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Catholic Enlightenment

(1,174 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Term The concept of Catholic Enlightenment developed in German historiography from the early 20th century, and has since the 1970s established itself as a specialist term [3. 40–53]; [5. 76–85]. In its general and internationally current sense, it denotes all the efforts undertaken within European Catholicism before around 1820 to adapt the ideas and accomplishments of the Enlightenment and to implement them in culture, education, scholarship, economics, and political organization [1]; [6]. In the specific sense widely used in German scholarship, it refers above …
Date: 2019-10-14

Wegestreit

(947 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe term Wegestreit subsumes several quite different scholarly debates that took place between the early 14th and late 15th centuries in European universities, especially those of the Holy Roman Empire, regarding correct methods of academic teaching and learning, especially in the area of logic and metaphysics. The (modern) term  Wegestreit (English “battle of the ways”) arises from the fact that, before 1500, a scholastic method was usually called a  via (way). It was named after the head of the school who exemplified it (e.g.  via Thomae/“method of Thomas…
Date: 2023-11-14

Thesaurus

(1,161 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptA thesaurus (Greek/Latin “treasury”), often used synonymously with  bibliotheca or museum, was from the 16th century onwards the name or title of a work in a literary genre that claimed to compile all knowledge in a particular field, organizing it systematically and ideally also illustrating it (Knowledge, organization of; Knowledge, visualization of). The models and prototypes of the thesaurus arose in the practices of antiquarianism. They answered the Humanist (Humanism) demand to collect all…
Date: 2022-11-07

Table culture

(2,662 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. OverviewIn all cultures, eating together has been of central importance. It establishes community and is an indispensable element of festivals, diplomacy, and peace celebrations, a ritual of solidarity, fraternization, and friendship, an opportunity for extravagance (Representation) and ostentatious or conspicuous consumption. Beginning in the 15th century under the banner of the Renaissance, the style and perception of such meals changed among the elites of Europe. As a manifestation of the n…
Date: 2022-11-07

Wit

(2,002 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term wit (OE  gewit, “understanding,” “consciousness,” “sense”; Latin  ingenium, Italian  ingegno, Spanis  ingenio, German  Witz, French  esprit) in the early modern period denoted the art of connecting seemingly disparate thoughts and ideas in a surprising way and formulating them with ingenious pithiness such as to astound and spontaneously persuade the listener or reader [1. 874]; [10. 7 f.]. Wit was thus regarded as a basic condition of intellectual productivity and a key element of cultivated conversation and pragmatic prudence. …
Date: 2023-11-14

Anglophilia

(968 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology The term  Anglophilia first appeared around 1750. It and the stronger form  Anglomania refer - from a critical distance - to the “(unsophisticated) fondness for England, the English, and all things English” [7. 18] that appeared among the continental elite after 1713 and became a general vogue in the 1730s. Admiration for English politics, economics, philosophy, science, culture, and lifestyle led to wholesale imitation, triggering one of the most momentous transfers of culture in European history.Anglophilia was a concomitant of the Enlightenment an…
Date: 2019-10-14

Epigraphy

(1,093 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and functionThe term “epigraphy” (from the Greek epigraphḗ; “inscription”) first occurred in German in the 18th century, and in French not until 1838. Yet the recording, collecting, and classifying of ancient inscriptions on stone and metal is among the oldest, most widespread, and most highly regarded forms of early modern antiquarianism and archaeology. The reasons vary. When Friedrich August Wolf declared in 1807 that epigraphy “is not important in terms of beauty of form, but by virtue of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Latin studies

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. SurveyIn the early modern period, Latin was a language in active use in diplomacy, science, and the educational system (Bildung) and was therefore a living language. This circumstance favoured the scholarly study of the language only to a certain extent. Before the 19th century, it was studied less for its own sake than for practical purposes: to be able to write and speak better, to be familiar with the (still obligatory) canon of classical literature, to understand Roman law, which was still in effect, and to share in the greatness of ancient Rome (Antiquity, reception of).Lati…
Date: 2019-10-14

Counter-Enlightenment

(1,547 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and problemThe term Counter-Enlightenment is first attested, as a synonym for Romanticism, in an 1877 note by Friedrich Nietzsche (“Der Höhe der Aufklärung entspricht die Höhe der Gegenaufklärung in Schopenhauer und Wagner”; “The peak of enlightenment corresponds to the peak of the Counter-Enlightenment in Schopenhauer and Wagner”) [16. 26]. Isaiah Berlin then introduced it to the international discourse as the Counter-Enlightenment from the 1950s, to denote - not without a philosophical value judgment - opponents of the Enlight…
Date: 2019-10-14

Philology

(2,252 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term “philology” (Greek  philología, “love of words/thoughts,” coined by Plato) had already become synonymous with erudition per se by the 1st century BCE, where that erudition was in the field of language and literature. A philologist (Greek  philólogos) was a specialist in grammar ( grammatikós) and linguistic and literary criticism ( kritikós), capable of assessing the linguistic correctness of texts and improving them as necessary. Philology was thus also synonymous with textual criticism and the disciplines of the  artes liberales (especially gramma…
Date: 2020-10-06

Club

(1,317 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and phenomenonThe club developed from the 16th century as a specifically  British form of urban sociability. The eccentric term - at the time, the word only had its original sense of “thick stick” - hints at the exclusive, masculine character of these societies, in which gentleman kept their own company and women were almost entirely excluded. The club differed from traditional forms of socializing (e.g. fraternity, guild, sect, academy) in being an “expression of a dynamic, visibly urba…
Date: 2019-10-14

Pedagogy

(3,556 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. TerminologyPedagogy, not identical with education as formation (Bildung), is the art of transmitting and inculcating the norms that apply within a society. It differs from education as schooling in its claim to have a theoretically grounded, systematic procedure guided by an explicit purpose. The term  paidagogía, first attested in Plato’s  Republic, denoted the “guidance [and instruction] of boys” in the interests of a specific political and moral public goal, that is, the activity of the pedagogue ( paidagogós) – in contrast to the earlier  paideía, education in general.…
Date: 2020-10-06

Riding

(2,782 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. SurveyIn all societies where the horse was an exclusive means of transportation, an indispensable requirement for personal mobility, a valuable weapon in hunting and in war, and a costly prestige object, the ability to ride well was one of the basic skills required of the nobility (Standesbiludung). Because riding went hand in hand with high social status, its rules – like everything about horses – were guarded as grand arcana and were never reduced to writing [20. 91]. Not until the beginning of the early modern period did riding become a topic of public discu…
Date: 2021-08-02

Criticism

(2,598 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and terminological historyCriticism (or, in earlier English usage, “critique”) as the art of “testing a given matter for authenticity, truth, correctness, or beauty, and forming a judgement based on the findings obtained” (“einen vorgegebenen Sachverhalt auf seine Echtheit oder Wahrheit, seine Richtigkeit oder Schönheit hin zu befragen, um aus der gewonnenen Erkenntnis heraus ein Urteil zu fällen”) [11. 86], developed through the early modern period into the European elite's preferred form of intellectual discourse. From the Enlightenment, i…
Date: 2019-10-14

Archaeology

(1,716 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept In Antiquity, the Greek term first encountered as archaiología (‘antiquarian lore’) in the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st century BCE – archaiologeín, ‘to discuss antiquities,’ is already found in Thucydides, 5th century BCE) denoted the sphere of history of which there were no longer living witnesses to give accounts, but that depended entirely on traditions and legends. The Renaissance Latinized the term to archaeologia or  archaeographia, and used it synonymously with antiquitates, i.e. antiquarianism, from which archaeology was indist…
Date: 2019-10-14

Conversation

(1,132 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term conversation (from Latin conversari, “to have dealings with”, “to have intercourse with”; literally “to be engaged [in something] together”), adopted into most of the European languages in the 16th century, denotes a ritual that was typical of early modern European scholars: an informal discussion in a small group, the most important purpose of which was to explore the subject in question as thoroughly, elegantly, and entertainingly as possible. Unlike in institutionalized forms of …
Date: 2019-10-14

History

(4,883 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. OverviewThe urge to know as much as possible about the past of one’s race, clan, class, place of birth, homeland, people - and that of other groups, populations, and cultures too - and to certify and curate this knowledge in the hands of scholarly experts, was common to all learned cultures of the early modern era (Historiography; Historical traditions beyond Europe). This can be seen in the fact that tradition was fundamentally significant in all these cultures as the basis for claims to owne…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mythology

(2,027 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and phenomenonIn Greco-Roman antiquity, the Greek term  múthos adopted into all European languages (German  Mythos, French  mythe) denoted a semantic field ranging from “word” and “factual statement” to “invented narrative.” Beginning with Plato, its meaning became confined to “story of the gods and heroes” [13. 181]. Accordingly, “mythology” throughout the early modern period was almost invariably taken to mean the study of the worlds of the Greek and Roman gods (Ancient religions), as it was portrayed by poets like Homer and …
Date: 2020-04-06

Civilization

(1,497 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept The term “civilization”, which appeared in French and in English shortly after 1750 and by 1820 was established in all Western European languages (French civilisation, German Zivilisation, Italian civilizzazione, Spanish civilisación), marks an ideal of the Enlightenment: a polity which has implemented, as much as possible, enlightened values - ranging from political freedom and a modern political economy (Economy, political) to humanity, education and urbanity -  und goes on perfectioning them. In this respect civi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Humanism

(10,285 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Introduction Humanism was the most important and influential European educational and cultural movement of the early modern period before the Enlightenment (Bildung). It arose in Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries, and by the mid-16th century it had spread across the entire western world. Its aim was an aesthetic one: the restoration of the literature, arts, and sciences of classical antiquity, especially Roman culture from the period between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, which …
Date: 2019-10-14

Curiosity

(1,429 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Problem and conceptThe desire to expand one's knowledge was by no means regarded as a virtue in principle in the early modern period. Rather, there was intensive and passionate debate throughout, from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, on how far curiosity (from Latin  curiositas; Italian  curiosità; Spanish  curiosidad; French  curiosité, but German Neugier, literally “craving for the new”) might legitimately go, and at which limits it must cease. This debate, which was conducted in media ranging from sermons and disputations, to disser…
Date: 2019-10-14

Individuality

(1,883 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. General observations 1.1 DefinitionUntil the end of the 18th century, “individual” and “individuality” (from Lat. individuum; “indivisible”) was a technical term in philosophy that could denote “smallest unit” or “special character.” Consequently, it could also refer - as it does to this day in many European languages - to a single thing or person. In Germany during Idealism and Romanticism it acquired an emphatic tone; individuality became a synonym for the unmistakable uniqueness of a concrete personality,…
Date: 2019-10-14

Textual criticism

(2,068 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition As a subdiscipline of philology or classical studies and of biblical criticism and exegesis, textual criticism is the sum of all methods and techniques used to try to recover surviving texts in a form as close as possible to their original form. In doing so, it works hand in hand with hermeneutics. It is based on the historical recognition of Humanism that in the course of their transmission, texts are deliberately or involuntarily changed. Textual criticism seeks to rever…
Date: 2022-11-07

Humanities

(2,002 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and definition The concept and the term came into existence in late-19th century Germany, an outgrowth of the conviction developed within historicism that human will, thought, and activity could not be measured by the inductive methods of natural science and traced back to general rules, but must instead be studied as manifestations of each unique individuality in the specific shape they took. Hence, the Humanities were taken to comprise all academic disciplines (Disciplines, a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dictionary

(1,606 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptA dictionary (Latin  dictionarium; Italian  dizionario, vocabulario; French dictionnaireglossaire, Spanish  diccionario, German Wörterbuch) is a usually alphabetical register presenting the vocabulary of a language in whole or in part, either to comment on each word as such or to present its equivalent(s) in one or more other language(s). Dictionaries in the early modern period were by no means confined to pragmatic purposes of language tuition or mutual understanding in contexts of travel, pilg…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fate, destiny

(1,425 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Meaning and conceptThe idea of fate or destiny (French  fortune, destin, destinée; Italian  fato, destino; Spanis  fortuna, suerte, destino; German Schicksal) became in the early modern period a preferred mode for discussing the relationship between autonomy and necessity, that is, the question of freedom of will, and the driving forces of history and politics, in a secular context. As a synonym for whatever was peculiar, unalterable, and perhaps inexplicable in the course of the history of an individual, a peopl…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mazarinades

(667 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term  Mazarinade, used by scholars since 1850, derives from  La Mazarinade, the title of a 1651 Paul Scarron literary parody of the  Iliad (French  Iliade). It serves as an umbrella term for over 4,000 mostly highly polemical pamphlets, published in France at the time of the Fronde (1648-1653) in opposition to attempts by the crown to centralize the government and administration in the spirit of absolutism. Because these efforts were embodied by Cardinal Jules Mazarin, the confidant and chief minister o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Hero, heroine

(1,761 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. OverviewIn most cultures, heroes (Greek  hḗros, Latin  heros, Italian  eroe, French  héros, German Held) – mythical figures between the divine and human worlds – have great significance for the self-conceptions of the groups, classes (Estates of the realm), and nations (Nation, nationalism) that venerate them. By embodying the value system of these groups and representing it as victorious in the heroes’ adventures, they make it visible and attractive. By pushing the value system to its limit, thus revealing the conf…
Date: 2019-10-14

Numismatics

(1,736 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and meaningNumismatics (from the Latin numisma, “coin”) has since the 18th century denoted the scholarly discipline concerned with the analysis of coins. A distinction was drawn between a “commercial numismatics” that sought to establish the metal content and monetary value of coins and a “historical numismatics” exploring their historical and cultural significance [1]. In practice, however, the two aspects were intertwined. Coins old and new alike were a source of fas…
Date: 2020-04-06

Seal

(1,556 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionA seal (from Latin  sigillum, diminutive of  signum, “sign”; Italian  sigillo, Spanish  sello, French  cachet or  sceau, German Siegel) is a mirror image intaglio on a stamp (often itself called a seal) made of metal, stone, wood, or horn (typar or signet), which is pressed on a soft material that hardens rapidly (usually wax, but after c. 1560 more commonly lacquer) or a paper wafer. It serves to witness to legal acts of rulers, governments, corporations, institutions, and i…
Date: 2021-08-02

Ambition

(974 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology Even in its original Latin form,  ambitio was a morally ambivalent concept. Since the time of Cicero, it meant not just the “circulation” of candidates for office to make themselves known to their voters but also a particularly insistent, ruthless pursuit of offices and dignities. After Augustine this attitude stood in almost irreconcilable conflict with the Christian commandment of humility and diffidence. Theologians of all persuasions disapproved of striving after “empty honor” (Luther). For Philipp Melanchthon, eergeizlich—the German word, which came i…
Date: 2019-10-14

Humanity

(866 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Humanist rootsThe term hum…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dogs, keeping of

(2,036 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Types and functions The dog was widespread in all social classes in the early modern period, and undertook a range of functions. It was according to these, and not the breed (a concept that only achieved currency as a system of classification after 1850) that dog types were distinguished.Hounds used for hunting were of particular interest to contemporaries, following on from ancient authors, such as Xenophon (
Date: 2019-10-14

Gemmology

(1,064 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept Ancient engraved gems (from the Latin gemma, “precious stone”) are small reliefs inscribed into semiprecious stones (generally chalcedony, carnelian, agate, onyx, or hematite), rock crystal, or glass, depicting portraits, mythological figures and scenes, and often inscriptions or magical symbols (Character). Because they often show the legendary creature known from gnosticism, the so-called Abraxas (or Abrasax), with armored body and a cockerel's head, they were sometimes called “…
Date: 2019-10-14

Educational policy

(2,295 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe term '’educational policy'’, which did not come into common use until the 1960s, denotes the sphere of cultural policy that involves the educational system: the efforts of the government (Sovereign power) and elite leadership to promote their goals by establishing and favoring institutions of Bildung and instruction and to combat the corresponding institutions of the opposition. In this sense, educational policy was an important area of early modern politics, an essential element…
Date: 2019-10-14

Greatness

(1,523 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. The term In antiquity the attribute of greatness associated with gods, heroes, and kings had already been extended to leading members of the elite in city states and republics and elevated to the status of a universal virtue possessed by rulers. In the early modern period, greatness (Lat.  …
Date: 2019-10-14

Prudence

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and problemPrudence (Greek  phrónesis, Latin  prudentia, Italian  prudenza, Spanish  prudencia, French  prudence, German  Klugheit) appears in Aristotle’s  Nicomachean Ethics as the gift of correct practical action. It includes asking advice ( eubulía), understanding ( synesis), and judgment ( gnṓme). Considered a cardinal virtue ever since the Latin church father Ambrose (4th century), by the time of Thomas Aquinas (13th century) at the latest it was considered the mother of all virtues (Latin 
Date: 2021-03-15

Libertine

(1,684 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe Latin legal term  libertinus (“freedman”), which in the Acts of the Apostles (6,9) attaches to the persecutors of St. Stephen, passed into French ( libertine) around 1480 via vernacular biblical commentaries, and from there it entered the other modern European languages, including English. From 1545, Calvinist and Catholic preachers were using it to discredit morally those who did not unconditionally accept their dogmas. The word “libertinage” or “libertinism” (French libertinage, also libertinisme) emerged from 1600 to denote the religious skepticism or even atheism of which non-conformists were accused. What began as a dangerous accusation became, from the 1640s, an elite badge worn with honor by many who felt themselves to be religious and moral freethinkers and wished to assert a refined autonomy over both the political demands of absolutism and the moral demands of bourgeois society. During the 18th century, “libertine” came to mean a radical, sexally unbridled champion of the Enlightenment [7]; [17].Gerrit Walther2. Religious…
Date: 2019-10-14

German New Humanism

(1,372 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. The phenomenonThe German term  Neuhumanismus (“Neohumanism, New Humanism”), coined by Friedrich Paulsen in 1885 …
Date: 2019-10-14

Tacitism

(1,407 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition and beginningsThe term  Tacitism, coined in 1921, denotes a specific style of politico-ideological skepticism between approximately 1570 and 1650 that was sparked by the works of the Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (c. 100 CE). Its guiding principle and keynote was 
Date: 2022-11-07

Decadence

(1,413 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe idea that empires and cultures, having risen to power and greatness, must necessarily undergo decline, commonplace among ancient historians after Polybius, was revisited and reformulated by the Humanists. Until around 1800, “decadence” (also “decline”; Latin   inclinatio, ruina, depravatio; Italian  decadenza, declino, caduta; French  déclin, décadence; German  Verfall, Dekadenz) was therefore a basic category of political, social, and aesthetic discourse. As a constitutive element of a cyclical view of history, the concept den…
Date: 2019-10-14

Moralist literature

(1,308 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionAt its first appearance in 1690 in Antoine Furetière’s Dictionnaire universel, the term  moraliste (“moralist”) simply meant an author who treated moral questions. By around 1700, however, the pejorative secondary meaning “rigorist” had been coined, referring specifically to adherents of Jansenism. Volume 10 of the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D’Alembert once more denigrated the moralist, defining him in 1765 as a vain, unsystematic littérateur aiming more to amaze than to enlighten [9. 48–52]. The term  moralist literature (German Moralistik), by contra…
Date: 2020-04-06

Morality, history of

(1,148 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition and modelsIn the late 18th and 19th centuries, “history of morality” was the phrase used to denote the genre of cultural history that paid special attention to the mores and everyday world of a bygone epoch, culture, nation (Nation, nationalism), or society (Society [community]). The German equivalent, Sittengeschichte, used by Kant in contrast to Naturgeschichte (Natural history), remained limited to German [3]. Ever since Humanism, however, the concept of a historical presentation that seeks to draw conclusions about the civilized …
Date: 2020-04-06

Scandal

(1,230 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe term scandal – from Greek  skándalon, “(trigger of a) snare” (Latin  scandalum, especially biblical, “cause of offence,” “stumbling block”) – appeared in French in the 17th century as a (pejorative) synonym for “public sensation”; like the verb scandalize (create a sensation), it was then borrowed by the other European languages (German at the beginning of the 18th century [4]. It denotes both a sensational public event and the sensation itself, that is, discussion of it.  Scandal can thus be defined as the sum of reactions to a flagrant offense again…
Date: 2021-08-02

Sprezzatura

(880 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe early modern term sprezzatura (from the Italian sprezzare, “to neglect,” and Late Latin  expretiare, “devalue”) covered a spectrum of meaning ranging from laxity and nonchalance by way of elegance to understatement and dissimulation, and thus denoted the most important ideal of conduct in Renaissance and Baroque court society. Unlike the words from which it derived, sprezzatura was always positive in connotation [5]; [9]. Sprezzatura was coined as “a new word” ( una nova parola), if not literally invented, around 1520, by Baldassare Castiglione in C…
Date: 2022-08-17

Spinozism

(1,342 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionIn many European languages in the 17th and 18th centuries, the word  Spinozism, first documented in 1699 but clearly older, was a vague collective term for all positions associated with the teachings of the Netherlandish Jewish philosopher Baruch de Spinoza (1632–1677). The thinkers who affirmed these teachings or were accused of doing so were called Spinozists. Both terms were exonyms and were almost always used polemically, since contemporaries were unanimous in their belief that Spinoza’s phi…
Date: 2022-08-17

Honnête homme, honnête femme

(1,229 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe term  honnête homme, first attested in 1538, is defined in the  Dictionarium latinogallicum of Robert Estienne as a “cultured courtly gentleman without presumption.” Since the early 17th century, it expressed the quintessence of courtly urbanity, the social model of the new court society of the age of Louis XIV. Unlike related French words such as  courtisan, homme de qualité, homme de bien, homme galant, and  gentilhomme, the  honnête homme (and the  honnête femme) was not socially predefined; he was the classless ideal of an individual who alw…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dame

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept The term, which came into English in the Middle Ages from the French dame (compare Italian dama/ donna, German Dame), derives from the Latin  domina (“mistress”). Dame in English is generally confined to an honorific title; where derivatives of domina in other languages denote a woman of high social rank or status, English uses “lady” (Old English hlafdige = “[woman] who kneads bread”) as Spanish uses señora. As a courtly title, “Dame” was mostly used in conjunction with the possessive “my” or  ma ( Madame, Madonna, Madam, My Lady/Milady). Domina derivatives denote th…
Date: 2019-10-14

Manners

(1,434 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. A social idealManners were understood from the late 15th century as the sum of all behaviors that expressed politeness or courtesy (German Höflichkeit; Italian  cortesia, gentilezza; Spanish  cortesía; French  politesse, civilité, towards ladies also  courtoisie and  galanterie; Dame) in practice. These were therefore more than merely forms of conduct corresponding to applicable social rules. Such prescribed conduct differed in the early modern period according to gender, estate, profession, confession, and social, ethnic, and…
Date: 2019-10-14

Temperament

(1,186 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ModelThe model of the four temperaments (from the Latin temperamentum, “proper measure”) remained in the early modern period, as it had been throughout classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, the norm for describing the character of individuals. The classification of four basic types (sanguine, melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic), completed in ancient times by Aristotle and Galen, provided the categories whose specific combinations explained the individual subject. Although – in the words of the Baron …
Date: 2022-11-07

Character

(1,502 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptAt the beginning of the early modern period, the Greek term charaktḗr (‘stamp’ or ‘engraving’), which Patristic writers includingAugustine had been the first to introduce into literary Latin, had an abstract and technical meaning. As in the writings of Aristotle’s pupil Theophrastus, it denoted both a permanent mark, distinguishing feature, or symbol, and a prevailing moral quality [5]. The combination of the two senses proved so inspiring and fruitful that by the end of the 18th century, ‘character’ had undergone a rapid change of meaning in…
Date: 2019-10-14

Memoirs

(1,443 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and definitionThe plural term “memoirs” adopted into all European cultural languages and derived from the Latin memoria and the French  mémoire (“memory,” “remembrance”) meant, like its Latin counterparts commentarii (“[legal] record”) and  adversaria (“[journal recording] what is before one's eyes”), a juristic, official, or diplomatic record describing the prior history and problem context of a conflict requiring negotiation. Academies also often titled their publication as “memoirs.” In its most significant connot…
Date: 2019-10-14

Enlightenment history

(1,631 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe modern term is a collective designation for all works of history, historiography, and philosophy of history (History, philosophy of) published during the Enlightenment by authors subscribing to Enlightenment ideas and values.Gerrit Walther2. Questions and modelsThe Enlightenment shaped a fundamentally new conception of history. It broke with the Christian-theological view of history that had only recently reached its virtuoso apogee in Jacques Bénigne Bossuet’s Discours sur l’Histoire universelle (1681). Bossuet characterized history as the …
Date: 2019-10-14

Bildung

(7,073 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology During the early modern period, the languages of the civilized European world had a wide range of words to express the process of formation designed to transform individuals through education and their own efforts into persons conformed as well as possible to the norms defined by society. From the beginning, the vernacular derivatives of Latin educatio (“education,” German Erziehung), eruditio (“literacy,” German Belesenheit), and scientia (“knowledge," German Wissen) were dominant. The English and French terms formation—a combination of learning and outw…
Date: 2019-10-14

Late Humanism

(2,030 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition The term Late Humanism is frequently applied to a cultural epoch between Humanism and Baroque, but it is seldom defined. All current usages agree on just one thing: that it should be viewed as both a social phenomenon and an ensemble of cultural and educational phenomena. Still in common use only in German-language scholarship, it was introduced into literary studies in 1931 by Erich Trunz [12], who described Late Humanism as a “class culture” of mostly Protestant scholars in the Old Empire around 1600. The historian Gerhard Oestreich extende…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dissimulation

(2,195 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and overviewIn most of the cultural languages of Europe, dissimulation at the beginning of the early modern period was denoted using the Latin terms simulatio and  dissimulatio that had been current since Cicero and that Tacitus, in particular, made his own. While the latter meant concealing one's own views and intentions, the former meant simulating ideas and plans other than those one really had in mind. Although dissimulation, as a form of lying (Lie), was strictly frowned upon - telling the truth was a comm…
Date: 2019-10-14

Uomo universale

(651 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe Italian expression uomo universale (universal man) denotes an individual who displays extraordinary abilities in all areas of life, knowledge, and creativity and accomplishes great things. The term was popularized by Jacob Burckhardt, whose  Cultur der Renaissance in Italien (1860; “Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy”) described the emergence of the model of a universally talented and educated person as the pinnacle of the “evolution of the individual” typical of the Renaissance (Individuality): “When this impul…
Date: 2022-11-07

Egyptology

(1,550 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Theology and languageModern Egyptology was born on September 27, 1822, when Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) presented his Lettre à M. Dacier to the Paris Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres. The document provided the basis for the decipherment of the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs [8]; [9]. European scholars had begun researching the writing, language, and culture of Ancient Egypt from the 15th century, but they had done so mostly from the perspective of the theological problem of the relationship between Egyptian and…
Date: 2019-10-14

Antiquarianism

(2,164 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology and form Before 1800 the Latin word antiquitates (“antiquities”; French antiquités, German Antiquitäten), made popular by the famous (but fragmentary) antiquarian treatise Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum (“Antiquities of Human and Divine Institutions”) of the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BCE) was used synonymously with archaeology. It referred to written accounts or material remains (such as coins, monuments, works of art, everyday objects) that could provide information about cults…
Date: 2019-10-14

Progress

(2,200 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Walther, Gerrit
1. The termThe English noun  progress (in the sense of advancement or improvement; from Latin progressus via Old French  progres) came into use around 1600. Like its equivalents (French  progrès, German Fortschritt, Italian  progresso), it denotes the specifically early modern view of historical movement and change in contrast to earlier concepts of movement such as journey, growth, and development. It is true, though, that the related Latin roots ( progressusprofectus, processus) can mean the change of things for the better; both classical cosmology, based …
Date: 2021-03-15

Concluding chapter 7: Bildung, culture and communication

(5,284 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Behringer, Wolfgang
A. Bildung and culture 1. Epochs 1. 1. The year 1450: an appropriate beginning?The question whether the middle of the 15th century marked the beginning of a new epoch can clearly be answered affirmatively for the history of European culture and  Bildung. From the perspective of other historical disciplines such as economic history, social history, or gender studies, there may be good reasons to challenge such a definition; for the domain of culture and Bildung, however, any expert will agree. Seen historically, the current concept of the early modern period as …
Date: 2023-11-14

Greek studies

(3,561 words)

Author(s): Landfester, Manfred | Walther, Gerrit
1. Definition and function The term  Greek studies, which did not come into common use until the second half of the 20th century, denotes academic study of the classical Greek language and Greek belletristic, philosophical, and technical literature from the 8th century BCE to the 6th century CE. Since the 19th century, Greek studies together with Latin studies or Latin philology have constituted classical philology. The Renaissance defined the academic study of both Greek and Latin and their literatures as  studia humanitatis (“studies of humanity”; C. Salutati, L. Bru…
Date: 2019-10-14

Order (association)

(3,188 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Mertens, Benedikt
1. DefinitionIn the early modern period, order (from Latin  ordo, which denoted such central political and social categories as order [system], the estates of the realm, and rank [3. 935 f.], then in Christian Latin “clergy” and “monastic community”) was an ambiguous term, but always associated with high prestige. Generally speaking it denoted an exclusive community, whose members had joined together under the leadership of an aristocratic or charismatic personality and had bound themselves by oath to work together for c…
Date: 2020-10-06

Barbarian

(1,952 words)

Author(s): Grünberger, Hans | Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept This term, already used by Homer, became a key term in cultural critique from the 14th century onwards. Used polemically, it meant anyone who ignored the values, demands and representatives of humanist education, or indeed opposed them ( Bildung; Humanism), or anyone whose social claims to power did not appear legitimated by a corresponding openness to Early Modern culture and to urban forms of social intercourse. There was special polemical force in the accusation of being a barbarian, precisely because of the variety of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Method

(1,806 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Schliesser, Eric
1. Concept and meaningA method - a planned, standardized procedure for obtaining and verifying information and arranging it into a knowledge system, is an indispensable element of learned activity in all knowledge societies. The development of method in early modern Europe was characterized by its gradual emancipation from knowledge content. To begin with, method served as a procedure of teaching and demonstrating (Proof) theories, dogmas, traditions, and authorities that arose and endured independ…
Date: 2019-10-14

Subjectivity

(1,567 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Christophersen, Alf
1. Overview 1.1. ConceptSince the late 18th century, the term  subjectivity (from Latin subiectum, “something placed underneath”; as a term of classical rhetoric: “basis [of a statement]”) has been understood as a philosophical mindset or attitude that views the world and reality not as something objectively given but as an idea or a creation of the subject perceiving it. From the outset, this emphasis on perception distinguished subjectivity from similar categories like character (the nature and moral qual…
Date: 2022-08-17

Taste

(1,867 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Kanz, Roland
1. DefinitionOf the five senses, the one associated with the mouth (taste; Latin  gustus or  sapor, Italian and Spanish  gusto, French  goût, German  Geschmack) became by the 17th century, at the latest, a universal term for the ability to perceive beauty, to prize it, to assess it, and in some cases to (re)produce it. In this sense, it also stood for the ability to do or embody what is appropriate (Latin  aptum; Decorum) and worthy in any situation.Gerrit Walther2. Tastemakers, functions, placesThe concepts and guiding ideals of taste were supplied by classical rhetoric, …
Date: 2022-11-07

Canon

(2,488 words)

Author(s): Dücker, Burckhard | Walther, Gerrit
1. Term The Greek word kanṓn (orig. craftsman’s ‘measure’, ‘standard’) had a range of meanings in Antiquity, all of which referred to a generally valid norm. In art, for instance, it denoted from around the time of Polyclitus (5th century BCE) the proportion theory of the human body. In music, beginning with the Pythagoreans (5th century BCE) it was a twelve-part measuring instrument for determining the intervals. In epistemology from Democritus (4th century BCE) it was the sense of truth and the fac…
Date: 2019-10-14

Research

(4,192 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Gierl, Martin
1. General survey ​1.1. TerminologyThe early modern period had a surprisingly large number of terms for deliberate efforts to expand the existing store of knowledge. Besides the common Latin terms  explorare (explore), scrutari (plumb), experiri (test), and probare (try out), the 17th-century encyclopedias used Latin  aucupari, ( per) contari, requitare, rogitare, ( in) vestigare, quaerere, inquirere, sciscere, and ( sci) scitari. A person engaged in that effort was a  scrutator, percontator, rimator, ( in) vestigator, or in- or  perquisitor. These terms gave rise to eq…
Date: 2021-08-02

Genealogy

(2,589 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Graf, Klaus
1. Concept and forms Ever since Hecataeus of Miletus collected genealogíai (“information about [noble] families”) in the 6th century BCE, the term ‘genealogy’ has denoted the art of ascertaining the place of a subject within his or her biological kin (Latin genus or  gens), or of reconstructing and portraying the succession of generations within a family. The genealogical perspective may be the world's oldest and most widespread method for determining the class (Estates of the realm) and rank of a person in society and for recalling, recording, and presenting the past.In the e…
Date: 2019-10-14

World history

(6,345 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Nolte, Hans-Heinrich
1. Universal history 1.1. Concept and purpose World history is the genre of historiography that seeks to present the history of all countries, nations, peoples, and cultures in an overall context – in other words, a complete history of humankind – if possible from the earliest beginning to the present. It shares this aspiration with universal history (from Greek  kathólu historía, Latin  historia universalis), an earlier term (c. 310 used by Eusebius of Caesarea [14]), while  world history (initially only in the plural) first appeared in the late 17th century. Initially,  world…
Date: 2023-11-14

Historian

(2,106 words)

Author(s): Blanke, Horst Walter | Walther, Gerrit
1. General 1.1. Terminology Most 19th- and 20th-century lexicons define a historian as a person who studies and writes about history; Grimm calls a Historiker (historian) a  Geschichtsforscher  und -schreiber (researcher and writer of history) [1] (see Historiography). There have been writers dealing with historical events since the beginning of literacy in Europe (Homer and Moses, or Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, Polybius, and Tacitus). Only since the late Enlightenment, however, have there been professional historians. In his introduction to a translation of a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Arms

(4,340 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Lück, Heiner | Biller, Josef H.
1. Definition, origin, and forms In the Western society of estates (see Estates, society of) of the Middle Ages and early modern period, (coats of) arms (German Wappen from Middle High German  wâpen, French armoiries [1]) were important symbols of rank and status, the descent and relationships of an individual, a family (Family coat of arms), or a corporate body. They came into being around 1100 in the regions of (Central) Europe where feudal society had its deepest roots: (northern) France, Burgundy, England, Scotland, and th…
Date: 2019-10-14

Epoch

(3,730 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Kanz, Roland | Riedl, Peter Philipp
1. History 0-1.1. ConceptThe Greek word epochḗ (“suspension, pause”) in everyday speech in Antiquity meant a lull in a speech or a movement, in astronomy the conjunction of two celestial bodies, and in philosophy the suspension of judgment (Skepticism). In the early modern period, the latter two senses were at first dominant. The term only gradually took on a historical sense. As it did so, even until the 18th century, it did not denote a particular span of time, but the event that heralded one. Even …
Date: 2019-10-14

Catholic Reformation

(5,118 words)

Author(s): Decot, Rolf | Walther, Gerrit | Kanz, Roland
1. Terminology The response of the Catholic Church (usually called the “Old Church” in the Reformation period) to the Reformation began gradually. Historians have coined various terms for it. Today there is still no term that covers both the efforts at reform within the Church during the 16th century and the attempt to win back the Church’s lost socio-political terrain. The competing terms include  Catholic Reformation,   Counter-Reformation, Catholic confessionalization, and recatholization.The reaction of the Old Church (and the states and territories that …
Date: 2019-10-14

Emancipation

(3,188 words)

Author(s): Klippel, Diethelm | Walther, Gerrit | Klein, Birgit E.
1. General 1.1. OverviewThe term emancipation, which exists in all European languages, comes from Roman private law (Latin emancipatio), and originally meant release from the patria potestas (Parental rights and obligations). The concept had an extraordinary career from the dawn of the early modern period, though the original family law sense survived in jurisdiction long into the 19th century in Europe. While outside legal usage it initially had an overtone of moral egoism, it increasingly became a subject of reflection…
Date: 2019-10-14

Museum

(3,917 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Müller-Wille, Staffan | Kalusok, Michaela
1. ConceptThe prototype and model for all early modern museums was the Museíon, which the Egyptian king Ptolemy I had established around 320 BCE in the same part of the palace at Alexandria that also housed his world-famous library. It was an academy where scholars, who were paid a salary by the government, met for research, discussion, and banqueting. Only in the early modern period did “museum” acquire a more topographical and material meaning. In the 18th century, it was defined as “a place where things are kept that have direct reference to the arts and Muses” [1. 893]. By the 19th cen…
Date: 2020-04-06

Romanticism

(11,561 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Mahoney, Dennis F. | Büttner, Frank | Eichhorn, Andreas
1. ConceptIn the most general sense, “Romanticism” (German  Romantik, French  romantisme, Spanish/Italian  romanticismo) today denotes the dominant intellectual attitude among European intellectuals of the transitional early-modern to modern Sattelzeit (c. 1770-1830) and the aesthetics they preferred. Unlike “Humanism” or “Enlightenment,” Romanticism was not a cultural movement, but a trend, mentality, or attitude in art and aesthetics that influenced many spheres of life (e.g. religion, politics, the famil…
Date: 2021-08-02

Tradition

(5,717 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Walter, Peter | Leppin, Volker | Reichmuth, Stefan
1. History and culture 1.1. IntroductionTradition (Latin traditio, via Old French  tradicion, “handing over,” “delivery”) denotes customs, beliefs, and the like, that are “handed down” from generation to generation. In theory, it is understood as a specific reservoir of knowledge, techniques, technologies, mores, customs, perspectives, attitudes, norms, and institutions residing within a community and passed down relatively unchanged by one generation to the next, thereby lending continuity and identity to…
Date: 2022-11-07

Dance

(3,821 words)

Author(s): Busch-Salmen, Gabriele | Walther, Gerrit | Rode-Breymann, Susanne
1. Introduction Dance - a sequence of stylized rhythmical steps and movements performed by individuals, couples, or groups - was one of the most widespread and popular forms of nonverbal communication and public representation in the early modern period. As an indispensable component of free time and festivals of all kinds, it formed part of the everyday world of almost all ranks and groupings, in both elite and popular culture (see also e.g. Kermis, fig. 1; Music, fig. 3). Many had their own danc…
Date: 2019-10-14

Psychology

(3,246 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Greve, Ylva | Klippel, Diethelm | Walther, Gerrit
1. Introduction and general history 1.1. Definition and early terminological historyThe word “psychology” comes from the Greek ( psychḗ, originally “breath,” “soul”; i.e. “lore of the soul”). The modern empirical science of psychology established its first research institute at Leipzig in 1879, but from a philosophical perspective, European psychology (as a study of the properties of the soul) began with the work of the Presocratic philosophers in the 5th century BCE.The Croatian Humanist Marcus Marulus (Marulić) is said to have written a treatise (now lost) entitled Psichio…
Date: 2021-03-15

Renaissance

(18,500 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Scattola, Merio | Pfisterer, Ulrich | Satzinger, Georg | Wiedner, Saskia | Et al.
1. Concept 1.1. Renaissance as the rebirth of classical antiquity“Renaissance” (Italian  rinascitàrinascimento, “rebirth”) developed in the 15th century into a general term for the reception of classical antiquity (Antiquity, reception of) in Humanism. The Latin verb renasci (to be born again) is found as early as 1430 in the context of rhetoric in the work of the French Petrarch scholar Nicholas of Clémanges. The Italian rinascere then came into use around 1450 in reference to sculpture in Lorenzo Ghiberti (see below, 9.2.), and in 1460/64 for archit…
Date: 2021-08-02

Enlightenment

(14,627 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Steinle, Friedrich | Beutel, Albrecht | Tschopp, Silvia Serena | Kanz, Roland | Et al.
1. Concept and definition Enlightenment in English is first attested from 1865 as a translation of the German  Aufklärung, which was first recorded in 1691. With their European cognates  lumières (French), illuminismo (Italian), and  ilustración (Spanish), they denote the most influential European educational and cultural movement of the 18th century, as well as its overriding goals: to subject all authorities, traditions, and hierarchies to the critical measure of a newly defined reason, and to abolish them if they ran counter…
Date: 2019-10-14
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