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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Eidgenossenschaft

(4 words)

See Swiss Confederation
Date: 2019-10-14

Eilwagen

(847 words)

Author(s): Beyrer, Klaus
In Germany in the early 19th century, the term Eilwagen (literally “rapid carriage”) denoted a specific organizational form in scheduled postal passenger transportation. Its basis was the principle of optimized conveyance at the greatest possible speed. This acceleration, which was achieved through organizational measures alone, long attracted no attention from scholars, who were preoccupied with the accomplishments of railroad-related industrialization. Yet the fact that horse power can only be accelera…
Date: 2019-10-14

Einzelhändler

(3 words)

See Shopkeeper
Date: 2019-10-14

Elasticity

(1,153 words)

Author(s): Guicciardini, Niccolò
1. IntroductionElasticity was one of the material phenomena that were newly subjected to a quantifying, mathematical treatment from the 17th century onwards. Its study was intertwined with a broad range of interests and applications, and its history is important for understanding developments in physics, technology, architecture, and mathematics. The elastic behavior of materials, typically the bending, and eventually the fracture of beams and columns, was a basic concern for architects and machine builders (Mechanics of materials).Niccolò Guicciardini2. Beginning…
Date: 2019-10-14

Election

(4,015 words)

Author(s): Weller, Thomas | Brandt, Hartwig
1. Early modern period 1.1. Concept and introductionThe transfer of powers to authorities and officeholders on the basis of formalized voting procedures was known and practiced from Antiquity. In the Late Middle Ages and the first centuries of the early modern period, a plethora of different processes came under the category of  electio. The concept also included cooption, acclamation, and selection by lot (see below, 2.) [9]; [7]. In general, entitlement to vote was confined to a socially exclusive group, and even in district administration it was exceptional…
Date: 2019-10-14

Election (theology)

(4 words)

See Predestination
Date: 2019-10-14

Elective share

(8 words)

See Inheritance law | Will (testament)
Date: 2019-10-14

Elector

(1,249 words)

Author(s): Härter, Karl
1. Definition During the Middle Ages a fixed circle of princes emerged in the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation) that elected the German king, who could then be crowned emperor by the pope. In the early modern period, the elected king was already considered emperor. While scholars dispute the origins of the electoral college, by 1257 there was a clear group of seven princes; this group designated itself a college in 1298 and, with the Golden Bull, acquired a permanent legal form in 1356 [3]: the three archbishops of Mainz, Cologne, and Trier, as ecclesiastical electors, …
Date: 2019-10-14

Electoral capitulation

(1,006 words)

Author(s): Marquardt, Bernd
In the early modern period, a capitulation was generally a document with contractual content that was subdivided into chapters. By means of an electoral capitulation, an electoral body reached an agreement with a future ruler over the rights of his subjects or a special group of them “for the welfare of the empire” [1. 670]. Electoral capitulations were thus an example of a subject-ruler contract under the proto-constitutional states of the early modern period, particularly for European electoral monarchies. Upon the election of the monarch, a doc…
Date: 2019-10-14

Electoral monarchy

(1,256 words)

Author(s): Asch, Ronald G.
1. Introduction and Holy Roman EmpireThe European monarchies of the Late Middle Ages and early modern period included not only the great hereditary kingdoms, such as France and England/Great Britain (see below, 2), and Castile, but also many electoral monarchies. Here, the crown was assigned by a vote of either a small circle of ecclesiastical and secular dignitaries, or the estates of the realm as a whole, or sometimes the entire nobility.Without doubt, the most important electoral monarchy was the Empire (Holy Roman Empire [of the German Nation]). The proce…
Date: 2019-10-14

Electoral scrutiny

(805 words)

Author(s): Marquardt, Bernd
The term electoral scrutiny describes the procedural review of the legality of a disputed election, especially to representative bodies or to a parliament. It first appears fully mature in the modern constitutional state, but primitive forms can be identified as early as the Estates General (Estates, assembly of) of the  Ancien Régime. The early modern procedure of examining the legitimacy of estates (Estates of the realm) or their delegates entitled to participate in a proto-parliamentary assembly (e.g. the  Reichstagor a regional diet - a  Landtag) may be viewed as a pred…
Date: 2019-10-14

Electrical instruments

(804 words)

Author(s): Hochadel, Oliver
The phenomena of electricity, such as powerful discharges or long sparks, were not part of everyday experience in the early modern period and were first generated in experimental practice. From the outset, therefore, electrical science was wholly dependent on instruments. Before 1700, electricity was generated by rubbing together many different kinds of solid body. This, however, did not at first provide “stable” experimental conditions.The first to create those conditions, in London in the early 18th century, was the English scientist Francis Hauksbee, w…
Date: 2019-10-14

Electrical medicine

(871 words)

Author(s): Hochadel, Oliver
As electricity became a “fashionable science” from the 1740s, it also began to be applied to the (afflicted) human body. Media of the day thenceforth report frequently on the successful treatment of paralyses in particular, but also epileptic conditions, blindness, gout, and many other complaints, by the application of electricity, usually in the form of discharges. Claims and expectations of therapeutic success played an important part in the legitimization of scientists' working more widely an…
Date: 2019-10-14

Electrical telegraphy

(743 words)

Author(s): Beyrer, Klaus
Early modern discussions of telecommunications freed from all constraints of land transportation (Land transport), interest was long focused on systems for optical telegraphy. Introduced across France in the late 18th century, the semaphore line first conveyed an idea of the possibilities of high-speed information transfer. The  Elektrolyt-Telegraph built by Samuel Thomas von Soemmering in 1809 at Munich, on the other hand, was still impracticable, consisting as it did of many individual lines, corresponding to letters of the alphabet…
Date: 2019-10-14

Electricity

(3,135 words)

Author(s): Steinle, Friedrich
1. Electricity before 1700Of all the subjects of natural study, electricity has enjoyed a particularly striking career. Unlike chemistry (Chemical sciences), mechanics, astronomy, optics, and metallurgy, it has no long-standing tradition, and even in the 17th century, effects known as “electrical” were barely known. Yet by 1850, electricity was in the process of bringing wholesale changes to the human way of life. Its meteoric rise was the result of an unusual dynamic between research, technology, and society.It was already known in Antiquity that a piece of amber, whe…
Date: 2019-10-14

Electromagnetism

(1,178 words)

Author(s): Steinle, Friedrich
1. Prior historySpeculations about an interaction between electricity and magnetism were already being voiced in the 18th century, stimulated by reports of magnetic needles switching polarity during storms, or the magnetization of iron crosses on church towers. However, stable experimental conditions only became possible with the development of the voltaic pile around 1800 (the first electric battery; Galvanism), which delivered sustained electrical effects for the first time. Experiments in Parma…
Date: 2019-10-14

Elegy

(1,056 words)

Author(s): Böhm, Elisabeth
1. Definition and ancient historyThe elegy is a form of lyric text (Poetry) that can be defined in terms of form, content, and discourse mode. The multifaceted development history of the genre, however, precludes a single, all-encompassing definition.Ancient Greek literature already had two traditions. Elegeía was a poem in elegiac distichs (distichon: a couplet, consisting of one hexameter followed by a pentameter), while  élegos was a lament with flute accompaniment, sung in any metrical form. This displays the proximity to the epigram, which was origin…
Date: 2019-10-14

Elektrodynamics

(3 words)

See Electromagnetism
Date: 2019-10-14

Elektrophysiology

(3 words)

See Galvanism
Date: 2019-10-14

Elementary school

(3,430 words)

Author(s): Bruning, Jens
1. Definition; current researchWhile only a very small portion of the early modern population came into contact with academic or higher Bildung (including Latin, Greek, and rhetoric) at Latin schools, gymnasiums, and universities, the various forms of lower schools focused primarily on the middle and lower classes, providing basic knowledge of the cultural techniques of reading, writing, and arithmetic along with religious instruction. It is impossible to make a clear distinction between the variou…
Date: 2019-10-14
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