Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,980 words)

1. General symbols

1.1. Theory

According to a late 16th-century definition, a symbol is a sign that points to a situation and makes it intelligible; the symbol can be a way of behaving, a concrete object (e.g. a wedding ring), an image (e.g. a heraldic device [Arms]), or a verbal expression (e.g. a watchword) [2]. This article does not deal with the theological term symbolum, “creed.”

According to Erasmus of Rotterdam and Andrea Alciato, the ability of a symbol to convey meaning is based on attributes of the thing repr…

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Dillinger, Johannes and Priesner, Claus, “Symbol”, 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 08 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_028559>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208

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