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.

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Geistliches Konzert

(1,433 words)

Author(s): Groote, Inga Mai
1. Concept and terminological history The geistliches Konzert, generally rendered in English as “chorale concerto”, is a term derived from the compositional principle of the concerto to denote certain types of 17th-century motets, although it implies no strict definition of a genre. It serves either to denote motets for few voices and accompanied by figured bass, or works on a larger scale, sometimes involving several choirs. From the 18th century, the term was also used to mean a concert (see below, 3.).The term geistliches Konzert is derived from the concept of the concer…
Date: 2019-03-20


(4 words)

See Peregrinatio academica
Date: 2018-02-14


(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 “Abraxas ston…
Date: 2019-03-20


(950 words)

Author(s): Nowosadtko, Jutta
1. Introduction The term gendarmerie (French, from  gens d'armes, “armed people”) has undergone a drastic change in meaning over the course of its history. At first, in the Late Middle Ages, it referred in Burgundy to royal and princely life guards, but during the French Revolution, it was transferred by law to refer to the so-called  Maréchaussée (soldiers stationed in administrative centers to support the royal courts), which from 1791 became officially known as the Gendarmerie  nationale. Since the 19th century, gendarmeries have generally been understood on the Frenc…
Date: 2019-03-20


(2,798 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia
1. Gender as a key category Gender is a category of social differentiation and an instrument that helps us explore the political, legal, and social meanings of gender identity and gender orders in historical and present-day societies.  While the English terminology distinguishes between sex as a biological and gender as a social denominator, the German word Geschlecht combines both elements. Gender studies explore how ideas of gender are culturally created and corroborated and how gender is associated with power. Difference, social hierarchy, and f…
Date: 2019-03-20

Gender roles

(7,057 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia
1. Concept and terminology Gender roles are social constructs, and their nature and significance varies according to historical context. While normative systems and scholarly, legal, and theological discourses of the early modern period tended to emphasize the hierarchy of the genders, and to ascribe different obligations and qualities to women and men, it was only in the final third of the 18th century that psychological characteristics derived from biological gender acquired greater significance i…
Date: 2019-03-20


(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: 2019-03-20

Genera dicendi

(903 words)

Author(s): Andres, Jan
The system of three  genera dicendi (Lat. also  elocutionis genera, “types of linguistic expression”) is also called the  Dreistillehre or three-style system. The term comes from classical rhetoric and governs the distinction between the stylistic levels of texts based on historically variable criteria. The term denotes the stylistic levels that identify each text. Alternative stylistic definitions were always possible, but the three-style system was the best known.Greco-Roman rhetoric called the three different levels of discourse  genus subtile/humile (“low styl…
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,823 words)

Author(s): Kondratowitz, Hans-Joachim von
1. Ambiguity: natural or social perspective? In the early modern period, the differentiation of a distinct concept of (a) generation was defined by a characteristic dichotomy and conceptual ambiguity: the division between a semantic space defined by biologically based natural criteria and another defined by social relationships, which became increasingly dominant beginning in the late 18th century.The natural perspective can be seen in a usage hardly remembered today, according to which  generation (cf. Latin  generare: “create,” “generate”) denotes primarily the gen…
Date: 2019-03-20

Generational consciousness

(871 words)

Author(s): Kondratowitz, Hans-Joachim von
The emergence of a generational consciousness in the early modern period went hand in hand with epoch-making experiences of crisis resulting from the breakdown of traditional predictabilities. This was certainly true of the cultural crisis associated with the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), whose processing found expression especially in literary and biographical witnesses [4]; [5]. These sources compassed new realms of experience, previously unknown, characterized by unending violence and the immediate threat of death [8].This new quality of existential insecurity…
Date: 2019-03-20

Generational transfer

(1,117 words)

Author(s): Kondratowitz, Hans-Joachim von
1. Frame of reference The guarantee of a transfer of properties, aptitudes, and qualities of various kinds was central to the concept of generations in the early modern period. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the meaning of  generation typically oscillated between the still powerful dominance of genealogical usage (Genealogy) and the increasing prominence of a sociocultural perspective. This oscillation allowed for a wide range of concepts that cluster about the metaphor of transfer.This ambiguity in the understanding of  generation appears in the terminology used by c…
Date: 2019-03-20

Generations, conflict of

(695 words)

Author(s): Kondratowitz, Hans-Joachim von
1. Frame of reference The early modern understanding of generations is characterized by vacillation between a primarily genealogical interpretation and a synchronic culturalization, which began to transform the concept of generation around 1800, opening up to it new levels of meaning (see Generation). We would expect that such a realignment would also lead to a clearer awareness of and greater emphasis on all those changes that became recognizable in intergenerational relationships. Conflicts betwee…
Date: 2019-03-20


(2,231 words)

Author(s): Aurnhammer, Achim
1. Definition The term ‘genius’, a key aesthetic category in the 18th century, has a long prior history that has yet to be adequately researched. Early modern poetics already moved away from strict adherence to the postulate of “imitation” (Latin  imitatio; cf. Mimesis), also valuing original artistic creativity in its complementary demand for a creative “contest” with models of classical Antiquity (Latin  aemulatio). The creative disposition, in particular the divine gift of a Mustergeist (“model spirit”) in poetry and art, came to be invoked in early modern aesthet…
Date: 2019-03-20


(12 words)

See American indigenous peoples, policy towards | Colonialism | Demographic Catastrophe
Date: 2019-03-20


(8,328 words)

Author(s): Huber, Martin | Kirchner, Thomas | Edler, Arnfried
1. Definition Generic terms are abstract conceptual fictions, that is, concepts derived from particular phenomena, that serve to organize and communicate knowledge. In the organization of knowledge in science, genus (Latin  genus, Greek génos) is the collective term for the individuals belonging to a species by virtue of common characteristics. In zoology, botany and mineralogy, genus is further divided in systematic nomenclature into groups, families, orders, and classes. Derived from the Latin, the French genre was adopted into English in the 18th century to d…
Date: 2019-03-20

Genre painting

(2,013 words)

Author(s): Kepetzis, Ekaterini
1. Introduction Genre paintings depict scenes from the everyday world, usually of the present: scenes of the farm, kitchen, or inn, of leisure pursuits and children's games, or from the general contexts of middle-class life. Until the 18th century, they tended to display erotic and moralizing tendencies, not infrequently combined with techniques of caricature. Genre painting is also distinguished from history painting (Historical painting) and the portrait by its usually generic figures [6. 13–46]; [10. 2].The term “genre” derives from the Latin genus (“kind”; “sort”), an…
Date: 2019-03-20


(926 words)

Author(s): Heyl, Christoph
The term “gentleman” (ME gentilman), attested from the 13th century, originally meant a man of noble birth entitled to a coat of arms but not an aristocrat. From the outset, therefore, the term did not fit with the categories of continental Europe. In function, the concept of “gentleman” overlapped with the (especially lesser) nobility of continental Europe, but it also differed in a number of respects. The gentleman was above the sphere of gainful work, especially manual labor, for he had property,…
Date: 2019-03-20

Geocentric model

(1,552 words)

Author(s): Beuttler, Ulrich
1. Introduction The replacement of the geocentric with the heliocentric model was not a “Scientific Revolution” (Kant), but a slow and hesitant process of alteration and assimilation that began with Nicolaus Copernicus [7]; [20] and continued with Isaac Newton and Pierre-Simon de Laplace (cf. Copernican Revolution). By 1600, there were a handful of Copernicans (Rheticus, Michael Maestlin, Johannes Kepler, Galileo). By the end of the 17th century the geocentric model was being discussed as equally astronomically valid. Only …
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,134 words)

Author(s): Epple, Moritz
1. Traditions and beginnings in the 16th century The process of measuring of the earth, supported by optical, astronomical and mathematical tools and procedures, was an important component of the new European natural sciences of the 16th and 17th century. This practise was closely tied to maritime navigation and was of economic, military and political significance. As such it served both as a field of application and a driver for innovation in the natural sciences.Modern geodesy had its origins in the manufacturing of maps and globes (Cartography). This practise was k…
Date: 2019-03-20


(2,090 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Iris
1. Concept Geography literally means “description of the Earth” (Greek  geographía). With astronomy, it forms part of cosmography, the science of the cosmos. Since Antiquity, geography in the stricter sense has denoted a learned tradition of knowledge related to the description of the Earth as a whole, in particular its physical surface. In a wider sense, geographical knowledge comprises a popular and practical sphere of knowledge that in the early modern period was closely associated with the emergence of modern territorial states and European colonial rule.Iris Schröder …
Date: 2019-03-20
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