Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

Get access Subject: History

Executive editor of the English version: Andrew Colin Gow

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

Machiavellianism

(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

Machine

(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

Machine-breaking

(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

Macrobiotics

(5 words)

See Dietetics | Medicine
Date: 2019-10-14

Madonna

(5 words)

See Marian devotion
Date: 2019-10-14

Madrasa

(3 words)

See School
Date: 2019-10-14

Madrigal

(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

Maecenas

(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

Magic

(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

Magnate

(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

Magnetism

(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 generally recognized by early Muslims. This consensus collapsed in the course of the rapid expansion of the Caliphate and in the deep conflicts of interest that came with the construction of state institutions and the distribution of profits from conquest. For a time, these led to the splitting of the Caliphate and two early Muslim civil wars (656-661, 683-692 CE).The hope for the restoration…
Date: 2019-10-14

Maid

(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

Mail

(3,057 words)

Author(s): Beyrer, Klaus
1. IntroductionThe establishment of the mail has a particular prominence among the accomplishments in early modern communication. From the 16th century until well into the 19th, the mail was crucial to the infrastructure of all land transportation, and thus for the transportation and conveyance of letters and news, monies, goods, and passengers (Land transport; Passenger transportation). Founded by the future Emperor Maximilian I for the purpose of conveying government dispatches, the mail soon d…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mail, inviolability of the

(7 words)

See Censorship
Date: 2019-10-14

Mains, water

(5 words)

See Water supply
Date: 2019-10-14

Maintenance

(1,044 words)

Author(s): Scholz-Löhnig, Cordula
1. IntroductionMaintenance is the provision of payments to people who are unable to support themselves. A distinction is made between maintenance between spouses and between other relatives, especially parents and children. Maintenance obligations in the early modern period were regulated by law. Marriage contracts generally contained no such provisions.Cordula Scholz-Löhnig2. Claims between parents and children 2.1. Early modern periodIn the first centuries of the early modern period, the right to maintenance was not yet found as a distinct legal in…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mainz, Republic of

(1,343 words)

Author(s): Reichardt, Rolf
1. HistoryUnlike the later Républiques-sœurs of revolutionary France, the Republic of Mainz [6] was still true to the ideology of liberation of the early days of the French republic, with its slogan “Friede den Hütten, Krieg den Palästen” (“Peace to the shacks, war on the palaces” (French Revolution [1789]). Although it was subject to the directives of an occupation, it developed a striking political life of its own, insofar as this was possible in just six months. A few days after the flight of the El…
Date: 2019-10-14

Maize

(809 words)

Author(s): Mahlerwein, Gunter
The domestication of maize ( Zea mays) from the wild grass teosinte took place 6,000 years ago in what is now southern Mexico. From there, the cultivation of maize spread across North, Central, and South America [5]; [6], and it formed the nutritional basis for the pre-Columbian high cultures [3. 166]. The European history of maize began with the very first voyage of Columbus, who discovered and described maize plantations on the islands of the West Indies in 1492. Participants in his second expedition took the first kernels to Europe [6]; [5]. The crop spread rapidly in Europe, …
Date: 2019-10-14

Majority (legal age)

(11 words)

See Criminal responsibility | Guardianship | Person
Date: 2019-10-14

Majority principle

(888 words)

Author(s): Strohmeyer, Arno
1. DefinitionThe majority principle is a key technique for decision-making in groups, committees, and organizations. It depends on equating the will of the majority with that of the entire body, and therefore stands in potential conflict with unanimity and personal freedom. Distinctions are made between absolute majority (majority of all possible votes), simple majority (majority of votes actually cast), relative majority (or plurality, with one proposal receiving more votes than any other), and qualified majority (defined majority, e.g. two-thirds).Arno Strohmeyer2. Earl…
Date: 2019-10-14

Malaria

(3 words)

See Fever
Date: 2019-10-14

Malediction

(3 words)

See Curse
Date: 2019-10-14

Malnourishment, malnutrition

(10 words)

See Famine and food riots | Food
Date: 2019-10-14

Malthusianism

(1,096 words)

Author(s): Ferdinand, Ursula
1. Concept: origins and developmentIn his  Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), the English theologian and economist Thomas Robert Malthus asserted that the human population naturally grew more quickly than did the production of the resources necessary for its sustenance. He therefore introduced a pessimistic turn in the debate on human progress (Humankind, human being), founding a paradigm shift in thinking on the theory and politics of population (see below, 2.) [10]; [11]. Malthus’ “law of population” made poverty a necessary consequence of populatio…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mamluks

(875 words)

Author(s): Fuess, Albrecht
1. IntroductionMamluk (from the Arabic  mamluk, “in possession”) is the name given to the slave dynasties that ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517 [5], and the military leaders and governors ascended from the slave class who managed to achieve substantial autonomy in the course of the 18th century in various Arabic provinces of the Ottoman Empire (especially Egypt, Baghdad, and Mosul) [7]; [8]; [9]. The phenomenon of military slavery was important in the history of Muslim societies from as early as the 9th century. Young slaves were bought outside th…
Date: 2019-10-14

Man

(6 words)

See Humanity | Humankind, human being
Date: 2019-10-14

Manchu

(980 words)

Author(s): Theobald, Ulrich
The Manchu (or Manchurians) were one of the peoples of the northern forest and steppe zone of east Asia, who succeeded in establishing an imperial dynasty in China as foreign rulers. The derivation of the term Manchu has not been established with certainty. It was first mentioned in 1599, and from 1635 it officially replaced the old ethnonym Jurchen. Ethnically and linguistically speaking, the Manchu belonged to the Tungusic group of the Altai peoples. They inhabited the northeastern region of China (now Manchuria).The Manchu tribes always had close relations with the China …
Date: 2019-10-14

Mandarin

(942 words)

Author(s): Mittag, Achim
1. Concept The word “mandarin,” first attested in English and German ( Mandarin) around 1630, derives from the Portuguese  mandarim, which in turn goes back to the Malay menteri and Sanskrit mantrin (“minister,” “advisor”; from Sanskrit mantra, “advice”). In this sense, the Portuguese were the first to apply it to members of the Chinese bureaucratic class, and many other European languages adopted the usage. The term was later extended to other areas of the Chinese cultural sphere, especially the northern dialect of the formal spoken language “Mandarin [Chinese]” (Chinese  guanhua…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mandate

(775 words)

Author(s): Strohmeyer, Arno
In a broad sense, a mandate is any form of commission from a third party. In a political context, it implies a central theme of the modern discourse on parliamentarianism, namely the binding of the elected deputy to the will of the electorate. The problem dates back to the instructing of delegates to the late medieval estates assemblies (Estates, assembly of) and the scope of their entitlement to negotiate. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the problem of the mandate acquired a new dimension…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mandate of Heaven

(5 words)

See Emperor
Date: 2019-10-14

Mandatory loan

(867 words)

Author(s): Pfister, Ulrich
A bond is a documented promise to pay, with a stipulated interest rate, term, and method of redemption. Unlike credit or a loan for consumption, a bond is negotiable, that is, it can be resold. In this sense, a bond is similar to a bill of exchange, but the latter usually has a term of less than a year, whereas a bond has a longer term. The distinction between the money market and the capital market is analogous. Ever since the latter was created in the 17th century, bond trading has been its primary activity. The payment promised at final maturity represents a rate of 100%. Both…
Date: 2019-10-14

Manier, maniera

(4 words)

See Mannerism
Date: 2019-10-14

Manifest Destiny

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Rinke, Stefan
1. ConceptThe complex of ideas associated with the concept of the Manifest Destiny of the United States is best described as the notion of its quasi-divine mission of territorial expansion (Expansionism) and of the history of the United States as the fulfillment of that mission.  John L. O'Sullivan, a New York journalist and politician of the Democratic Party, coined the phrase in an 1845 essay in the periodical he edited, the United States Magazine and Democratic Review: “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development…
Date: 2019-10-14

Manifesto, Communist

(5 words)

See Communist Manifesto
Date: 2019-10-14

Mankind

(8 words)

See Humanity | Humankind, human being
Date: 2019-10-14

Männerbund

(5 words)

See Men's associations
Date: 2019-10-14

Mannerism

(4,770 words)

Author(s): Kanz, Roland | Zymner, Rüdiger | Langenbruch, Anna
1. IntroductionMannerism in art, literature, and music is generally defined as the characteristic of a self-consciously elaborate or artificial style, and in art history in particular as an epoch located between the Renaissance and the Baroque. The term was coined in art studies in the late 18th century as a derivative of  “manner” (see below, 2.1.). In this context, it refers to a period between around 1520/30 and 1590/1600, a phase supposedly displaying symptoms of decadence in art and architec…
Date: 2019-10-14

Manners

(1,434 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. A social idealManners were understood from the late 15th century as the sum of all behaviors that expressed politeness or courtesy (German Höflichkeit; Italian  cortesia, gentilezza; Spanish  cortesía; French  politesse, civilité, towards ladies also  courtoisie and  galanterie; Dame) in practice. These were therefore more than merely forms of conduct corresponding to applicable social rules. Such prescribed conduct differed in the early modern period according to gender, estate, profession, confession, and social, ethnic, and…
Date: 2019-10-14

Manners, table

(7 words)

See Dining | Table culture
Date: 2019-10-14

Manor

(757 words)

Author(s): Flügel, Axel
The term manor (German Rittergut) denotes a legal status deriving from a rural ensemble consisting of a manor house, agricultural uses belonging to it, and other entitlements (Estate). The German  Rittergut was only loosely related to the medieval estate of the  Ritter (Knights). The term has nothing to do with the  Reichsritterschaft (“Imperial Knights of the Holy Roman Empire”); it is related instead to the process of state formation in the early modern period. In 19th-century Germany, it took on great importance in the debates over constitutional monarchy. The term  landown…
Date: 2019-10-14

Manorial economy

(6 words)

See Estate | Gutsherrschaft
Date: 2019-10-14

Manorialism

(2,886 words)

Author(s): Blickle, Peter
1. TerminologyThe term “manorialism” (also, “seigneurialism”; German: Grundherrschaft) designates the medieval economic system that was based on individual units of land known as “manors” or “seigneuries,” each of which was subject to a “lord of the manor” or “seigneur” (German:  Grundherr). Modern medieval historians view the rise of manorialism in the early Middle Ages as a key factor in the peculiar development of Europe. Its effective organization of labor, which combined seigneurial self-sufficiency (“Salic patrimony”) centered o…
Date: 2019-10-14
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