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.

Subscriptions: Brill.com


(4 words)

See Iniuria
Date: 2019-10-14

Liberal Arts

(5 words)

See Artes liberales
Date: 2019-10-14


(5,147 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Hartwig
1. Definition and originsLiberalism was the most influential development in political philosophy in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It gave rise to a powerful social movement and created the prototype of the organized political party. It presented a range of directions and facets in terms of ideas and concepts. Classical, “institutional” liberalism produced the modern constitutional state. Economic liberalism of the market made itself the advocate of property and its increase. Social liberalism c…
Date: 2019-10-14

Liberal theology

(5 words)

See Theological tendencies
Date: 2019-10-14


(9 words)

See Freedom | Freedom, symbol of | Republicanism
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,684 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe Latin legal term  libertinus (“freedman”), which in the Acts of the Apostles (6,9) attaches to the persecutors of St. Stephen, passed into French ( libertine) around 1480 via vernacular biblical commentaries, and from there it entered the other modern European languages, including English. From 1545, Calvinist and Catholic preachers were using it to discredit morally those who did not unconditionally accept their dogmas. The word “libertinage” or “libertinism” (French libertinage, also libertinisme) emerged from 1600 to denote the religious skepticis…
Date: 2019-10-14


(4 words)

See Freedom
Date: 2019-10-14

Liberty, natural

(8 words)

See Freedom | Personal freedom
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,723 words)

Author(s): Füssel, Stephan | Simon, Holger
1. Definition and premodern developmentThe Greek word bibliothḗkē  (literally “store for books”), which dates back to the 5th century BCE, later came to denote the storage room, then to a special building, and finally to the collection of  books itself. The close correlation between storage and learned use of books was crucial to the early history of the library in Greco-Roman antiquity. One of the most important book collections of Greek antiquity, the  Museíon in Alexandria, was founded around 320 BCE by Ptolemy I Soter as a cultural and literary research insti…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,580 words)

Author(s): Scheitler, Irmgard
1. DefinitionA libretto is the text of a major vocal work in script form, usually cast as a dialogue. The term gained currency at first in reference to stage works, but it is also used for concert works, especially where they have poetical texts. Published libretti first arose along with opera itself, but early printed texts of oratorio and church pieces (Music, ecclesiastical) are also known. They aided understanding, made a work known beyond its place of performance, and facilitated new settings.Printed libretti often contain valuable information about the performances …
Date: 2019-10-14

Libri feudorum

(5 words)

See Feudal law
Date: 2019-10-14

License, artistic / poetic

(7 words)

See Licentia poetica
Date: 2019-10-14

Licentia poetica

(786 words)

Author(s): Stockhorst, Stefanie
The concept of poetic licence or freedom (Latin  licentia, “liberty [to do something]”), that is, the liberty to deviate from established literary norms, was primarily a formal one, unlike the thematic freedom of speech (Greek/Latin parrhésia) familiar in rhetoric. In its original sense, it denotes the freedom of the poet to depart from linguistic and technical conventions of portrayal. These included particularly spelling, punctuation, grammar, diction, and word formation, as well as appropriacy to situation, imagery, factual ac…
Date: 2019-10-14


(913 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. An age of dissimulationAnyone setting out to compare discourses of the early modern period in the postmodern manner, i.e. on the basis of texts, is doomed to failure [1]. In a period riven with religious violence, absolutist pressure of conformity, and later the rationalist ideology (Reason) of the Enlightenment, it was often imperative to conceal one’s true opinion. Guidance in the interpretation of early modern texts should therefore be sought in the words written by Niccolò Machiavelli to Francesco Guicciardini on …
Date: 2019-10-14

Lied, Lieder

(4 words)

See Song
Date: 2019-10-14

Life course

(5 words)

See Life stairs
Date: 2019-10-14

Life drawing

(1,100 words)

Author(s): Sölch, Brigitte
1. DefinitionLife drawing is making a pictorial study of the living model, a practice found from the early 15th century in artists’ studios and institutionalized more than a century later at academies of arts. The Italian term  accademia seems first to have become aligned with the discipline of life drawing in the late 16th century [11. 85]. Accompanying the written sources, which deal primarily with the study of male models (e.g. Giorgio Vasari, Filippo Baldinucci, Giovanni Battista Passeri), is a plethora of actual examples, the study of whic…
Date: 2019-10-14

Life estate

(5 words)

See Life interest
Date: 2019-10-14

Life expectancy

(703 words)

Author(s): Baten, Jörg | Müller, Normann
Human life expectancy is defined as the average number of remaining years an individual of a precisely-defined population group can expect to live. It can be specified for any age, but the commonest age-specific form is life expectancy at birth. The calculation is typically based on mortality tables. On the basis of the age-specific mortality rates observed at a particular date, a calculation is made of the average number of years of life members of the various age groups would have yet to live, or be expected to live provided that mortality probabilities did not change.The need for as…
Date: 2019-10-14

Life interest

(1,678 words)

Author(s): Ehmer, Josef
1. DefinitionThe term life interest denotes a social arrangement in certain early modern European rural societies that tied the transfer of property – primarily peasant or smallholder real estate (Land ownership) – to social security for the owner conveying it. A life-interest contract, oral or written, guaranteed these benefits, which encumbered the transferred property. The life interest usually included provision of food and heat along with the right of residence on the property, which in the cas…
Date: 2019-10-14
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