Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(716 words)

Anarchy (from the Greek an-archía) means “state of being without government” or “without a leader.” Although there are many instances of the use of the term in Greek Antiquity (e.g. in Homer, Aristotle, Plato), it seems hardly to have been used in Roman Antiquity or the Middle Ages [2]. However, the Latinized form anarchia did come into wide use in the first phase of the early modern period. The original meaning was retained in lexica of the 17th and early 18th centuries, although anarchy was also understood in the sense of “absence of authority” and “chaos” [2].

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Hering Torres, Max Sebastián, “Anarchy”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 04 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_016827>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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