Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

Get access Subject: History

Executive editor of the English version: Graeme Dunphy

The Encyclopedia of Early Modern History is the English edition of the German-language Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. This 15-volume reference work, published in print between 2005 and 2012 and here available online, offers a multi-faceted view on the decisive era in European history stretching from ca. 1450 to ca. 1850 ce. in over 4,000 entries.
The perspective of this work is European. This is not to say that the rest of the World is ignored – on the contrary, the interaction between European and other cultures receives extensive attention.

New articles will be added on a regular basis during the period of translation, for the complete German version see Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit Online.

Subscriptions: Brill.com


(987 words)

Author(s): Babel, Rainer
1. Holy Roman Empire The word cabinet (German Kabinett), derived from the French cabinet, originally meant a small and intimate room. From the 17th century in the German-speaking world, it began to be used in place of Kammer (“chamber”) to denote the work and council chamber of the ruler and, in a figurative sense, the apparatus of supreme executive power. Zedler’s Universal-Lexikon, for instance, defined Cabinet as the sanctuarium principis (“sanctum of the prince”), which “great lords have set aside for when they wish to discuss and negotiate the most secret an…
Date: 2019-03-20

Cabinet of curiosities

(877 words)

Author(s): Rosenke, Stephan
Cabinets of curiosities (also Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, cabinets of wonder, wonder-rooms, etcetera) were a form of collection that had their heyday in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and faded into obscurity in the 18th and 19th centuries. Unlike the later, specialist museum and learned scholarly collection in the stricter sense, cabinets of curiosities assembled objects from a wide variety of spheres, including art objects, naturalia, mechanical and scientific instruments, and everyday objects from other cultures.According to [7], the earliest antecedents of the…
Date: 2019-03-20


(999 words)

Author(s): Schüren, Ute
1. Term and concept Cacique was a term first borrowed into Spanish from Arawak by Columbus, and it originally denoted the Taíno chieftains ( kassequa) of the island of Hispaniola. During the Conquista and the Spanish colonial period (Colonial empire), it came to be used to categorize authorities and rulers of all kinds and degrees of power in the subjugated indigenous societies of Latin America [1].The title cacique was used differently from region to region. At first, the local populace continued to use their specific local terms to refer to the cacique, e.g. kuraka in the Andes, latoan…
Date: 2019-03-20


(814 words)

Author(s): Behrisch, Lars | Grüne, Niels
A cadaster is a register and (usually) a mapping of owned land by extent, use and yield for the purposes of raising taxes. In the early phase, cadasters often also included other objects of ownership and taxability (cattle, goods). Since the 18th century many European states set up cadaster so as to gain direct knowledge of the possessions (Possession [law]) of their subjects and thus a uniform key for calculations of tax liability. Previously the raising of taxes, where it was in the hands of t…
Date: 2019-03-20

Cadastral area

(2,618 words)

Author(s): Dix, Andreas
1. Terminology Cadastral areas are the usable agrarian land in a defined area: fields, meadows and pastures, which are allocated in parcels of land to individual agricultural business units. Gardens, areas of  common land and enclosed woodland (Forest) are not generally counted as belonging to the cadastral area [3]. In common usage, the entire area used for agriculture is referred to as “open land” (German  Flur, as for a cadastral area) as distinct from woodland.The fundamental structural element of a cadastral area is the parcel, which can be regarded as a parcel …
Date: 2019-03-20

Cadet school

(1,184 words)

Author(s): Kloosterhuis, Jürgen
1. Concept and purpose Cadet schools (from the French cadet, “younger son”) trained successive generations of officer corps in early modern military systems, after the latter had taken on the form of standing armies. The objective was to create a continuously maintained potential leadership for the regiments with better schooling including military training. The schooling part of this goal was rooted in the knight academy, the general/nobility canon of education for this (foreign languages, riding, fenci…
Date: 2019-03-20

Calculus of variations

(964 words)

Author(s): Fraser, Craig | Rammer, Gerhard
1. Origins The core of the calculus of variations in its simplest form lies in finding a function that maximizes or minimizes a fixed definite integral.. The term calculus of variations was proposed in the 18th century by Leonhard Euler, following Joseph Louis de Lagrange, and refers to the procedure of using extremal conditions to identify the function in question in such a way that the value of the integral changes only minimally with small variations in the function. As a …
Date: 2019-03-20


(5,035 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: 2019-03-20

Calendar reform

(1,632 words)

Author(s): Koller, Edith
1. Background The Christian calendar, a hybrid of solar and lunar reckoning, combines two functions. First, it serves the reckoning of time (Time, reckoning of) on an astronomical basis (date reckoning). Secondly, it facilitates the reckoning of religious festival. In Christian chronology and computus (the science of calendar reckoning), it was vital to have as astronomically exact a calendar as possible in order to calculate correctly the church holidays, which were tied to the course of the sun …
Date: 2019-03-20


(3 words)

See Cotton
Date: 2019-03-20


(2,733 words)

Author(s): Koch, Ernst | Pfister, Ulrich
1. Theology 1.1. Terminology and geographical spreadThe term Calvinism was originally coined in a pejorative sense by J. Westphal, a Hamburg pastor and disciple of Luther. Besides the work and impact of the Geneva Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564), he extended it to include the influence of the Zürich Reformation movement led by Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and his followers. Thus Calvinist can be used as a synonym of Reformed, for example in the legal language of the Empire after the Peace of Westphalia (1648).Outside Switzerland, Calvinism became influential during the 16t…
Date: 2019-03-20


(3 words)

See Gemmology
Date: 2019-03-20


(3,542 words)

Author(s): Sokoll, Thomas
1. Terminology and historiography The term  cameralism is used in two senses. First, it denotes the economic policy and administration of the public finances of the German territorial state in the age of absolutism.  In this sense, cameralism can be considered the German variant of mercantilism. It is correspondingly difficult to distinguish it from the latter (as a European phenomenon) and from the general political science of public administrations in the 17th and 18th centuries (as a specifically German concern; see Polizeiwissenschaft) [8]; [18]. Second,  cameralism and …
Date: 2019-03-20


(943 words)

Author(s): Dubowy, Norbert
The Italian term camerata, meaning “place of assembly” (derived from the Latin/Italian camera), is attested referring to various gatherings and associations akin to academies around 1600. In the strict sense in the context of musical literature,  camerata has become established as referring to the circle that met in the Florentine palace of Giovanni Maria de’ Bardi, Conte di Vernio, in the 1570s and 1580s. This circle shared a common interest in literature, ancient music, and music theory. The theoretical discussions and practical experiments conducted within the  camerata are re…
Date: 2019-03-20


(3,453 words)

Author(s): Schinkel, Eckhard
1. Concept and research Canal is a non-specific term for a water conduit or conveyance system for traffic and transport, provision, clearance or communication. Ship canals (Shipping) are artificial water courses constructed with methods of hydraulic engineering in or between economic areas. Depending on their situation and function a distinction is made between feeder canals, spur and works canals, connecting canals (between rivers or two lakes), navigations (parallel to a river), summit …
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,351 words)

Author(s): Gareis, Iris
1. Term and background The term cannibalism, which Columbus coined in 1492 on his first American voyage, is the early modern equivalent to the older word ‘anthropophagy’ (from Greek ánthrōpos, ‘person’, and phageín, ‘to eat’). In the early modern period, both denoted the consumption of human flesh. The scholarly literature distinguishes between endocannibalism and exocannibalism, the former being the eating of members of one’s own group, the latter of other groups. Authenticated cases of endocannibalism in recent indigenous so…
Date: 2019-03-20


(7 words)

See Artillery | Gunpowder | Weapon
Date: 2019-03-20


(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: 2019-03-20


(4 words)

See Ladies' foundation
Date: 2019-03-20

Canon law

(804 words)

Author(s): Duve, Thomas
Canon law (from the Gr. kanṓn, Lat. canon, “rule, standard”) is the academic discipline of ecclesiastical law. So-called classical canon law began with Gratian's Decretum ( ca. 1140). In the modern period on the the continent of Europe, the term was primarily applied to the discipline of Catholic church law, while "ecclesiastical law" is predominantly preferred parlance in Protestant churches.So-called classical canon law came to an end in the mid-14th century, to be followed by a period displaying elements of consolidation and stagnation; this lasted…
Date: 2019-03-20


(4 words)

See Bänkelsang
Date: 2019-03-20


(2,320 words)

Author(s): Waczkat, Andreas
1. Term and genre in the early 17th century The concept of the cantata (Italian cantata or cantada, from Latin/Italian cantare, ‘to sing’), unlike that of the madrigal, for instance, is poetologically vague and permits no valid generic criteria to be proposed. In the early 17th century, the term cantata appeared in imitation of the word sonata, and at first it referred to Italian vocal compositions (Vocal music), the common musical features of which extend no further than their setting texts for between one and three solo voices with a figured bass accompaniment.The first attestation …
Date: 2019-03-20

Canton system

(746 words)

Author(s): Winter, Martin
The term canton system denotes the recruitment system of the Prussian army, which from the 1730s to 1806 assigned to each regiment an exclusive domestic recruiting district (canton). After the recruitment of foreign mercenaries was stopped, the canton system was the sole recruitment system in Prussia from 1806 to 1813, when it was replaced by universal conscription. It lived on to some extent in administrative usage until the late 19th century. The canton system developed like comparable recruitmen…
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,516 words)

Author(s): Loeser, Martin
1. Definition and development Cantorate in the early modern period primarily denoted the office of cantor as it gradually emerged as a structure within a municipal community during the Reformation in Lutheran regions of Germany, and to some extent in the Baltic, Scandinavia, and Slovakia. There was no equivalent Catholic office. The key responsibilities of the cantor were to provide musical and scholarly instruction at the local Latin school, for which his own academic studies were an important prec…
Date: 2019-03-20

Cant, thieves’

(4 words)

See Argot
Date: 2019-03-20

Cantus firmus

(790 words)

Author(s): Lindmayr-Brandl, Andrea
1. Contexts of meaning Three contexts of meaning are associated with the term cantus firmus (Latin, also:  cantus prius factus; Italian canto fermo, “fixed/enduring/unadorned song”). By the Middle Ages, in monodic sacredmusic, it had already come to denote a melody that advanced in tones of equal duration. As polyphony developed, cantus firmus also came to refer to a pre-existing melody that formed the basis for a composition. The term also occurs in a blend of both senses in music theory. There, since the 16th centu…
Date: 2019-03-20


(3 words)

See Linen
Date: 2019-03-20

Capacity, legal

(4 words)

See Person
Date: 2019-03-20

Cape Colony

(2,496 words)

Author(s): Marx, Christoph
1. Definition The colony at the Cape of Good Hope existed from 1652 until 1910. It was a Dutch colony until 1795/1806, thereafter British (Colonial empire). During the 17th and 18th centuries, it expanded from Tafelbaai/Table Bay and Kaapstad/Cape Town northwards (to the Oranjerivier/Orange River) and east (to the Groot-Visrivier/Great Fish River), before growing further in both directions through annexations in the 19th century. In 1910, renamed Cape Province, it became the largest province of the new Union (Republic from 1961) of South Africa.Christoph Marx 2. History…
Date: 2019-03-20

Capital, accumulation of

(1,372 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. Concept When they speak of capital accumulation, economists mean the increase of an economy’s capital stock through new investments [10. 9], for example investment in means of production (i.e. machinery, tools, or buildings) and inventory build-up. These can be financed either through savings, i.e. earlier reduction in consumption, or through credit. Historians have primarily discussed the role of capital accumulation in industrialization (see 3. below). Here two perspectives have played a central role: (1) th…
Date: 2019-03-20

Capital city

(1,030 words)

Author(s): Eibach, Joachim
1. Functions and origins The capital, which in the modern constitutional state is the seat of the head of state, the government, and parliament, was in the pre-constitutional era of the early modern period generally the place of the prince’s permanent residence, and always the venue of central government functions. Besides this political function, a “true capital” is also the urban hub of the country (Metropolis) and an economic center, and it exerts a considerable power of cultural integration [1. 2 f.]. Where these political and economic or cultural aspects diverge, “secr…
Date: 2019-03-20


(2,846 words)

Author(s): Plumpe, Werner
1. History of the term The term  capitalism is comparatively recent [6]; [11]. Unlike  capital and capitalist, which are found in the language of commerce and business as early as the late Middle Ages, capitalism first appeared in French in the mid-19th century – already with critical overtones. From the 1870s on, it became popular in Germany as a negative characterization of the social situation brought on by the Panic of 1873 and the subsequent Great Depression, drawing conceptually on the works of Karl Marx ( Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, 1848; Das Kapital, 1867-1895) [3…
Date: 2019-03-20

Capitalism, sprouts of

(7 words)

See Economic ethic
Date: 2019-03-20

Capital market

(942 words)

Author(s): North, Michael
1. Definition Generally speaking, the capital market is understood as a market for long-term asset-backed securities (capital), while the money is a market for short-term funds. Historically, however, the two have only rarely been sharply distinguished; therefore the expression “financial market” was coined as a common umbrella term. While the demand of trade for short-term credit (maturity in three months or less) was met on the money market by means of bills of exchange (Bill of exchange) or end…
Date: 2019-03-20

Capital mobility

(1,134 words)

Author(s): North, Michael
1. Definition The term  capital mobility denotes movements of monetary capital (portfolio investments, credit; see 2.-3. below) and production capital (direct investments; see 4 below). Prior to the second half of the 19th century, there were no national economies with central monetary control (Bank of issue); therefore in our period the term does not refer to capital exports and imports of entire national economies but to capital transfers between geographically separated business locations, especially between different financial and trade centers. Michael North 2. Trade In…
Date: 2019-03-20

Capital (monetary)

(13 words)

See Capital market | Capital mobility | Capital, accumulation of
Date: 2019-03-20


(762 words)

Author(s): Hohrath, Daniel
1. Definition In the early modern period, the term  capitulation generally referred to a treaty or  of mutual obligation, in which one party undertook certain obligations or made concessions to the other party. On the level of constitutional law, an example is electoral capitulation, in which, for example, the individual to be elected Roman emperor recognized the special rights of the electors (Elector) and the other Reichsstände (Reichstag; Estates, assembly of). A capitulation could also regulate the l…
Date: 2019-03-20


(4 words)

See Visionary architecture
Date: 2019-03-20

Captivity in war

(8 words)

See War, captivity in
Date: 2019-03-20

Caravan trade

(1,468 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
1. Introduction Before the innovations in navigation technology in the 14th and 15th centuries and the subsequent voyages of discovery, long-distance trade between global regions mostly took the land route. The arid regions of the Asian interior, the Orient, and the Sahara presented considerable obstacles here, and traders had to deal with extreme fluctuations of temperature, scarcity of food and water, and a terrain that generally offered few navigational landmarks. From Antiquity until the 20th…
Date: 2019-03-20


(4 words)

See Occupational mobility
Date: 2019-03-20

Career migration

(1,198 words)

Author(s): Lucassen, Jan | Lucassen, Leo
1. Concept Already by the early modern period, key institutions like the State, University, and church (Church) relied on highly specialized “migrants” recruited in an international marketplace. For most of them, relocating was an inescapable condition of their careers, so that this particular form of Emigration is called institutional career migration. Depending on the particular institution involved, a state, academic, or ecclesiastical career for scholars, professors, clergy, civil servants, an…
Date: 2019-03-20

Care, pastoral

(6 words)

See Pastoral care
Date: 2019-03-20


(961 words)

Author(s): Kanz, Roland
The caricature is an art form of amusement and pictorial wit. The word caricatura (from Italian caricare, ‘to exaggerate,’ ‘to overload’) originally referred to an exaggerated imitation of nature in the portrait. In caricature, the artist demonstrates quickness of design, graphic skill, and pictorial wit. As a situational work of art, a caricature is primarily a domain of drawing. Until the 18th century, caricatures circulated in private or semi-public circles, and were not used in graphic reproduction. Early …
Date: 2019-03-20


(6 words)

See Charity | Ethics
Date: 2019-03-20

Carmen figuratum

(960 words)

Author(s): Rohmer, Ernst
The carmen figuratum “is a multimedia composition of text and image in which a block of text, generally versified and poetic in the widest sense, is constrained to a particular graphic shape that is mimetic in character and fulfills a pictographic function coordinated with the content of the verbal utterance” [8. 7]. The illustration formed by the text can either be the silhouette of an object (figurative poetry) or integrate the image into a text (e.g. carmen cancellatum, literally ‘lattice poetry’).Not all the possible forms of the carmen figuratum that developed in Antiq…
Date: 2019-03-20


(4 words)

See Dye
Date: 2019-03-20


(6 words)

See Erotica | Sensualism | Sexuality
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,214 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Term Carnival is derived from the Latin carnislevamen and Italian carnelevare (‘removal of meat’) or simply the jocular Latin interjection carne vale (‘Meat, farewell!’), and denotes abstention from all “fleshly” pleasures at the beginning of the Lenten fast. The term carnival is widely used in the Romance languages and English, and since the 17th century in the Rhineland (German Karneval). Elsewhere in the German-speaking world, the usual terms are Fastnacht or Fasnet, and in Bavaria and Austria Fasching is commonplace (from MHG vast-schanc, the last drink before Lent).Wolfga…
Date: 2019-03-20


(5 words)

See Constitutio Criminalis Carolina
Date: 2019-03-20
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