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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Name day

(846 words)

Author(s): Koller, Edith
1. ConceptName days and birthdays are “anniversaries shared collectively but celebrated individually” and located in the calendar [7. 79]. They became popular celebrations in the early modern period (Festival), with name days becoming distinctly Catholic in tone and birthdays distinctly Protestant. The celebration of the name day is based on a cyclical concept of time. The festivity is not focused on the individual, but on the annual return of the memory of the saint whose name the day marks. In contrast, the c…
Date: 2020-04-06


(946 words)

Author(s): Kohlheim, Rosa | Kohlheim, Volker
1. ForenamesEarly modern naming was governed by religious, cultural, and political trends. In Germany, forenames of Christian connotation (especially after New Testament figures and saints) generally prevailed at the beginning of the period. Unlike in Romance Europe, the forename Maria was avoided in the German-speaking lands until the 16th century out of religious discretion, only then becoming widespread in both confessions. At first, the Reformation changed little. The inventory of New Testame…
Date: 2020-04-06

Naming law

(8 words)

See Person | Personality, right of
Date: 2020-04-06

Napoleonic Wars

(3,875 words)

Author(s): Carl, Horst
1. Introduction The term “Napoleonic Wars” denotes the warfare in Europe between 1798/99 or 1803, and 1815. The attribute “Napoleonic” emphasizes the central role of Napoleon Bonaparte, who placed his political and military mark on this period in European history. As Emperor of the French, he took responsibility for a far-reaching hegemonic policy of conquest across Europe, the successes and ultimate failure of which were military in origin. The term Napoleonic Wars is mainly used in the English and French-speaking worlds [8]; [23]; [10]; [22], and it distinguishes this pha…
Date: 2020-04-06

Narrative literature

(8 words)

See Literature | Novel | Novella
Date: 2020-04-06


(10 words)

See Corporation | Student association | Trading settlement
Date: 2020-04-06

National anthem

(9 words)

See Anthem | Hymn (genre) | Marseillaise
Date: 2020-04-06

National assembly

(1,381 words)

Author(s): Best, Heinrich
1. ConceptA national assembly is a popular representative body that meets as a legislature (Parliament) to debate and decide fundamental issues of state. In the case of constituent assemblies, those issues generally relate to establishing the institutional basis for the political organization of a nation, specifically promulgating a constitution. Where they meet in conditions of disruption to state power, their legitimacy is often disputed. A national assembly gains its authority through a regula…
Date: 2020-04-06

National church

(2,810 words)

Author(s): Klieber, Rupert
1. DefinitionThe phrase shares the vagueness of it elements ‘nation’ and ‘church’. It is therefore not clearly definable legally or theologically, and scholars often use it descriptively (“efforts toward a national church”). In strict usage, it denotes an autonomously constituted church that embraces a nation (defined politically or ethnically) or is recognized by most of the nation’s members as “their” church. In a broader sense, the expression also denotes churches of individual states or ethni…
Date: 2020-04-06

National history

(1,052 words)

Author(s): Hirschi, Caspar
1. Concept and characteristicsThe term “national history” denotes on the one hand the construct of a past context of events that is identified with the destiny of a nation, and on the other hand the historiographic process of describing that context, and thus also to some extent of fabricating it. To preserve the distinction between these two senses, it seems wise to use the term “national myth” to refer to the construct of the past – “myth” here not implying fiction or falsehood, but rather a narr…
Date: 2020-04-06


(7 words)

See Nation, nationalism | Political religion
Date: 2020-04-06


(4 words)

See Citizenship
Date: 2020-04-06

National language

(1,642 words)

Author(s): Haarmann, Harald
1. IntroductionIt is self-evident to citizens of Europe today that the languages of their home countries function as means of communication on all political levels of the European Union on an equal basis. Yet the process whereby the languages of the European nations were defined and developed into effective instruments of communication in all fields of life was a long and problematic one. Even today, there is still a widespread view that the history of the national languages of Europe began in th…
Date: 2020-04-06

National literature

(12 words)

See Language, literary | Literary historiography | World literature
Date: 2020-04-06

National monument

(861 words)

Author(s): Freytag, Nils
National monuments in the broadest sense are large sculptural or architectural objects that symbolically evoke a community that perceives itself as a nation, or are themselves intended to engender such an “imagined order.” They may express a society’s understanding of itself and serve the public dissemination of political, cultural, and social values or ideas by calling to mind historical figures, groups, and events or representing an idea. Such sacral places of commemoration may be structures of a wide range of types, including columns, temples, or churches.Modern nationalism…
Date: 2020-04-06

National myth

(5,678 words)

Author(s): Hirschi, Caspar | König, Hans-Joachim | Rinke, Stefan
1. Concept and introductionAny narrative giving an account of factual or fictional events as a contribution to the construction and cohesion of a nation may be called a national myth. Every ruling organization produces “consolidated histories” (“fundierende Geschichten”) [13. 52] attesting to its heroic origins and a past marked by tough challenges successfully passed, and prophesying a great future. In this way, power structures acquire the appearance of a higher necessity, and rulers and ruled become integrated into a unique and…
Date: 2020-04-06

National style (music)

(774 words)

Author(s): Siegert, Christine
National style offers just one possible category for differentiating musical phenomena according to stylistic peculiarities. Others include epoch, genre, or personal style, while recently musical style has also been defined as “a replication of patterning [...] in human behavior” [4. 3]. As a historical construct, national style is itself a subject of research, which illustrates the “fundamental methodological problems” inherent in the use of this category [3. 35].After first beginnings from the 14th century [3], the idea of attributing stylistic differences to n…
Date: 2020-04-06

National symbol

(786 words)

Author(s): Freytag, Nils
A national symbol may be any object, sign, or emblem that carries additional meaning and represents a cultural or political nation. It is a basic element of national identification and communication, and of national action. The meanings of national symbols may evolve and be replaced, being invoked, or indeed constructed, in their political, social, and cultural application. As a rule, they are closely associated with the real or invented tradition of the “imagined order” of the nation…
Date: 2020-04-06

National theater

(1,011 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Claudia
1. ConceptA national theater today is a highly renowned, often subsidized theatrical institution of a state or country, usually in its capital city. In the 18th and 19th centuries, however, it was a model venue for performances in the national language. The first institution endowed with this role as cultural policy was the Comédie Française (or Théâtre Français), founded in 1680 by King Louis XIV to merge the two leading Parisian troupes of actors and cultivate the works of Molière, Corneille, a…
Date: 2020-04-06

Nation, nationalism

(9,636 words)

Author(s): Stauber, Reinhard
1. Terminological historyTo this day, the nation remains a central political concept of apparently uninterrupted allure. It has claimed for itself the status of a supreme, quasi-religious value. In its name, public servants are sworn in, judgments passed, wars waged, and masses of people mobilized.  Despite the growing importance of supra-national institutions, the collapse of state structures in many parts of the world, the revival of religion as a political driving force in the Islamic world, an…
Date: 2020-04-06
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