Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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In the 16th century, the word commonwealth referred generally to the body politic (in the sense of the Latin res publica) as the entity of political and social order, but also the common good (“common weal”) that was associated with that entity. The concept it founded was not anti-monarchical, but it did constitute an addition to the definition of England as a “realm” or “kingdom,” i.e. the dominion of a monarch. Around the mid-16th century, “commonwealth” became a key concept for proponents of a Humanism that was often Christian in inspiration, that concerned itself with …

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Asch, Ronald G., “Commonwealth”, 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 24 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018122>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206

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