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Aviatics

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
Aviatics is the skill of using wings or other airfoils to stay up in the air, in other words the art of flying like a bird (Latin  avis). Medieval chronicles already contain many accounts of individuals who tried to imitate avian flight. Most such “flights” from high towers ended in disaster. Stories of attempted flights with a level of detail that enhances their credibility occur in increasing numbers from the second half of the 15th century, one example being the case of Giovanni Battista Danti (ca. 1477-1517), who mad…
Date: 2019-10-14

Afterlife, communication with

(798 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Concept The concept of communication with the afterlife depends on a binary opposition between “this world” as the world of the living and the afterlife, the world of the dead, of spirits, and gods - or in the monotheistic religions, the one God. Death marks the boundary between these worlds. Death marks the boundary between these worlds. The Enlightenment relegated the existence of the “otherworld” to the realm of fantasy. In the Christian view, the dead rest until the Day of Judgem…
Date: 2019-10-14

Bibliotheca Magica

(1,246 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Prior history of the superstition discourse The project of a Bibliotheca Magica (“Magical Library”) belongs in the context of the struggle between science (Knowledge) and superstition. On the initiative of Christian Thomasius, who as an expert witness as late as 1696 would have endorsed the execution of a witch had colleagues not restrained him, past debates about witchcraft were revisited early in the 18th century for political purposes (abolition of witchcraft trial and torture). The jurist Johann Reiche, whom Thomasius supervised in his doctoral dissertation, De crimine mag…
Date: 2019-10-14

Bell

(1,128 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Term The English word “bell” is onomatopoeic, like the Latin  tintinnabulum. The corresponding German term Glocke derives, like Irish cloch, Flemish klok, Swedish klocka, French cloche and presumably also Russian kolokal from MLat. clocca. Whether the latter goes back to a Celtic clocc is disputed. It too may be onomatopoeic.Wolfgang Behringer 2. Casting and suspension The casting of bells as the preferred form of manufacture extends back into the ancient Near Eastern Bronze Age. From the 6th century it spread through the whole of Europe, but not …
Date: 2019-10-14

Aviso

(848 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
The word aviso (plural: avisos) is a communications term that was introduced into several European languages in the 16th century from Italian ( avviso: news, warning, advice). It soon came to play a key part in the postal system (Mail) in the sense of a “cover letter” and became the usual term for “news” in the new medium of periodically printed newspapers, until it was supplanted by more recent terms. Since the postal system was introduced by the de Tassis family (from 1651 on, Thurn und Taxis) to Austria, Germany, t…
Date: 2019-10-14

Animal metamorphosis

(1,108 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Definition Animal metamorphosis was not only widespread in fairy tales and myths, but also had a role to play in popular European belief and Christian theology until some way into the early modern period. From the Renaissance on, the idea of a physical transformation of men or women into animals, effected by magic, divine power, or divine imposition, was reinforced by the reception of ancient texts, such as the respective Metamorphoses of Ovid and Apuleius. Although these may be fictional texts, they were cited until the 17th century as evidence of the possibili…
Date: 2019-10-14

Beer

(2,529 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Consumption Whereas wine consumption dominated Southern Europe and France in the early modern period, the consumption of beer was a fundamental constant of everyday life in the north and east of the continent (Everyday world). In these regions, beer was a staple foodstuff and – when brewed to greater strength - Lenten fare [1]. From the Late Middle Ages, there was a profound shift in habits of consumption in Central Europe, with wine replaced by beer as an everyday beverage. The reason for this was a process of technological innovation as hop…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ball game

(1,106 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Educational ideal From the Renaissance on, Humanist pedagogues attempted to associate the love of ball games with ancient traditions (e.g. Galen), but the modern term derives not from the Latin pila but from the Germanic  ball (Italian  palla). Humanist teachers and princes’ tutors of the 15th century, like Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino da Verona, ennobled the ball game by placing it alongside equestrian exercises. Baldassare Castiglione’s Courtier ( Cortegiano, 1528) admitted it to the Olympus of noble education. Ball games went to the heart of the ed…
Date: 2019-10-14

Calendar

(5,291 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang | Schostak, Désirée | Messerli, Alfred | Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Term The word calendar derives from the name of the first day of the month in Ancient Rome (Latin Kalendae). From Latin kalendarium (‘debt-book’), it later came to refer to the whole system of reckoning time (Time, reckoning of). All known calendars are based on the alternation of day and night, the recurrent phases of the Moon (OE mona = “Moon”; monađ = “month”), and the course of the seasons through the solar year.Wolfgang Behringer 2. Chronology: early manifestations In all cultures, astronomical phenomena (Astronomy) determine the chronological units of year, month,…
Date: 2020-01-13

Aerial voyage

(953 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. General In the modern period, theoretical reflections and experiments devoted to flight were flanked by reports of supposed or actual aerial voyages, which could serve as a narrative framework for the presentation of scientific observations or a social utopia. They reflected the cosmological notions of the period and—especially in the era of the Scientific Revolution—the transition from the geocentric to the Copernican model of the world (Copernican Revolution) or from Aristotelian physics to the world view of Giordano Brunos and Isaac Newtons [3]. With the progress …
Date: 2019-10-14

Aeronautics

(1,286 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Terminology The term “aeronautics” means literally “traveling by ship [Latin  nautare] through the air [Latin  aer].” Possibly inspired by mythological accounts, 14th-century proponents of Aristotelian physics (Albert of Saxony and Nicole d’Oresme) had already suggested the possibility that the accepted theory of the elements implied that a ship filled with a fiery substance could sail upon the sea of the air. The discussions of flying in the 15th and 16th centuries were focused entirely on the principle of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Mercuries

(975 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Concept and derivation“Mercuries” was the name given in the 17th century to political newspapers, because in England in particular such publications were generally named after the Roman messenger of the gods, Mercurius. The name  coranto (“Courant”) was commonplace in the 1620s, but from 1641, “Mercury” titles were so dominant that the name became genericized to refer to periodicals in general. Only after 1660, following the Stuart Restoration, did “Gazettes” also become established, then from the 1690s newspaper titles maki…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dirt

(1,031 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. ConceptDirt is matter in the wrong place at the wrong time, “something misplaced” [5. 52], undesirable remains (abundant synonyms including refuse, muck, rubbish, garbage, trash, detritus, feculence etc.), or pollution coming about through lack of hygiene and sanitation by mechanical, biological (e.g. menstruation), physical, or chemical processes (e.g. oxidation, rust) and capable of contaminating an organism or system with undesirable or harmful materials. The term is also used in metaphorical and symbolic senses.Wolfgang Behringer2. ReligionAccording to the B…
Date: 2019-10-14

Heating

(1,315 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. GeneralThe necessity for heating varies with geographical latitude; there were great regional and historical variations in its practical development. In the cold years of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1300-1900; especially 1560-1710), there was a pressing need for adequate heating. The hypothermia poor people suffered from when fuel (wood, peat, charcoal, in England also black coal) was too expensive made them more susceptible to illness [3. 430 f., 456f.]. Heating standards improved during the early modern era as part of a general cultural development. Wherea…
Date: 2019-10-14

Flight

(761 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Development of the theoryBy the 14th century, several thinkers had independently concluded, based on Aristotelian physics, that the sublunar airspace must be navigable by vessels. During the 15th century, the principle of aeronautics was sometimes replaced by attempts to achieve flight by imitating birds (see Aviatics, with fig.). At the beginning of the 16th century, in his manuscript Sul volo degli uccelli (1505; “On the Flight of Birds”), Leonardo da Vinci observed that bird flight required great powers of propulsion in order to take to the air f…
Date: 2019-10-14

News book

(784 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Concept and origins English-language scholarship uses the term “news book” to refer to books that were systematically bound in order to present newspaper stories from the preceding year [4]. Although some authors assume that this text genre first appeared only in the 1640s [7. 5], others call the weekly London corantos of the 1620s “the first news books” [5]. Corresponding to the concept in German is the   Zeitungs-Buch (“News[paper] book”), a term used by the Hamburg publisher Georg Greflinger, imitating the English model, when he offered the first year of his Nordischer Merc…
Date: 2020-04-06

Fuggerzeitung

(973 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Name and sources The Fuggerzeitung was a collection of letters, composed in the second half of the 16th century and containing reports and messages on political and economic matters, sent to the Augsburg merchant dynasty the Fugger family. With 27 surviving volumes of these letters from all over Europe, the Fuggerzeitung is the biggest collection of its kind.In an inventory written on the death of Octavian Secundus Fugger (1600), it was described as “a miscellany of German and Romance-language reports written between 1569 and 1599 on white parchme…
Date: 2019-10-14

Influenza

(890 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. TerminologyAlthough the term  influenza appears as early as 1504 in the chronicle of the Florentine apothecary Luca Landucci, a coherent terminology was not established until 1742/1743. According to a report in the  London Magazine of 1743 (“News from Rome of a Contagious Distemper Raging There, Call’d the Influenza”), the term was borrowed into English on the occasion of the influenza epidemic of that year. At roughly the same time, people in France began to call the illness  la grippe.While the Italian term focused on the supposed cause – the “influence of the stars” ( influenz…
Date: 2019-10-14

Courier

(710 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
Today the couriers of the early modern period are frequently confused with post riders (Mail) or messengers. All three – couriers, post riders, and messengers – had to overcome distances and bring news under the dictates of speed (Quickness)The literature on the history of communication makes a clear distinction between mail and the courier system [6]. A courier was not an employee of a messenger service or a postal organization, but was instead “a person dispatched to distant places to convey complex oral or written news regarding important matters” [1], in other words a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Everyday world

(7,635 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Theoretical aspects 1.1. The everyday world as a key historical categoryThe everyday world is both a universal and a particular category. It encompasses material circumstances and their subjective perception and interpretation in thought and feeling (Mentality), recurring behavioral routines (Rituals, games [Play, game], Sports), in some cases beings concentrated to become a habitus (Honors, Festivals, Popular culture); in a more extended sense, it also encompasses the media of perception and symbol sys…
Date: 2019-10-14
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