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(3,506 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Concept and overviewFrom Antiquity until well into the early modern period, the idea of repetitive circular motion was a commonplace concept of the course of natural and social processes, both in Europe and in other cultures. It was regarded as the most perfect form of motion, and the circle and sphere as the most perfect geometrical bodies. At the same time, the concept was connected with the idea of eternal return, a revolution in its original sense, still colored by the ideas of Nikolaus Copernicus [3]; [15. 69–71]. The establishment of the heliocentric model in no way pre…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,445 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Concept The word ‘fetish’ derives from the Portugues feitiço (“spell”, “amulet”), which in turn derives from the Latin facticius (“artificial”) and is related to  feitiçeiro (“sorcerer”) and  feitiçaria (“sorcery”). The term became established in Portugal from the Late Middle Ages, and subsequently enjoyed an astonishing career in the early modern period, through to Karl Marx’ “commodity fetishism” in the 19th century [5. 13 f.].Jörn Sieglerschmidt 2. Africa Feitiços were already mentioned in Portugal in the first edict against witches (1385), and the word …
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,900 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Definition and overview The control of fire is a cultural technique that, unlike the use of hands, language, tools, or communication, which are also available to animals, is unique to humans. It is thus unsurprising that fire holds a position of some importance in the mythological and philosophical systems of all cultures [7. 11]. In the tradition of European thought, fire was one of the four elements of which all things of the sublunar world (beneath the first planetary sphere) were composed. Called into question in the 17th century by Robert …
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,240 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Concept Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) [11], who coined Animism as a technical term, is regarded by dint of his theory of the development of religion as one of the founders of religious science. Regardless of the evolutionism of this tradition, Animism should here be understood as a position that does not accept a clear distinction between inanimate or unensouled things and living beings. “Every object, irrespective of whether it consisted of organic or inorganic substance, irrespective of wheth…
Date: 2019-10-14


(5,217 words)

Author(s): Smith, Justin E.H. | Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Natural philosophy 1.1. Distinction from humanDirectly or indirectly, the concept of the animal was frequently contrasted with that of the human in the early modern period [10]. Initially, it was used to define the sphere of philosophical anthropology (Humanity). Only later did “animal” come to denote an object of zoological study (Zoology). This anthropocentric perspective is clearly seen, for instance, in Renaissance printed editions of medieval bestiaries, which present all known species of animals – from the real w…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,302 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Introduction In the fourfold concept of the natural world that held sway from Antiquity, air was one of the four elements. It was believed to be a weightless element between fire and earth and water. Soon after 1491, the  Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch drew attention to the association between air and meteorological phenomena: “In the air are many transformations of fire, water, and wind. Watery being rain, dew, frost, snow, hail, fog” ( Jn dem lufft werden manigerlay verwandelung fewrs wassers vnd windts. Wässerig als regen taw reiff schne hagel nebel) (107r; [2]). There is no me…
Date: 2019-10-14


(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

Animal breeding

(1,503 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Definition and overview Animal breeding in the narrower sense comprises the varyingly targeted selection of parent animals in order to produce offspring with desired characteristics, generally ones that can be successfully exploited economically. In the broader sense the term would include everything necessary for and conducive to the rearing of young animals. In the narrow sense animal breeding presupposes detailed knowledge of the forms of animal reproduction and the rules of heredit…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,842 words)

Author(s): Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Key concepts and their history Prehistoric and ancient terminological categories pervaded early modern concepts of earth. Like other elements (fire, air, water), earth was part of creation myths, coming about through the overcoming of chaos by separation and the ordering (Order [system]) of the elements (often also the separation of heaven and earth, light and darkness). Gender allocations also played an important part in the binary tetradic structure of the premodern doctrines of elements, substan…
Date: 2019-10-14
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