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Late Antiquity

(1,073 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth
[German Version] Ever since C.-L. de Montesquieu and E. Gibbon, Roman history of the 4th and 5th centuries has been viewed primarily as a history of decadence and decline. The centuries preceding the fall of the Roman Empire in the West were interpreted consistently as a period of deterioration that affected architecture, art, and literature as well. In 1764 Johann J. Joachim Winckelmann spoke of a deterioration of sculpture and painting in the period after Commodus, and J. Burckhardt was referring explicitly to architecture, art, and literature when he used such terms as aging, senilit…

Italy

(7,951 words)

Author(s): Beck, Rolf K. | Schneider, Helmuth | Paoli-Lafaye, Elisabeth | Ricca, Paolo | Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] I. General – II. History and Sociology I. General Since 1861 (the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy), Italy has been the name of the first unified nation on the Italian peninsula since the Lombard invasion in 568. Following a referendum in 1946, Italy became a republic (Repubblica Italiana) with a bicameral parliament. The president is the representative chief of state; the government is headed by the prime minister. Since 1870, with the dissolution of the Papal States, the capital has been Rome (population 2.7 million in 2000). Italy has an area of 187,179 km2, with…

Interest

(3,846 words)

Author(s): Grundmann, Stefan | Bayer, Stefan | Schneider, Helmuth | Kessler, Rainer | Strohm, Christoph | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Legal Aspects – III. Economics – IV. Non-Christian Antiquity – V. Bible – VI. Christianity – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. Concept Interest is payment in exchange for a right of use or exploitation, typically on a temporary basis and always agreed for a fixed period of time. Money later gained increasing importance as an object of lending and now occupies a dominant position, although other items or rights remain possible as objects of lending, as for example rent. In economics (see III below), this mutual commitment between the conferral…

Economy

(6,870 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Rüpke, Jörg | Schneider, Helmuth | Otto, Eckart | Penslar, Derek | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Economic Systems and their Theories – III. Economy and Religion I. The Concept The term economy encompasses the totality of all individual actions and social interactions that serve to produce goods (commodities or services [Service sector]) for the purpose of satisfying human needs (Consumption). As a rule, the “production” of commodities means that human labor and …