAround 1530, …
Date: 2019-10-14


(4 words)

See Patron
Date: 2019-10-14

Magazine (military)

(771 words)

Author(s): Kroener, Bernhard
The word “magazine” comes from the Arabic makhâzin, which means “storehouse.” It arrived in the Romance language region from around 1400, initially in this general sense, probably in connection with the commercial relationships of the Italian city states (Italian  maggazzino; Spanish  magacén; French  magasin).As armies increased in size from the early 16th century, magazines were built, sporadically at first, to supply troops in the field (Charles V 1522). A regulated system of magazines was set up in France from the second half of the…
Date: 2019-10-14

Magdeburg Centuries

(724 words)

Author(s): Pohlig, Matthias
1. Concept and originsThe Magdeburg Centuries is the most famous work of ecclesiastical historiography produced by early modern Protestantism. This open-ended survey of church history was composed between 1553 and 1574 at Magdeburg, Jena, and Wismar. Its eleven volumes appeared between 1559 and 1574 at Basel, and covered the period from the 1st to the 13th centuries. There is also a handwritten history of the Reformation. The original title  Historia Ecclesiastica (“Ecclesiastical History”) was quickly overtaken by the nickname Magdeburg Centuries, which indicates that…
Date: 2019-10-14

Magellan, Strait of

(7 words)

See Maritime trading routes
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,448 words)

Author(s): Labouvie, Eva | Neugebauer-Wölk, Monika
1. Popular culture and way of life 1.1. Concept and historical evaluationsUntil the European Age of Enlightenment, magic involved a belief in the existence of supernatural forces occurring within or beyond one's own group, forces attributed to demons (Demonology), people, nature in general, or objects or substances. Where these forces were harmful, collective, or individual, measures had to be undertaken to counter them. Concepts of magic involved the belief that it was possible to influence everyday life …
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,017 words)

Author(s): Asch, Ronald G.
1. DefinitionA magnate (Neolatin from magnus, “great”) here means a member of a European nobility group of the early modern period, whose status, power, and wealth brought him an outstanding position of leadership within the nobility, often with privileged access to state resources and offices and the power to exercise considerable political influence, even as an individual. Classical examples of this type of noble magnates were the Grandees of Spain, who around 1700 comprised a class of around 100 p…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,867 words)

Author(s): Jonkers, Art Roeland Theo | Steinle, Friedrich
1. Concept The attractive power of natural magnets (i.e. lodestones; Latin  magnes; German  Magnetstein; French  aimant; Italian  magnete) was already reported in antiquity. In the 12th century, the north-south alignment of magnetized iron needles became known in Europe, and magnetism acquired its first eminent practical application in the form of the compass. Often mentioned in a single breath in antiquity, magnetism and electricity came to be treated as quite distinct in the early modern period. Only with the …
Date: 2019-10-14

Mahdi movements

(837 words)

Author(s): Reichmuth, Stefan
1. Early Islam“The Rightly-Guided One” (Arabic  al-mahdī) in Islam is an attribute of the prophet and his first successors, the Caliphs, whose “right guidance” (Arabic  al-hudā) by God was genera…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,442 words)

Author(s): Flüchter, Antje | Ulbrich, Claudia
1. “Magd” in the German landsThe German term Magd (“maid”; OHG  magat, MHG  maget, magt, Dutch  maagd, Frisian  megith) at first denoted an unmarried adult woman, but came in particular to refer to rural female servants in husbandry.The Magd, as a seasonal rural laborer, was – like the  Knecht – widespread in regions where the European marriage pattern and the nuclear family centered on a married couple were customary. Service as a maid in rural society accordingly marked a phase in the usual course of life (Curriculum vitae). Such service…
Date: 2019-10-14

Maidenhood, maidenhead

(4 words)

See Virginity
Date: 2019-10-14
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