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(9,948 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
1. Definition Agriculture is the adaptation of plant and animal populations to human needs, entailing not just the alteration of natural conditions, but – and to a far greater extent than in hunting and foraging - the manipulation of the qualities of the stock (see Plant breeding and Animal breeding) (see below, 5.5.). In arable farming, the aim of producing food was from the early Middle Ages no longer primarily achieved by the exploitation of unexhausted soil, but by sophisticated forms of nutri…
Date: 2019-10-14

Animal husbandry

(2,149 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
1. Cattle 1.1. IntroductionAnimal husbandry is the economic use of animals and animal products. In this sense, animal husbandry was an integral element of agricultural operations throughout early modern Europe. Cattle were the most important agricultural livestock because of the wide range of uses to which they could be put as draft animals (Harness), sources of milk, meat, and leather, and producers of valuable manure, and scarcely a single farm outside subtropical and tropical zones did not keep them.…
Date: 2019-10-14

Agricultural credit

(913 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
Agricultural credit was a common phenomenon in the rural societies of the modern period [3. 339, 343]; [6. 1340]. Short-term payment deferrals took into account the circumstance that the financial resources of peasants were subject to seasonal fluctuations [4. 285]. The sources refer primarily to long-term agricultural credit. National or territorial regulations governed the general system. In the Holy Roman Empire, interest was generally set at around 5% by the 15th century; this percentage was made mandatory in the Empire in the 16th century [1. 6]; [3. 331] and in France i…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,903 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner | Kopsidis, Michael
1. Methods 1.1. Cutting tools for harvesting grainIn the 18th century, harvest time in Germany began with the so-called rye mowing (mid to late July) and ended around Michaelmas (September 29) with the flax harvest. While flax (Fiber plants) was plucked up by the roots, the various kinds of grain were cut or mowed with a sickle or reaping hook (Cutting tools; see also the procedures for harvesting vegetables, fruit, and wine).In the early modern period, the primary implement used to harvest the summer grains oats and barley was the scythe (see fig. 1) – usuall…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ius curiae

(1,499 words)

Author(s): Brauneder, Wilhelm | Pečar, Andreas | Troßbach, Werner
1. Court law 1.1. IntroductionA princely court was not just the site of the highest jurisdiction under the prince’s authority; it also constituted a legal space unto itself. Specific rules and norms issued by the prince were in force there that regulated the behavior of members of the court and visitors within the confines of the court. If these rules were violated, the prince’s court had its own jurisdiction. The task of administering justice at court often fell to the chief steward ( Hofmarschall). Members of court thus stood outside ordinary municipal jurisdiction. As a …
Date: 2019-10-14


(788 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
Letting fields lie fallow was a defining element of agriculture prior to the epochal changes called the agricultural revolution. Generally a year was integrated into the crop rotation in which a fixed proportion of the acreage remained unplanted (half in two-field rotation, a third in three-field rotation, etc.) [2. 13 f.]. The dormant phase enabled soil-biological processes of regeneration and the introduction of nitrogen from the atmosphere (Soil). Plowing up the fallow (cf. German  Felge, “plowed-up fallow land”), carried on in June (also called fallow-month)…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,057 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
Before the invention of the steam engine and above all the internal-combustion engine, in most European countries transport and tillage were accomplished with horses or oxen as draft animals. In the Mediterranean world, mules could be employed, less frequently donkeys, sometimes teamed with oxen [5. 21]. There were various ways of harnessing the animal traction. In the case of oxen, the withers yoke had been in use since the early Middle Ages, usually in the form of a double yoke. Under such a  yoke, the oxen did not actually pull but pushed, as the German vernacular verb  schieben sug…
Date: 2019-10-14

Church property

(1,968 words)

Author(s): Weitzel, Jürgen | Troßbach, Werner
1. DefinitionThe phrase church property (Latin bona ecclesiastica) denotes the assets of a church. It includes all rights with monetary value – especially property, usage rights, claims to taxes, other legal claims, and power of disposition over external things. Even in the Catholic Church, the proprietors of church property are not (only) the universal church or the Apostolic See (Papacy) but primarily individual ecclesiastical institutions (e.g. the church province, diocese, monastic order, Landeskir…
Date: 2019-10-14

Meadow cultivation

(2,285 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
1. Development and useBefore the transition to agriculture, large parts of Europe were covered in forest. Only during the Neolithic period did open grassland areas emerge as a result of human activity, initially in places where intensive grazing had thinned woodland (Woodland pasture), later also in river valleys, where persistently soggy ground hampered field cultivation. The use of these areas as meadows in the strict sense, however, that is, for harvesting grass for winter fodder, seems only to …
Date: 2019-10-14

Rural society

(9,503 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
1. Town vs. countryWhile the term  agrarian society – often conceived as a stage of development – characterizes a society as a whole (Society [community]), it makes sense to speak of a rural society only when alternative lifestyles and forms of production are available to a substantial group of people. In the territory north of the Alps, this was the case after urban centers began to appear in the high Middle ages. Town and “country” can be distinguished by legal criteria until the agrarian reforms of …
Date: 2021-08-02


(10,095 words)

Author(s): Carl, Horst | Schmidt, Patrick | Troßbach, Werner | Synek, Eva | Walter, Peter
1. Introduction 1.1. Definition and backgroundEven today the term  office (German  Amt) still covers a broad semantic spectrum that preserves the manifold references and contexts of premodern administrative activity (Government). It extends from the exercise of a specific function through the designation of a territorial administrative district to a local authority or even a building in which lower-ranking administrative bodies are housed. As a result of developments at the beginning of the early modern period, this semantic richness can be documented, for example, in the  Deu…
Date: 2020-10-06


(2,692 words)

Author(s): Engel, Alexander | Troßbach, Werner
1. IntroductionDyes are soluble materials that, unlike the insoluble, mainly mineral pigments (Painting technique), are suitable for the permanent coloration of textiles. Prior to the development of artificial dyes from derivatives of tar in the late 19th century, only natural, mostly vegetable dyes were known in Europe. Although dyeing was of no real relevance to the basic functions of apparel - protection from moisture and cold - the symbolic and aesthetic role of color was a key one in the con…
Date: 2019-10-14


(964 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
1. Concept Manuring is the addition of nutrients to the soil. In arable farming, this was done by adding organic and inorganic substances, and by so-called green manuring (Leguminosae). Meadows received nutrients primarily through irrigation.Werner Troßbach 2. Animal feces Farmyard manure was obtained by mixing animal feces with strewing materials, such as straw, leaves, conifer needles, and twigs. It contains all the nutrients required for the cultivation of grain and enriches the soil humus. Degradation of nutrients ca…
Date: 2019-10-14

Peasants' War

(4,496 words)

Author(s): Troßbach, Werner
1. DefinitionThe term “Peasants’ War” or “Peasants’ Revolt” is used to denote a number of early modern events and phenomena. The repurposing of a planned crusade against the Turks as an uprising against the nobility in 1514 has entered history as the “Hungarian Peasants’ Revolt.” In the German-speaking world, revolts in Upper Austria (1626) and Bavaria (1705/6) are called peasants’ wars (German  Bauernkrieg) [19. 39 f.]. These were uprisings of territorial patriotism directed against an occupying power - as was the 1809 revolt in the Tirol. During the …
Date: 2020-10-06


(3,292 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin | Sanz Lafuente, Gloria | Troßbach, Werner
1. Legal aspects 1.1. DefinitionA lease (German Pacht) today is understood to be the contractual transfer of an object or right in exchange for money (cf. Interest [banking]), whereupon the recipient may use or – in contrast to rent and loans for use (commodatum) – enjoy the fruits of the object for a certain time. In contrast to a renter, the lessee is broadly responsible for the maintenance of the object of the lease. Leases based on loan contract, which could in theory be canceled at any time and la…
Date: 2019-10-14