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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(1,314 words)

Author(s): Rippmann, Dorothee
1. General Dat ovi capra lanam; “The goat gives wool to the sheep.” This medieval Latin topos of abundance, in the sense of “bringing coals to Newcastle” [3. 30], deals with the most important economic difference between the two low-maintenance ruminants that were often pastured together in a single herd: as wool-supplier, the sheep was more important economically than the goat from the perspective of commercial cloth manufacture and marketing. But raising goats remained advantageous because of their higher and more effici…
Date: 2019-03-20


(7,822 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin | Reichmuth, Stefan | Kummels, Ingrid | Rüther, Kirsten
1. Christianity 1.1. Preliminary noteOne of the unique aspects of Christianity is that from the very outset it developed a theology, and in order to explicate its own faith made use of the conceptual tools of contemporary (i.e. Greek and Roman) philosophy. This interweaving of theological and philosophical thought was constantly reflected quintessentially in the doctrine of God. A series of fundamental tensions pervaded the development of the idea of God even in the early modern period. These includ…
Date: 2019-03-20

God, concepts of

(1,505 words)

Author(s): Matthias, Markus
1. Christianity 1.1. Concept, representation, and symbolBecause the word  God must be understood as a symbol (Paul Tillich) [10], not as a (referential) sign, this symbol finds expression in concepts and images of God: whether in the form of individual or collective ascription of attributes or actions (see 1.2. below) or in the form of normative (ecclesiastical or academic) reflections on the idea of God between the Bible and metaphysics (see 1.3. below). Apart from language, these images of God find expression…
Date: 2019-03-20

God, natural knowledge of

(8 words)

See Natural theology
Date: 2019-03-20


(689 words)

Author(s): Gestrich, Andreas
1. Definition In the early modern period, godparenthood (French  parrainage, Ger.  Patenschaft, Ital.  padrinaggio, Span.  compadrazgo) was understood to be associated with baptism and in the Catholic Church with confirmation as well (Sacrament). The German term  Pate (“godparent”) is derived from Latin  pater, “because the one who lifts the child up at baptism enters into a spiritual relationship with the child, becoming his spiritual father ( pater spiritualis).” The word’s metaphorical use outside the church in the sense of a broad voluntary assumption o…
Date: 2019-03-20

God, proof of

(3,201 words)

Author(s): Enders, Markus
1. Definition, types, and religio-cultural significance By a proof of God, we mean a purely rational proof of the existence of God, without appeal to authorities (e.g. religious authorities) as sources of knowledge. The tradition of proofs of God goes back in Western thought to Plato and Aristotle; it reached an initial high point in medieval scholasticism in the so-called  quinque viae (“five ways”) of Thomas Aquinas. The classical tradition also underwent further development in medieval Jewish and early Islamic theology, which Christian theologians we…
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,060 words)

Author(s): Häberlein, Mark
1. Africa In the late Middle Ages, the high material and symbolic value of gold in Europe, helped by a generally low price point, led to rising demand that the Central- and Eastern-European deposits could no longer supply. This shortage made the search for gold deposits outside of Europe attractive; the centuries-long phenomenon of African gold arriving in the Mediterranean from the Sahara via the caravan trade was an important motivation for the Portuguese voyages of discovery (see Expansionism) …
Date: 2019-03-20

Gold currency

(10 words)

See Ducat | Gold standard | Guilder (gold)
Date: 2019-03-20

Golden Age

(932 words)

Author(s): Scholz-Hänsel, Michael
1. Definition The ancient assignment of the ages of the world to corresponding metals is first attested in Hesiod (around 700 BCE). On this model, the golden age was a period when life was idyllic, with no disease, war, or hard labor, and the ensuing silver, bronze, and iron ages represented a steady deterioration of social and moral conditions. In the first century BCE, Virgil celebrated the time of Augustus as the beginning of a new golden age in his fourth Eclogue ( Bucolica).  Most later characterizations of the respective epoch as likewise ideal followed his model.Thus, the ex…
Date: 2019-03-20


(3 words)

See Silversmith
Date: 2019-03-20

Gold standard

(1,187 words)

Author(s): North, Michael
1. Definition Gold standard and gold currency are connected terms in the history of money (see Money, theory of), but with different definitions. A gold currency exists when the unit of currency in a country (e.g. pound or mark) is expressed as a fixed amount of gold. This can take two forms: circulating gold currency and gold exchange. In the first case, gold coinage (Coin) predominates as the main currency in circulation, which otherwise consists of silver token coinage (with limited term of val…
Date: 2019-03-20

Gossen’s Laws

(763 words)

Author(s): Hesse, Jan-Otmar
Gossen’s Laws are two central tenets of modern economic theory that have to do with consumer behavior. The first (the law of diminishing marginal utility) describes the increasing satisfaction that occurs when a good is consumed (Consumption). The second (often called the law of compensation of marginal utility) deals with the alternative consumption of multiple products: when a consumer wishes to consume several goods but has only a limited time budget, he must divide his consumption of the var…
Date: 2019-03-20


(677 words)

Author(s): Hohkamp, Michaela
1. Definition Gossip (German  klatsch, French bavardage) was defined in reference works of the 18th century as “common vice” that primarily brought shame upon the person who gossiped [1]. By the end of the 18th century, if not earlier, gossip was associated with female servants (Servants in husbandry) as the sort of talk that “spins out all kinds of disagreements and, with unnecessary elaborations and expatiations... arouses strife and rancor” [2]. In the usage of the time, gossip referred to derogatory talk involving at least two people, usually female (Women’s gossip) [4]. The o…
Date: 2019-03-20


(892 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Voges, Inken
Gothicism denotes a view of history that placed the ancient Gothic people at the center of origin narratives, which were based to differing degrees on Latin ethnographies of late Antiquity (by Cassiodorus, Jordanes, Isidore of Seville), speculative etymologies and linguistic interpretations of the Bible that combined with ancient traditions of the nobility of barbarians.Works of ethnohistoriography emerged in a number of European regions in the 15th century in the context of (Germanic) Humanist historiography that were marked by their demonstra…
Date: 2019-03-20

Gothic novel

(8 words)

See Gothic Romanticism | Novel
Date: 2019-03-20

Gothic Romanticism

(885 words)

Author(s): Sing, Thomas
1. Concept and origins Gothic Romanticism (German Schauerromantik, "horror Romanticism",  Schwarze Romantik, "Dark [black] Romanticism") was not a period as such, although its zenith occurred within European Romanticism and was strongly influenced by it, but rather a very heterogeneous European and North American literary genre, the origins of which lay in the second half of the 18th century, associated with a new interest in the late Middle Ages (Middle Ages, reception of) and taking the form of a further…
Date: 2019-03-20


(967 words)

Author(s): Helbig, Annekathrin | Kolk, Caroline zum
1. Functions at court The term governess, borrowed from French, originally denoted a woman who presided over the nursery of a royal couple or was responsible for the care of one royal child. In 15th-century France, the governess also appears as part of the queen’s retinue; in this context she was responsible for the court ladies as a group.As supervisor of the nursery, the governess had to ensure the physical well-being and education of her charges, to manage the domestic staff, and to balance the books. When the children were infants or toddlers, a m…
Date: 2019-03-20


(4,509 words)

Author(s): Wieland, Christian
1. Definition and basics Governments (French  administration) with long-lasting institutional structures, precisely defined objective jurisdictions, and established statutes for regulating internal affairs, are a distinctive feature of developed modern states. Along with political organizations (reich/empire, monarchy, republic, town, and village) voluntary organizations like universities and fraternities also developed governments in the early modern era, as did economic organizations, the Church, an…
Date: 2019-03-20

Government bond

(9 words)

See Public credit | Public finances
Date: 2019-03-20

Government law

(2,475 words)

Author(s): Pauly, Walter
1. Terminology and trendsThe German term for government law, Staatsrecht, is a German coinage to translate the Latin phrase ius publicum (cf. public law). It began to appear sporadically in the titles of treatises and handbooks in the first third of the 18th century. Only a few decades later it had become the general term for both a body of norms and the scholarly discipline dedicated to its study. Distinctions were drawn between general and natural government law, which corresponded to ius publicum universale and concerned the study of the state as such and the question of co…
Date: 2019-03-20
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